When looking for a builder for your project, whether for your home or an investment property, it can be a minefield…
Who can you trust to do a great job for a fair price? Who can you trust to complete the job on time and be reliable throughout the process?
Sometimes it’s not that easy to spot the less-reputable tradespeople at face value, but thankfully there are steps you can take to minimise your risk and find a builder that’s perfect for you and your project.
So, whether you need a team to carry out a full property refurbishment, or you simply want your front room decorating, here are our top 5 things to look for when finding a builder…
No matter what you need in business or life, getting a recommendation from a friend, acquaintance, or someone you trust, is the best way to find a reputable supplier.
Ask around, in person and put it out there on social media. You can specifically request a recommendation from your friends on Facebook.
If you are a member of a business networking group, or similar, ask your contacts.
Ask other tradespeople you’ve used recently who did a good job themselves.
If this approach isn’t fruitful and you have to search off your own back for a builder, always ask for references from their previous customers. Ask for customer contact details and speak to them directly to verify the builder’s claims.
Ask to go and see previous jobs. If the builder can’t provide any references or proof of quality workmanship, avoid them. This is a major red flag. Any reputable builder should be bombarding you with this social proof to win your business, never mind you having to push for the information.
Also get proof of any membership to trade bodies. Any builder can say they are a member of an organisation such as The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) but check this out for yourself. Check the websites of the trade bodies or phone them to verify the builder’s claims.
Price shouldn’t be your determining factor, but of course, it is a factor. Get multiple quotes. We would recommend at least three.
The saying, ‘you buy cheap, you buy twice,’ is especially true when it comes to building services. Undertaking a major project is costly enough, make sure you only have to pay once! Don’t just pick the cheapest quote, you might just get what you pay for which could be a costly mistake.
Look for a fair price, not a cheap price.
For major works, such as damp proofing or conversions, you should be given a guarantee. Discuss this with your shortlisted builders before deciding who you will go with.
Again, make sure you verify any guarantees offered by a builder that involve third parties by contacting the third party directly.
Along with price and guarantees, what other terms are part of the deal?
Check the payment terms and never pay in full upfront. Some builders may request part payment to fund materials but be particularly sceptical if they ask for labour fees upfront or large payments that don’t seem justifiable.
Make sure the builder has insurance, personal and public liability.
For larger projects, make sure that every aspect is noted down in writing and signed by both parties to form an agreement. Not only does this protect you, it also makes it clear what you expect from the builder and by when.
Communication is vital throughout and this is a great way to make sure you are both on the same page. This will minimise delays and the likelihood of unexpected additional costs.
Finally, trust your gut instinct. If something seems off, it probably is.
-Chris Faulkner, director and co-founder of Property Deal Store
I hope this helps you find a great builder! If you follow this guide you will likely weed out the cowboys and find yourself one of the many professional and reliable builders out there who you can rely on and build a strong relationship with.
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