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How to avoid 'Rogue Traders'


1.    Step 1
You might assume that anyone who can afford to buy an advertisement in a local directory must be ok to start with, but in reality you are better off using resources such as recommendations from Architects, surveyors, or family and friends who have recently had construction work undertaken.

Ensure you have architectural drawings for the project you are wishing to undertake and ideally a scope of works.
2.    Step 2
Get quotations from three or four different traders to ensure you're getting the best value for money, and to get a feel for how they initially look after you.
3.    Step 3
Ask some questions to each tradesman who is quoting for your project:

Have you undertaken projects like this before?
Do you have insurance which covers public liability?
Is your work guaranteed?
Can you provide me with local references?
4.    Step 4
Make sure you write up and sign an agreement with your tradesman regarding what they will do for you, what they won’t do, how long they will take, when they will start and the agreed price.

A good legal contract may help the job run smoothly. It should always contain a job description, start date, duration and an agreed price, as well as details of any guarantee or insurance cover. Remember, you have the right to be told, in plain language, all standard contract terms before you sign and you are not bound by terms that are 'unfair'.
5.    Step 5
Never pay the whole amount in advance, and avoid paying large deposits up front. On longer jobs, agree a schedule of payments and make sure that your payment at each stage reflects the progress made.
Never pay ‘cash’ payments – a cheque or bacs payment is ideal as there is an electronic trace for the payment and usually cash takers avoid VAT.