How to Spot Cowboy Tradesmen

The last few months I have gone to customers houses and witnessed some terrible workmanship from so called “trades men”.

When talking to the customer most of them have used them “because they are cheap” or have seen them with a page on Facebook.

two men (cowboys) in brown coat sitting on hay stack

Now I am not saying that all trades men who are cheap are cowboys.

But what I am saying is this is an indicator that they could well be and that you should do a few checks before deciding to go with that person.

In this post I am going to give you a few things to check on before entering a contract with any trades man and hopefully it will save you a lot of money in the future.

1. Always go by recommendation

white arrow through red heart road signage

A recommendation is one of the best ways to avoid these dodgy characters and to give yourself peace of mind.

What better way is it to find someone through a friend who can sing their praises and let you know how well the job was completed at their house.

You will even be able to see the work yourself and make a judgement call. If you can’t get a friends recommendation then maybe the tradesman could show you some of his work while he is partaking in it or let you speak to one of his previous customers (bear in mind though that this could be a friend who has been given a script to butter you up).

2. Qualifications

Membership Certificate paper

Most tradesmen should have qualifications. Especially gas fitters, electricians and plumbers.

When choosing a tradesman, they should be willing to present their certificates and qualifications for you without question.

Although I will say sometimes (through experience) that it doesn’t always mean they are competent at their job and have met some first-class tradesmen without their tickets.

3. Be specific in what you want carried out

pen in hand writing on paper a list of items with check boxes

When a tradesman come to your property to look at a job ensure you know exactly what you want and have done a bit of research on what it is you need doing.

Maybe if you’re having a new bathroom, research the price of the tiles and other main features so that you know what is being installed.

You don’t want to be paying top whack then find you have the cheaper version installed for the same money.

4. Agree a price before the work commences

British five pound note curled up

Agreeing a price from the beginning is essential as you know exactly how much the job will cost you.

Also, it helps as you should have a written quote that can be referred to if the tradesman queries anything.

Although extra costs do sometimes crop up, most of the time the price is the price. Be wary if the tradesman starts trying to add extras and don’t let them complete them unless you have seen them and given the go ahead with an agreed cost.

5. Use a specialist

dentist looking and poking into the mouth of patient whilst wearing mask

There are many out there now who consider themselves “a jack of all trades”.

You wouldn’t ask a dentist to give you a haircut – but they could.

I have found that most of them (not all) are good at one thing but their work in other areas are not to be desired. It may sound great that they do everything and do you a cheaper price but be weary as with a cheaper price comes greater risk.

There are companies that do everything, but you will find most of them have specialist people to do the job for them.

6. Never pay all the money up front

gambler holding playing cards in front of a stack of playing chips

If a tradesman asks for all the money up front. RUN!!

Going all-in with your money is a gamble, spread your risk.

Most tradesmen may ask you for the material money up front to cover the costs but won’t normally ask for labour payment until at least a week into the job.

While the job is ongoing, I would say split it into three payments: a third upfront a third halfway through and a final payment at the end. This keeps the tradesman happy and means you know he’ll stay until the end of the job.

In Conclusion

girl making hand gesture like binoculars on her face

On a lighter note: not all tradesmen are out to rip you off and there are some great tradesmen about.

So be vigilant think about these tips and always go by recommendation if possible. Otherwise research them, meet them and check for reviews and testimonials. Maybe even go as far as messaging one of their reviewers on Facebook.

P.S. Also remember everyone has a bad day and this sometimes could land on you. But as long as they are willing to correct anything, they may have wronged you’re in good hands.

Here at Benchmark Decorators we offer our fully insured and qualified tradesmen with proven track records in the South Wales area. As well as cost effective prices and excellent reviews we only provide high-quality services and always strive to achieve 100% customer satisfaction.

Get in touch.