Choosing a Tradesperson

I want to replace my front door.

The day we came to view the house, in early Spring 2013, I remember saying, as we walked up the front path to the front door – ‘That’ll have to go’.

That was more than 7 years ago. Hasn’t happened yet. I’ve done everything else – re-wiring, re-plumbing, re-plastering, new kitchen, new laundry room, new bathroom, new shower room, painting, papering, carpeting. Everything. Apart from that bloody door.

Anyway – in order to get the door replaced, I need to find someone who will take the old one out and put the new one in. To complicate matters, I need to replace the window above the door as well. I fancy having the house number up there.

And that means that I need to find a tradesperson.

I’ve needed a fair few trades over the years, and I’ve found some guys that I keep going back to whenever I need to – when you’ve found a good ‘un, hang on to them!!

People will often tell you to go by personal recommendation when you’re choosing a tradesperson. I disagree.

And here’s why –

  • If you’ve just moved into the area, you won’t know anyone well enough to ask them
  • Your expectations/standards/budget may be very different to those of the person doing the recommending.
  • You might not know anyone who’s had the same sort of work done.
  • What if the recommended person does a rubbish job? How do you tell your mate who recommended them?
  • It’s fairly useless unless the job is exactly the same size and requires exactly the same skills  – Bob from down the road may have made a lovely job of fixing your gate, but that doesn’t mean he’s up to the job of putting fencing all the way round my garden.

Instead, I’ve developed a checklist. They don’t have to tick off everything to get the job – but the more the merrier.

  • Are they happy to do a free estimate/quotation?
  • Are they easy to get hold of? Do they answer the phone as if they’re expecting the call (‘Bob the Builder speaking’ rather than ‘Erm, hello??’)
  • Do they turn up to do the quote at the time they said they would?
  • Are they prepared (tapemeasure, notebook etc)?
  • Are they interested? Asking questions, making suggestions.
  • Can they give you a timescale – when they’ll be able to start, how long it’ll take.
  • If the job involves coming inside, do they offer to take their boots off/put overshoes on?
  • Do they drive a liveried van?
  • When you get the quote, is it on headed paper or in an email with their trading name on it – or just scribbled on the back of an envelope?

If you’re happy with the answers to all of these, then there’s just one more question.

Do you get along with them? After all, they’re going to be spending time in your home, potentially unsupervised. Do you trust them? Do you feel you can do business with them?

Last but not least, when you’ve found a good tradesperson, and they’ve done a good job – pay them. Pay them promptly. Don’t make them wait a month for the money.

They’re just trying to earn a living – and next time they’re busy and they get a call for an urgent job, who do you think will get priority? The person who paid in full and on time – or the person who didn’t?

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Rachy T says:

    Thanks so much for the list, so useful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    That is a great list. If I may I am going to copy it. I realise I have been doing something similar but without properly defining each question, more a vague idea that I was more confident in this tradesperson over that tradesperson.

    I agree about paying promptly, especially in this day and age of online banking, PayPal etc there is no reason to delay.


    1. Of course you can copy it!! And yes, paying is so easy these days – let them have their money!!


  3. gosforthgirl says:

    I totally agree with your comments. I`m lucky in that I hang on to anyone who has passed the initial ` test` and have built up a lot of lovely trusted people.

    I also judge on the voice.. it`s that sixth sense thing and if I don`t like their voice, that`s it. Apparently we judge in three seconds flat!

    I always get their bank details and endorse your comments about payment. It creates a good foundation as to trust which is so important.

    I use sites like My Builder and read the feedback which gives you a snapshot of their work. If they`re know fro trying to do two jobs at the same time, then that is a definite no no.


    1. I had a lovely electrician – but unfortunately he’s retiring soon!! Also my plasterer has moved on to better things (and I quote ‘I can’t work Tuesday, we’re filming’ – he was involved in one of George Clark’s make-over programmes!!). At least my plumber is still around!!!
      I haven’t had a lot of success with MyBuilder etc – a couple of guys got in touch to say they could do it, but when I asked for a quote I never heard another squeak from them!


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