With all this wet and stormy weather around the UK, TrustMark, the Government endorsed quality mark for tradesmen, is urging homeowners to be aware of rogue traders offering to do property repair work and to only use reputable and honest companies.
Stuart Carter, Head of PR and Marketing at TrustMark, said: “Whilst rogue traders operate throughout the year, there is likely to be an increase in their numbers following extreme weather conditions involving high winds, a cold weather snap and floods. Bogus property repairers often trick people into paying high prices for unnecessary or shoddy work so I would advise consumers to be extra vigilant and only use reputable and legitimate tradesmen. Never agree to have work done by somebody who turns up uninvited on your doorstep.
“TrustMark was set up six years ago to signpost consumers to good quality and trustworthy firms and to help homeowners select a local tradesman with confidence. With more than 20,000 licenced trades searchable on our database by postcode, we are able to help people find a good quality firm enabling them to get the best job done at a fair price. We want to give people a better-informed choice of tradesmen and if things don’t go quite right, to provide a clear and easy to use complaints procedure to resolve any problems.”
Below is a checklist that offers some simple steps for householders to repair their property following weather damage:
- In the first instance check with your insurance company to see whether they have a procedure for dealing with damage as a result of the weather.
- If you do need to find a tradesman to do work, get quotes from two or three local firms and be specific with a detailed, clear brief of the work you want done.
- Ask friends and family for a recommendation and check the TrustMark website at www.trustmark.org.uk to ensure that the tradesman is registered for the particular trades you require.
- Use a firm that has a fixed address and uses a landline phone number. Be very wary of those only willing to give you a mobile number.
- Don’t just go with the cheapest, consider your ability to communicate with the firm and their quality of their work.
- Only pay for work that has been done and do not pay in advance. Ensure that you obtain clear invoices of the work carried out and ideally pay by cheque or credit card.
- If materials need to be bought in advance by the tradesman, it is reasonable that the customer is asked to pay a fair percentage of these costs as the job progresses.
- Always use a written contract as it offers you protection should anything go wrong.
- Agree in writing any changes to the agreed contract value and ensure these are made in writing before the work is done.
TrustMark is the only scheme supported by Government, industry and consumer protection groups. It has the support of many partner organisations, including the Trading Standards Institute and Citizens Advice which are aiming to raise standards within the industry and provide greater protection for householders in their search to find local, quality tradesmen.
For further information about TrustMark, visit www.trustmark.org.uk
If you are looking for a trustworthy and reliable tradesman you can click onto our ‘Find a Tradsman’ page on DIY Doctor to find Trustmark tradesmen in your local area.
A man in America has learnt the hard way why some jobs should just not be tackled yourself and it really is best to get in the professionals – particularly when felling trees!
This guy managed to destroy his own house as he chopped the tree and it fell right on top of it……….
We are introducing our new Find a Tradesman service today to help you find all types of tradesmen in all areas of the UK.
DIY Doctor have teamed up with Trustmark, who are a not for profit organisation, licensed by Government and supported by consumer protection groups. This means you can be assured that the tradesmen are trustworthy and reliable, with codes of practice including insurance, health and safety practices and good customer care. You can read more about Trustmark’s advice on employing a tradesman so you know how to avoid the cowboys.
Along with Trustmark, we would always recommend that you always get three quotes, get references from previous jobs done, and as well as setting a clear brief for the work you want doing, you and your chosen tradesman should use a written contract such as our ‘Desired Outcome Contract’ – which is free!
Obviously here at DIY Doctor HQ we love the fact that so many people in the UK spend their spare time doing DIY – it’s why we are here! But before you get started on a project that you have been putting off for ages, consider a few things.
Take the time to plan. If you are renovating a room, really take some time to get your ideas together and know exactly how you want it to look. Then make sure you have all the tools and materials you need or ordered. Then make sure you work from a list so that the overall project is broken down into tasks which you can work through.
Take your time. Don’t rush the job. If you rush, you make mistakes, and this can often mean getting someone else in to fix it!
Is it beyond you? It is a good thing to recognise your limits. It may be that you could tackle certain elements of the job but not the whole thing, in which case you could get a professional in to do some but you do the rest, therefore also reducing the cost.
Ultimately, there are certain jobs which no DIYer should undertake – usually involving gas or electrics. In these instances we recommend that you seek professional assistance.
Everything preceding this blog post explains the number of complaints against tradespeople in the UK. Unfortunately the problem of unsatisfied customers is further expanded by the home improver doing little research into the actual project they want doing.
Way back in 1990, in a paper called Building Procurement, A. Turner summed up the problem succinctly when he stated “All things being equal, as any customer knows, you can probably have what you want if you know what it is. If you do not know exactly what you want, you will probably end up with partly, or totally, what you don’t want.”
Home owners rely on builders to sometimes read their minds when, full discussion at the outset, via a medium such as the DIY Doctor Desired Outcome Building Contract will remove any doubt in the home improver’s mind.
The Which report of August 2011 concluded that 2.5 million people have had a dispute with a builder or decorator in the last 3 years and the most common disagreement was the quality of the work.
Other complaints were mostly about bad timekeeping by traders and properties being left very untidy. The report also states that 25% of homeowners went ahead with the work despite not receiving a written quote or contract from the trader.
Finally the report concludes that almost 20% of complaint cases in 2010 ended up in court.
As if all those statistics were not bad enough, Trading Standards reports that in 2011 £170m was stolen by cowboys in 2010 through taking deposits and not finishing work
DIY Doctor’s own survey in October 2011 showed
- 76% of people who receive more than one quote are confused as to why there is such extensive variation
- 1 in 3 homeowners who have had work done had problems with the contractor they chose
- Next year 43% of home improvers plan a garden makeover of some kind and there has been a huge increase in complaints against cowboy gardeners
In the final part of this story we are pleased to announce that we are working very hard to eliminate the risks involved with employing tradespeople of any kind in your home. Our Home Improvement Protection Solution offers peace of mind with many practical measures that can be taken to protect your home. We have much more lined up.
Please post your comments to help us provide the best support we can for home improvers.