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How to find a good tradesperson

When you need a job doing around the house, it's important to find a tradesperson with the right skills and approach. This can save you money, time and frustration. Find the right person for the job with our tips below.


How do I find a trusted tradesperson?

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

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.

Find your local Age UK

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How the handyperson services work

We talk to handyperson Dave Laurence to understand just what his job entails.


What should I do before I hire a tradesperson?

  1. Get at least three quotes and compare prices – make sure you confirm exactly what’s covered by the price (for example, labour and materials) so you know what you’re getting for your money.
  2. Check credentials and trade licences – for example, boiler engineers must be Gas Safe registered.
  3. Ask for references and speak to previous customers.
  4. Find out how long they’ve been in business.
  5. Get contact details – including an office address and landline phone number.

How can I avoid problems with tradespeople?

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
  • cleaning up and getting rid of rubbish.

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 on any stage and final payments before work starts.

Don’t make advance payments

Only pay for work that has been done. 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, you may need to get a building regulations compliance certificate from your local council. 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 poor quality work or service so they can be investigated by Trading Standards.

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

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Last updated: Jul 31 2018

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