The top 10 questions to ask your tradesman

Top 10 things to ask your tradesman  

When you are talking to a tradesman about your job it is important to ask the right questions to make sure the tradesperson you choose to carry out the work is right for you. Below are FindaTrade's top ten questions to ask your tradesman:

1. Do you have appropriate and sufficient public liability insurance to undertake the job?

It is important to check your tradesman has up to date public liability insurance. The insurance must cover them for the type of work they are undertaken as well as to the value appropriate for any consequential damages that could occur.

2. How many similar projects have you undertaken before?

Talk to your tradesman about their previous jobs and ask them to provide you with their work portfolio as well as the contact details of previous clients who are happy to act as references. You can also ask to see photos of their previous work and to confirm these with their references.

3. What are the payment schedules for the work and how do you take payments?

It is important to know up front when payment or payments will be required. This is especially required for larger jobs when large volumes of materials are needed. You should never pay everything upfront, and if you are paying in instalments only pay for the work done so far and after you are satisfied with the work. It is advisable not to pay in cash.

4. Can you provide a plan of when the work will be done and who will be doing it?

On larger projects there may be many tradespeople involved and it is good to know how many will be in your property and the roles they are undertaking. A company that can provide you with a detailed schedule is more likely to meet any deadlines. A in depth plan will also help you monitor progress and prevent any surprises.

5. Do all the tradesman involved have the correct and up to date industry standard certifications and qualifications for the work being undertaken?

This is very important, particularly if gas and electrical work is being carried out. If work is not carried out by qualified tradesmen it may not pass building regulations and could become very costly if you are required to put this right. This can also affect the resale and rental potential of your property.

6. Is your work guaranteed and for how long?

There can be small teething problems after large scale works have been completed. Make sure as a part of your written quote the tradesman has agreed to put all of these right without further cost to you. You should also have a written guarantee date for which they will return to fix issues once you have signed off the job as completed. It is also advisable to check the manufacture warranties of any appliances installed e.g. gas boilers, windows, lighting etc

7. Are you providing a quote or an estimate?

Make sure that although you have the costings in writing this is a quote and not just an estimate. Quotes can change due to unforeseen circumstances or changes to the project along the way, but if the project runs smoothly you should only pay the price originally quoted. Estimates are acceptable but you will need to ask for regular updates to make sure this has not changed.

8. Do you have other work on or time conflicts which could delay completion of the work?

Companies can often have more than one project running at any one time, if completion date is of high importance to you it is good to understand their work schedules and to be happy they can give your job the time it requires.

9. Will the site be left cleared and safe everyday?

If large areas of your home are being worked on it is a good idea to find out how the area will be left at the end of the day and if you will be able to use these areas when they are not there. This is especially important if you have young children as building sites can be dangerous areas and if not left safely at the end of the day can be a hazard for your family.

10. Are you a UK registered company or self employed and does you quote include VAT?

It is good to know the type of company you are working with, if they are a limited company or a sole trade. Although being a registered business means you can do background checks at Companies House many good quality tradespeople are self-employed. When you receive an estimate or quote, always check that VAT (if applicable) is included in the total cost.