How to Avoid Cowboy Builders

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We know it can be hard to trust someone you just met, especially with a large amount of money, to renovate the home of your dreams. There are a lot of cowboys builders out there but at Planning2Build UK we filter out these guys for you, so you don’t have to deal with this hassle. We can guide you and give you the best advice to help you throughout every stage of your project. But it’s always handy to know these tips for future reference.

Here are some tips to find the best builders & spot potential cowboys:

  • Get lots of quotes – Always look around to get several competitive quotations from builders and don’t settle for the first builder you contact. There can be better prices to choose from and builders who have more experience. By getting several quotes you will understand the price of the build better and see who’s the better value. But that doesn’t mean you should go for the cheapest quote you receive, even though it may be a tempting offer, that offend comes with a bad consequence. And remember you pay well for good quality.
  • Pay on completion, not upfront – If the builder insists on you paying cash upfront, don’t! You need to pay for services once the job is satisfactorily completed, or if you have agreed in advance to pay in instalments, always have this in writing. A good builder will cover the cost of their materials easily or with a small contribution towards the full amount of 10% of the total price.
  • Get insurance – Don’t hesitate to ask your builder, for an insurance-backed guarantee of the work. Insurances like this will protect you if the work is bad, needs to be fixed and if their business stops trading. But not many tradespeople will offer this, even if they’re very good. Another way that could help you is by paying using a credit card, paying for the full amount or even a deposit by credit card you can get the money back from your card provider if the work is unsatisfactory.
  • Sign a contract – If you decide to hire your builder and refuses to sign a contract agreement or produce any paperwork, this is a red flag you should avoid. If you don’t have a contract or paperwork details of the job, then if something goes wrong you have nothing to fall back on, leaving you in a weak position legally.
  • What am I paying for? – Agree with the builder on what you want to happen and set a price for the work required. If more work is required later they should let you know about it and short out the price of it out before they start it.
  • VAT Registered – If the builder is not VAT registered then this is a big red flag, as no building company can be able to work in this way. On the other hand, sole traders may not be VAT registered if their work doesn’t go above the threshold for compulsory VAT.
  • Check their qualifications – Remember to check their relevant qualifications are valid and in date, such as; a Bachelor’s degree or an associate degree in the fields of construction science, building science, construction management, or equivalent fields and a contractor license.
  • Get recommendations – Ask around if anyone has had any work done by the builder or if they can provide previous references and see if it was completed to their satisfaction. A great builder should happily give names and addresses of satisfied customers. And never accept a quote for a large project without first seeing examples of their work.
  • Be suspicious (if necessary) – If the builder is eager to quote cheap and quick without looking at the job, they might say they are giving you a discount as they have spare materials left over from a previous job. Even though this could save you money, it will not save you money to employ this builder, as the parts may not be perfect and it might have to be redone but someone else.

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