For Homeowners

How do I find a good tradesperson?

How do I find a good tradesperson?

Most tradespeople are honest, competent, and hard working. If you are unlucky and have one who is not, the consequences can be serious. In an extreme case, you could end up paying for the job twice, getting an alternative trades person to put the work right.

So how can you reduce the risk of engaging a rogue trades person?


One of the best ways to ensure you are not disappointed is to choose somebody who has recommendations and has the relevant qualifications for the work please see our Blog that gives more information point trades people qualifications

Search online

An online search will usually give a list of trades people local to you, however you will be better off using a directory service such as ours, Veetoo Trades to help refine your search. Our Gold members will have been vetted, uploaded their qualifications and will often showcase their work on their page of the site.

Always get more than one quote

If you ensure you get several quotes you can better judge the true price. Make sure you give the same information to each trade’s person so that a like for like comparison is easy. Prices can vary a lot, don’t be afraid to ask why there is a disparity if it is large, it maybe that one trades person has spotted something that the others haven’t, or the cheaper ones may be quoting a low price to win the work and will then demand for more money once the job has started. Remember the adage, buy cheap, buy twice. It is not to say sometimes the cheapest is the right way to go, just make sure you apply scrutiny to the quote.

Steps to take before making your final choice.

Get references

Ask for 3 and ask to speak to them. This will help you ensure they are genuine. If the referees are close enough to visit, then do have a look at the work. Also do some checks on the company where you can. Find out how long they have been in business. If they are a limited company you can do an online search to find out, Companies House is a good place to do this.

Look for registration with any trade bodies, trading standards and Trustmark. More information on this on our qualifications Blog.

Make sure you ask for and have sight of their insurances.

Write Statement of Work

However large or small the job is, make sure you have a written statement of the work and the price for completion agreed before any money changes hands and before the work starts.

Some areas that can cause dissatisfaction if they are not agreed in advance:

  • The work competed is not what you wanted, be as specific as possible to avoid this. Ensure that any other trades people needed to complete the work (subcontractors) are included in the cost and that your main contractor is assuming responsibility for their work.
  • Make sure the quality of the materials is specified, for example iron mongery on internal doors, light fittings or specific makes and styles of taps in a bathroom etc.
  • Disposal of rubbish and clean up often gets overlooked. For a larger job, get the trades person to ensure this is done legally. If they are recommending a skip, and it is going to be on the public road, make sure you have the relevant permissions from the local authority to do this and that it is marked with lights after dark.
  • Make sure that if VAT in applicable, it is stated and included in the final price.
  • If the job is large, consider using an architect/project manager with experience of running larger works.

Agree a contract

Once you are happy, make sure the Statement of Work is included in the contract. This should be a written contract, signed by both parties where the work is significant.

If it is a big job, then you may want to discuss completion deadlines and penalties should this be missed. There are model contracts available, an Architect will be able to guide you if you are using one. Payment schedules are common practice with larger works, make sure this is detailed against some kind of reasonably measurable milestones. For example, if there is some demolition to be completed as part of the work, there may be a payment linked to the completion of the demolition. There are some instances where a retention is appropriate. This is where a percentage of the final price is held back for a period of time to allow for snags and problems to be ironed out.

Certificate of Compliance

For certain types of work, you need to get a from your local authority. The tradesperson can provide your certificate if he or she is a member of a Competent Persons Scheme. This is a government run accreditation programme. If not, you will need to make sure that they are including inspection by the local authority as something they will organise. There will be a charge for this, if it Is excluded, make sure you know how much it is so that there are no nasty surprises.

Finally – If you do have problems.

Try and resolve directly with the trader, if this does not work then If they are a member of any schemes or associations, detail and report any poor-quality work. Also report them to your local Trading Standards department, who have the power to make them improve their standards – and to stop them from trading if necessary.

You can also get  protection in many cases if you pay some of the bill with a credit card. In this case, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act may well offer you some added protection. Make sure you do your research, as payment limits and what you are paying for can affect your rights.

Remember most people are decent and hardworking and take immense pride in their work. If you take sensible steps you can greatly reduce the nightmare of engaging a rogue trader.