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How to find a good tradesperson

Finding a tradesperson with the right skills and approach for your job requirements can save you money, time and frustration.


How do I find a trusted tradesperson?

Be wary of traders who knock on your front door unexpectedly looking to get work - don’t feel pressured to hire them. If in doubt, always say no, close the door, and if necessary, contact the police.

You can find a trusted tradesperson by:

  • asking family and friends for personal recommendations. This is often the easiest and safest way to find a tradesperson who will give a quality service.
  • using the TrustMark tool to find tradespeople. TrustMark is the only government-endorsed scheme for all trades in and around the home. The TrustMark tool allows you to search for reputable organisations and reliable tradespeople using your postcode: Use the TrustMark tool to find a local tradesperson
  • contacting your local Age UK about our ‘Trusted Trader’ scheme or to see whether they offer handyperson services.

What should I do before I hire a tradesperson?

Once you have a shortlist of tradespeople you’re considering, contact them and check:

  • their prices – get at least 3 quotes so you are able to compare. Check exactly what is covered by the price (e.g. labour and material costs) so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
  • the tradesperson’s credentials and trade licence. For example, boiler engineers must be Gas Safe registered.
  • their references – speak to previous customers about the work and service of the tradesperson
  • how long they’ve been trading for
  • their contact details including office address and landline phone number

How can I avoid problems with tradespeople?

Unfortunately home improvements and repairs don’t always go to plan. Follow these tips to minimise problems and unwanted additional costs.

Give the tradesperson a clear brief

Be specific and set out a clear, detailed brief, except for very small jobs. The brief should describe what work needs to be done in the greatest detail possible. Things to consider include:

  • the materials the tradesperson will use and what you will supply,
  • whether subcontractors such as plumbers are included in the cost,
  • and cleaning up and disposal of waste.

Get a written contract

For any medium or large jobs, you should insist on a full legal written contract as it offers you protection if anything does go wrong. Agree any stage and final payments before work starts.

Don’t make advance payments

Only pay for work that has been done and don’t pay by advance payments. However, where materials need to be bought in advance, it is reasonable for the trader to ask you to pay a fair percentage of these costs as the job progresses.

Check building regulations

For certain types of work (e.g. electrical, plumbing, gas, and replacing windows) you may need to get a building regulations compliance certificate from your local authority. This certificate proves that the work is safe and has been done to the right standard. If your tradesperson is a member of a Competent Persons Scheme, a government-run accreditation programme, they can provide your certificate for you.

Visit Gov.uk for more information about when you need building approval


What do I do if I have problems with a tradesperson?

If the tradesperson is part of a Government-approved registration scheme or trade association, you can register a complaint about any poor service or work quality so they can be investigated by Trading Standards.

You should discuss your problem with Citizens Advice who will pass your information to Trading Standards who may contact you for further information.

Visit the Citizens Advice website for more information about reporting a trader to Trading Standards


What to do next

Last updated: Oct 12 2017

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