How a builders merchant can help you avoid the cowboys

We've all seen the TV programmes and read the articles about 'cowboy builders' and unfortunately, like many other industries, there are some whose main goal is to do a runner with your money. Although they are the bane of the construction industry, thankfully they are in the minority. But, if you want help on choosing a good tradesman or woman, then your local builders merchant is a good place to go.

What to look out for

A builders merchant will occasionally help customers who are having to repair work that has previously been done by the cowboys, so they can give advice about what to look out for.

Be very wary of the people that come knocking on your door telling you that you need to have work done, close the door on them, as the trustworthy tradesperson will never cold call!

Whilst the builder you chose may have given you a written quote, did they list the work they will carry out? The devil is in the detail, as the saying goes, so don't always go for the cheapest option, look at the information they gave about how they will do the job. This is often where you can determine the good from the bad.

If they insist on being paid in cash, or offer you a discount for being paid in cash, walk away and move on to the next.

Ask your builders merchant for advice

A builders merchant is one of the very few places left where you really do get to know you customers and the work they carry out, so make use of that. Ask staff for names of their regular customers and about the type of work they carry out.

Your builders merchant will know the men and women who have been in business for a long time and have good reputations, whereas the cowboys come and go and tend not to stick around for long.

The good guys

No matter how big or small a job, a professional tradesman or woman will provide you with a formal written quote outlining the cost of materials and labour, the approximate timescale and details about the work that will be done. A professional builder will also talk you through the work that they will carry out, minus the jargon.

As well as getting contacts of reputable companies from your builders merchant, don't be afraid to ask a tradesperson for a reference from a previous client, the good guys will always be happy to provide these.

At Chandlers, we're a builders merchant that recognises that our trade customers are some of the best around and not all tradesmen and women are like the ones highlighted on TV. We are happy to offer advice and pass on contact details of appropriate tradespeople to those looking for a builder, roofer, plumber, landscaper or decorator. Click on our contact us page to find your local branch.

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