How to find a trusted tradesperson

We all love a bit of DIY, but there are some home improvement projects that require the skills of a professional. Follow our guide to learn how to find the right and best tradesperson for the job at the right price

How to find a trusted tradesman

What’s the best way to find a tradesperson?

Your local council’s website is a good place to begin when looking for a tradesperson. Search for ‘approved traders’ or ‘trading standards’. There should be a list of traders, or a link to another site where you can find trusted companies in your area.

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It’s also worth looking at websites that recommend tradespeople, such as TrustMark, Checkatrade and Which? Trusted Trader. Another great way to start your search is by asking friends, family and neighbours for their recommendations.

Find out about their experiences, and view the finished project if you can.

How do you know if a tradesperson is reliable and can I trust ratings and reviews?

There are plenty of websites that have a review system, but how can you tell if these are genuine? Each one will have its own rules, so it’s always best to check each website’s policy. As an example, Checkatrade checks all of its members’ ID, credit status, public liability insurance, qualifications and references.

To help ensure that reviews are genuine, Checkatrade has a dedicated team that use various ways to authenticate them. This includes phone calls to a percentage of customers who have left reviews, tracking of IP addresses as well as other methods. Falsifying feedback is strictly forbidden and would result in a tradesperson having their membership to the site suspended or terminated.

How to find a certified tradesperson

There are many benefits to choosing a contractor who is a member of a regulatory body – here are 10 organisations to look out for…

  • NICEIC

The UK’s leading certification body for electricians is NICEIC – the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. Any electrical work undertaken should always meet the requirements of BS7671. Hiring a NICEIC registered contractor ensures your electrical work is compliant and safe.

  • Gas Safe Register

This is the official list of gas businesses who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. By law all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. To find a Gas Safe registered engineer visit
gassaferegister.co.uk

  • CIPHE

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering is the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry. CIPHE members are vetted before being accepted so you can be confident that you will be employing someone with the necessary skills and high standards. Find members in your area at ciphe.org.uk.

  • FMB

The Federation of Master Builders is the largest membership organisation in the building industry, with more than 7,000 independently inspected and professionally vetted tradespeople and companies across the UK. Visit fmb.org.uk to find a trade in your area.

  • Painting and Decorating Association

The PDA is the largest trade and employers’ association in the UK painting and decorating industry. PDA members are fully insured skilled and experienced professionals.

  •  Glass & Glazing Federation

The GGF is the leading trade authority representing companies that make, supply or fit glass and glazing products in the UK. When you use a Glass & Glazing Federation member you are guaranteed to be using a reputable company that ensures your installation is to the highest technical standards. MyGlazing.com is the GGF’s consumer advice website.

  • HETAS

The Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme is a UK organisation working for consumer safety, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels. Visit hetas.co.uk for a range of approved services, including registered installers, stove retailers, chimney sweeps and servicing technicians. HETAS also runs an independent product approval scheme for stoves, boilers, biomass systems and chimney products.

  • NFRC

The largest trade association for the roofing industry in the UK, NFRC’s members are all independently inspected upon entering membership and then again every three years after that. It also manages a Competent Person Scheme that, if
replacing more than 50 per cent of the roof, saves you the time, cost and effort of having to get Building Control sign-off.
Find a member by visiting nfrc.co.uk.

  • RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects is a global professional membership body whose members – RIBA Chartered Architects and Practices – not only design buildings but also oversee projects from conception to completion – on time and on budget. RIBA Chartered Architects work to a strict code of conduct and those who work for RIBA Chartered Practices meet the ultimate quality standard in the UK. Use the free 

  • The Tile Association

TTA is the national trade association for the entire UK tiling market, including manufacturers, retailers and tile fixers. All TTA members are checked prior to taking out membership to ensure they meet the highest financial, technical and service standards so it makes sense to employ a TTA member. 

How do you know if your quote fair?

It’s always best to obtain a few different quotes – you may be surprised at the variation in prices. Comparing these quotes will help you to decide if you’re getting a fair price. Don’t rely on a verbal quote – get it in writing, and make sure that each quote is for exactly the same work. You should also ask for a breakdown, with materials, labour and any additional costs all detailed individually so that you can see how the total has been calculated.

Be cautious of a quote that seems too good to be true – it may be that the tradesperson doesn’t have the necessary skills or experience.

What should a quote include?

  • A fixed total price for the job
  • A detailed breakdown of labour and material costs
  • If the price includes VAT
  • How long the price is valid for
  • Where can I find advice online?

Check out these websites for more information:

What about guarantees?

To help give you peace of mind, some traders may issue a guarantee for their work, meaning that they will repair, replace or refund goods or services that do not meet the specifications. Guarantees are usually valid for a certain period of time, and there will be conditions, so always read the small print.

A warranty is a form of insurance policy that provides cover for the failure or breakdown of goods, usually after the trader’s guarantee has run out. You will normally have to pay for a warranty, so check all the terms and conditions carefully before you commit.

Do I need permission or approval before getting the builders in?

Don’t forget to check if your project requires planning permission before you go ahead with any work. Even small improvements such as replacing a window may need building regulations approval, although if you hire a contractor who is registered with a ‘competent person scheme’ and approved by the government, you shouldn’t have to apply for building regulations approval yourself.

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