Before you allow someone to do any work at your house, it’s essential that you research their services to make sure you can trust them.

Spending a little bit of extra time learning about a tradesperson will ensure that you hire the right one for the job. Follow these tips to help you save money and prevent a few headaches in the process.

Search for approved traders online

With so many tradespeople bidding for your work, it’s often difficult to tell one apart from the next. Check professional memberships with different organizations to find approved traders in your area.

You can start by searching on your local council’s website. You may find the information you need under ‘approved traders’ or in the ‘Trading Standards’ section. To be included on this list, a tradesperson must show that they always follow the governing laws.

Trading schemes are another place to search. Look for a scheme that covers your area and see who they approve. You can also look up a prospective trader to make sure they’re really a member of a specific trading scheme.

A trading association can also match you with a tradesperson for a certain niche. Go online and look through their member list to find potential tradespeople that match your criteria.

Never begin work without a contract

Once you find a tradesperson, you may want to get started right away. However, before you do anything, you need to discuss the details of the job. During your brief, be clear about what you expect.

Find out which materials they will use and if you need to provide anything. Ask the tradesperson if they plan on subcontracting their work and whether they include this in the cost. You also need to find out about rubbish removal and clean-up.

Always have your tradesperson sign a legal contract, especially if you have a medium or large-sized project. With a contract, you can take legal action if they don’t complete the work or something goes wrong. Total cost and a payment agreement should also be included.

If a tradesperson asks for an advance payment, politely decline. Only pay for work as they complete it. However, if the trader needs to front the cost for materials, it is reasonable for them to have you pay a small percentage.

Double check local regulations

You don’t want to begin a project only to discover that it doesn’t meet local regulations. A building job, for instance, usually requires a compliance certificate. Your trader should be able to provide this certificate for you. Avoid any trader who is unable to certify their work.

What if a problem arises?

Even if you do everything right, you can still fall victim to a bad tradesperson. If this happens, you should register a complaint to the trade association or registration scheme of which they are a member.

The council reviews all complaints, whether it’s for a payment disagreement or substandard work quality. Trading Standards may get in touch to request more information. Don’t hesitate to report any trader who fails to do their job correctly. You may be able to prevent someone else from hiring them in the future.