How to get a good job done when Buying Services

Choosing the right person

There are a number of safety measures you can take to preserve your welfare when you are having any sort of building, repair or decorating work done in your home. By selecting trustworthy, qualified builders and other tradespeople, by agreeing a contract for the work, either verbally or in writing, and my monitoring the work as it progresses, you can minimise the probability of problems and guarantee that you have some legal retort if anything does go wide of the mark. 

Recommendations when selecting tradespersons


  • Try and select a tradesperson who has been personally recommended. Choose someone who is a member of trade association. The association can often recommend a dependable tradesperson in your area. Members usually abide by the association’s code of practice, and if necessary you can use its complaints procedure.

  • Try and get at least three quotes (which should include the precise specifications about fittings and materials). Make sure that the quote you accept is an exact and firm quotation so that it is legally binding and you cannot be asked to pay more.

  • Generally when you enter into a contract, the law does not regard a delay in carrying out the work as sufficient reason to cancel. You can avoid this by including in the original contract a date by which the work must be completed. This is called ‘making time of the essence to the contract’. If you do this and suffer any monetary loss as a result of holdup, you may be able to claim reimbursement. Therefore, specify a time for starting and completing the work.

  • Further, have a written contract for major work, for example, a loft conversion. Pay by credit card if possible. Always get a receipt with the tradesperson’s name and address on it. You can even ask for guarantees or rather insurance-backed warranties for the work. Also, make sure that the trader carries insurance in case of damage to your home or contents, or to a neighbour’s property.  

  • It also becomes important to check that either the tradesperson’s insurance or your own household insurance includes cover for death or personal injury due to work. 


    Do not ever take the risk of employing anyone who does not have a recognised business name and address, and a landline phone number. Also, do not engage anyone who cold-calls to ballyhoo for business and allow yourself to be pressurised into having work done which you do not actually want. It is also advisable to not to agree to extra work on top of the original job (unless you are very sure that it is necessary).  Always beware of the trader who suggests the need for extra items or procedures that other quotes have not mentioned, and finds allegedly serious problems with your property not related to the job in question. Also, it is important to look out for the trader who talks up the difficulty of doing a uncomplicated job, asks for cash upfront and makes verbal promises that do not accord with the small print of the contract.

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For more information on:

  • Making a contract
  • Look for the logo 
  • Example
  • The price charged is not the one advertised