Bringing a complete stranger into your home can be concerning. You want to be confident that they will be trustworthy, and capable of doing the job to a satisfactory standard, at the price you agreed, in a professional manner. Finding the right people to do the job can be time consuming and frustrating, so we have compiled a checklist of what you need to look out for when building your network of trusted trades.

Seek out third party recommendations

The very best people to point you in the right direction for a specific job are your friends and family – people that you already trust and have ‘tried and tested’ someone, and are eminently satisfied with the job done and the price paid. This word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of advertising, and if the same names keep coming up, you know that you’re onto a winner. But beware, the more popular the workman, the more in demand he is going to be – you may have to wait your turn!

Double check names on rating sites such as

Don’t discount the ones with few reviews – everyone has to start somewhere, and you may get a better deal quicker. The mere fact that they are on these sites is because they have gone through the screening process in the first place.

Do your research

When you’ve narrowed down some possibilities, check them out online. Questions you might want to be considering are: How long have they been in business? Do they have a good website? Do they have lots of verified testimonials? Are they specialised in their field – for example, if you looking for an artificial grass installer Is there proof that the person you are looking for has completed this type of project.

Are they compliant?

Many different trades are required by law to have certain qualifications and be registered and compliant with trading standards. For example, gas engineers must be Gas Safe certified, and carry with them ID confirming their compliance. Any gas engineer who cannot show you his ID cannot be trusted.

Equally, a Part P qualification is required of any tradesman carrying out electrical work.

Know the difference between an estimate, and a quote

You might get a shock with the final bill of you believed that the lower estimate was the actual price of a job – yet legally you have no leg to stand on if it does come in more expensive. An estimate is just that – a guess of the ballpark cost of a job. It is not legally binding, even if you get the estimate in writing.

Before signing on the dotted line, request instead an official quote and full breakdown of the job, including cost of materials and labour, schedule of works, schedule of payments, and compensation for a late delivery of the works. If your tradesman agrees to do this, he’s a good one – many of them won’t even bother. But the bigger the job, the more important it is to get it in writing.

Pay them on time!

If they deliver the job at the agreed time, to the agreed quality of finish, then pay your bill! Like any company, your tradesman will have his own costs – materials, employees, bills – and not receiving their payment on time will cause them severe cash flow problems.

Look after your tradesman, and they will look after you. You never know when you might need to get them back on another job.