A bad trader is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Whether it’s a plumber, electrician or builders, you should be certain that whoever you are using is genuine and knows what they’re talking about.

Why Avoid Bad Traders?

In itself, upgrading your home with a new extension or renovation is going to be a big cost. But if you hire somebody who does the job incorrectly or simply starts a shoddy job and then makes off with your money, you’re left with more destruction and damage than you started out with, and will ultimately end up paying more for repairs. The same applies to plumbers and electricians. Boilers are not something to be messed with and should ALWAYS be checked by a professional. When fitted improperly or left, they can produce toxic gases such as Carbon Monoxide, which can be fatal to humans when consumed in high quantities. When it comes to electrical wiring, it can pack a huge punch and with enough voltage can kill a human. This can be caused by improper installation or wires left unfitted and messy.

The worst part about rogue traders is that they do not realise the damage they’re doing and the chaos they’re causing. They are making off with thousands of pounds of homeowners hard earned money each year, and have no remorse for the devastation they’re leaving behind for families to clean up. Luckily there are many ways that you can pick up on cowboy tradespeople; there are a few signs that should set of alarm bells in your head and warn you to stay away from ever using their services. But what are they?

We have devised a list of the top signs of a bad trader, and how you can pick out the good guys from the bad guys, so keep reading!

They Turn Up At Your Door

The first main warning sign that you’re dealing with a cowboy builder is that they just turn up out of nowhere. It used to be a lot more frequent in the past than it is now, but it still happens! It’s absolutely awful, but often they tend to target the elderly who they think won’t know better and that they know will open the door. So if you have any elderly friends or family members, please make them aware of this.

A good builder that is genuine and produces high-quality work will not need to go knocking from door to door for. They will have a good client base that recommends them to friends, family and connections. Therefore if a builder, plumber or any tradesperson comes knocking on your door uninvited, do not use them!

knocking at door

No Logos Or Brand Promotion

One thing that all companies and businesses do is promote. If your builder is trying to keep everyone in the dark, and has no promotional material on their vans or clothing, this should be a warning. Often when on the road it’s very common to become stuck behind big vans that belong to tradespeople, and they typically have their logo and services plastered all over their vehicle.

If your tradesperson doesn’t do this, it could be a sign that you should be very wary. Things like logos and services on your transport create brand awareness and promotes you to people around you. If this is not the case, then it’s likely that they are not looking for work, and if they don’t display a company name, then it’s more than likely that they don’t have a business.

They Won’t Sign A Contract

When taking part in any construction work, it’s important that you discuss with your builder and ensure that they sign a contract with you. If they have a website, then you should read through their T&C’s. If not, then they still should have a written copy of their terms and conditions.

In terms of plumbers and electricians, most of the time you do not have to sign a contract with them as these are often only small changes or repairs to your home. However, we recommend that you always cover yourself and even consider writing yourself up a contract. Although self-written contracts and agreements are not legally binding, should something go wrong and you end up with a cowboy tradesperson, you can take this to court and use it as a source of a promised work date, the work that was going to be carried out as well as price agreements.

If you ask your tradesperson to sign a contract and they decline, this is a huge warning sign and you should definitely not use them. If they’re not willing to sign a contract, it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to stick to the agreements which is why they do not want to sign. In the case of building works or home conversions, it’s common for builders and fitters to always produce and sign a contract with their clients. We provide our clients with a contact before we start fitting any wet rooms Luton or mobility bathrooms suites.

signing contract

No References

As well as logos and promotion, a big part of builders, plumbers and electricians receiving work and being good at their job is testimonials. Previous customer testimonials are always a good sign of a hard-working tradesperson. If they seem to have a lot of negative reviews, we recommend steering clear of them.

Although it is important to remember that not everyone is perfect, and unfortunately in some cases competing businesses will make fake accounts to leave negative reviews on their competitors pages. Take an in-depth read through all of the reviews and ensure that most of them are positive, people make mistakes, and it’s likely that most businesses will have some kind of negative or partially negative reviews. Look on sites like TrustPilot, these sites are regularly monitored, and you cannot leave fake reviews. As well as this, the business owner can not leave positive reviews for themselves, so everything you read on there is trustworthy. Take this into account, but keep an eye out for extensive negative reviews, this is a big tell-tale sign of a rogue trader.

As well as just testimonials, you should be looking out for portfolios and albums of previous work. A lot of builders take pride in the work they do, and the finished product can look fantastic, so they often take pictures to show potential customers how high-quality their work is and what their home could potentially look like.

Even electricians and plumbers do it, although their customers may not understand it shows that they’re passionate about their job and that they know what they’re doing. If your trader cannot provide you with any previous work or is extremely reluctant to, this could be a sign that their work quality is either very basic or that they do not even have any previous work.

No Accreditations Or Website

Although older family-run businesses may not have a website, this is often due to word of mouth due to the fact that they have been around for so long. But in this day and age, swiftly everything is moving to the internet, it’s very uncommon for someones to use the Yellow Pages directory for a tradesperson anymore.

Although, this is not to say that every company who does not have a website is a rogue trader, we would just recommend that you be wary and do your research to ensure that they’re genuine, as most companies do now have websites. Even if a business doesn’t have a website, they should still have accreditations to show that they are extensively qualified, or certified to carry out specific tasks. For example, a plumber should always be gas safe registered to carry out any maintenance, repairs or replacement on boilers or gas appliances such as cookers. Gas is extremely dangerous when tampered with, so having an unqualified plumber messing around with it can cause gas leaks and extensive damage.

There are accreditations for all trade positions, for builders, there are hundreds of building certifications, but no matter what they are you will know they are genuine. Often to apply for accreditations you need proof, and all of the details of your business meaning that they have to be legitimate. Although we will say that you should check on the original accreditation suppliers website for a list of their accredited traders, as it’s easy enough for them to copy their logo and paste it on their website and claim to be verified. Take a look here for rogue merchants as featured on Watchdog. Take a look on TrustATrader or CheckATrade for qualified and trusted traders.

signing accreditation form

They Only Accept Cash

It’s very uncommon for a tradesperson to request for their payment all in cash. Typically it is the homeowner who decides how they wish to pay for their services, so if they’re demanding cash in hand payments, alarm bells should be ringing. The most common reason that rogue merchants ask for cash in hand payments, is to avoid paying tax. Everyone pays tax after they start earning over £11,850, as a lot of construction and building works services cost over this, they could end up being taxed a significant percentage of this. To avoid this, sometimes rogue builders will ask for cash in hand payments – you should avoid this!

If they ask for a large lump sum upfront, do not agree to this, this makes it easy for them to make off with your money without any trace, there will be no bank statements to trace back to them, other than the withdrawal.

Surprisingly Low Quote

Most of the time, unfortunately, if something sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. If you have received an incredibly low quote for something, we would recommend that you do some research to ensure that your tradesperson is being genuine. To make a comparison and see if what you’re being offered is incredibly low or out of the ordinary, get a few quotes from a variety of different companies and compare them all together. This way you will be able to see the average cost and whether you are being offered something which seems too good to be true.

If you discover that your quote is unusually low, ask your merchant why. If they can’t come up with a reason or seem to ramble on or not really make any sense, go with the more expensive option. You get what you pay for, and if it’s quality you’re after, then bargaining isn’t always the way to go. The reason for the low costs could be that they are using cheap materials that could be dangerous or become faulty a lot quicker than high-quality materials. Or if they cannot explain anything, it could be the case of they have no real clue about what they’re doing or how much the real cost should be for the job you’re after, and if that’s the case then you are really dodging a bullet by not using them!

checking through quotes

They Keep Finding Extra Jobs

If you’re having work done on your home, whether it be plumbing, electrical and construction, sometimes it might be necessary for extra work to be done. However, if your tradesperson is constantly finding issues or consistently finding new jobs and work to do at an additional cost, something may not be right.

If you are continually paying out for new jobs and repairs that have stemmed from your initial one, ask your merchant why. It’s important that they keep you in the loop about what’s going on, and what needs repairing and replacing. If they cannot give you a straight answer or make up something that doesn’t seem legitimate to you, then we would recommend having another tradesperson to look at it. There have been cases like this when homeowners have been paying out for repairs and changes that hadn’t even been made or were not necessary, so keep a close eye and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Keep An Eye Out For Bad Traders

So now you know the common signs and qualities of rogue traders, you can protect yourself from them and avoid having any worsened issues with your home. If you’re thinking about installing mobility bathrooms suites Northampton then we are accredited installers with years of experience.

For more information on walk in showers Towcester, please feel free to contact a member of our staff today. We hope that this article was helpful, if it was then why not share on social media using the icons below.

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