Something a little different this week on Sign Charity, a guest post from Find a Trade. A word of mouth recommendation from someone you trust and know well is certainly a good starting place when you need to find a tradesman. But sometimes it’s not that easy, so where do you turn if your friends and colleagues don’t have the answers? Simply put, you should ask A Tradesman. While you may need a plumber, but don’t know one, the chances are that you DO know a different type of recommended tradesman. It can be very fruitful to ask someone who you already know does a job well – he is bound to have worked with other trades over the years and may well be able to give you a good tip. It’s in his interests to consider his recommendation carefully, and hope he gets a similar one in return in the future.
Use the Power of the Internet
There are websites out there that aim to remove the unknown element in your search for a trusted tradesman: think ‘Trip Advisor’ for tradesmen. Using reviews left by satisfied and not so satisfied customers, these review sites build up a picture of all types of workers, and you can usually filter them by area and job. What’s more, you can probably build yourself a nice shortlist of candidates who can then be honed down to find the perfect match. Good Housekeeping have an article about these sites are trustworthiness here.
Get At Least Three Written Quotes
Get in touch with your shortlisted candidates (review sites should give you all their details, or even link you straight to their website) and ask for a written quote. A good tradesperson should be willing to come out and see the job to make sure their quote is accurate. You’ll be able to get a feel for them while they’re there, and decide whether they are the sort of person you can work with. Don’t forget though, the quote can only be as good as the instructions you give. If you don’t say right at the beginning that you want exquisite detail, the quote may not reflect that level of man hours. Additionally, check the quotes when you get them back. If you asked for quotes for a pitched roof, and you get quotes for a flat roof, it’s time to walk away.
You may think you’ve found a trusted tradesman, but if he can’t come up with at least two or three references, you need to ask him why. The references should be previous customers you can phone up to ask about the quality of work they had done, and their experience of working with this person. For bigger jobs you may even be able to arrange a visit.
And Finally, once you’ve found ‘the one’ you may want to do one last check before you seal the deal. Checking Companies House to check how long the business has been up and running can alert you to problems. Some traders run up debts, go bust and then re-open their business in another name, meaning they could do the same part way through your job. Look for a company with a good few years under its belt and you can be rid of any last nagging doubts. When you are sitting back enjoying a job well done, don’t forget about the other people who are out there looking for their very own recommended tradesman. Why not pay it forward by logging into a review website and telling the world all about your experience?