How to protect yourself from Rogue Traders?

19 December 2022

We have all seen the horror storeys on TV about rogue traders and how unscrupulous they can be.  I have seen some truly awful experiences where homeowners have been left broken and in tears when contractors have left their homes in such poor condition that it seems beyond repair and hope.  Usually, at this point, the contractor has run away with most of their money never to be seen again.

So, what can you do to protect yourself from cowboy builders?  There are several measures you can take to protect yourself.  The belt and braces approach you can take is to appoint a Surveyor or Architect to oversee the works ideally using contractors they have recommended.  Surveyors and Architects work with contractors regularly and they build up long-term relationships with them giving you peace of mind that you are in safe hands.

However, sometimes you may feel the job is too small for this approach or you may not quite have the funds to pay for the cost of an Architect or Surveyor to oversee the works.  In this instance, one thing you can do is work with a contractor who has been recommended by a family member or a friend.  Always ask for references or contact details of previous clients they have worked with who can validate that they are competent.   Always ensure they have adequate insurance to cover you if they damage your property.

There are also a few warning signs to look out for that may indicate the contractor is not quite what they say they are.  Most reputable contractors are booked up for months ahead in advance.  If a contractor is immediately available alarm bells should be ringing.  They may try and brush this off by saying a job has been cancelled last minute or something similar, but in these instances, you need to thoroughly check them out.

Alarm bells should also be ringing when a contractor says they are not from around your area. The question needs to be asked why can’t they work locally?

We also recommend caution when a quotation is very low when compared to others as this can indicate several things.  Firstly, it suggests that the contractor is desperate for the work or secondly it may indicate that they haven’t included items in their quotation that you think are included and they subsequently charge you ‘extras’ as the project progresses.  It is imperative to be clear, and to agree with the contractor, exactly what your requirements are and what you expect to be included within their quotation.

When the works are overseen by a professional, we will have in place, a contract that includes payment plans. These are usually monthly payments for work that has been completed to date. We do not recommend making payments upfront unless it is for a bespoke item that needs to be paid for in advance.  If a contractor is expecting a large payment upfront then you should be very concerned.

If you have been affected by rogue traders Manor Surveyors can help!

Manor Surveyors Limited provide a service where we can rectify poor quality works or incomplete works that you have been affected by from rogue traders.

We will initially inspect the works that have been completed and produce a report detailing the defects and incomplete works together with the associated costs for the repairs.  This report can then be used for any future claims should you intend to pursue the matter further.

Thereafter, we will specify and detail the required completion works and arrange for one of our approved contractors to provide you with a quotation for the works to finish the project under our supervision.  We will ensure the works are completed to a good standard in accordance with your requirements.

Whilst these can be stressful situations and you can sometimes feel complete despair, we will take charge of the project for you and remove as much stress as we can from you to reassure you that your project is now in safe hands.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01223 813129 for an informal chat if you have been affected by a rogue trader.

Paul O’Leary BSc (Hons) MRICS
December 2022

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