LifestyleBusiness

Finding Trustworthy Service Providers in London: Our Top Tips

Most service providers are honest, hard-working professionals.  However, it is usually the rogue traders that make better stories and news headlines, so it tends to be the horror stories you hear more rather than the stories of brilliant work being done.

It can seem like a minefield to find a trustworthy service provider in a city the size of London, simply because there are so many of them to choose from. Here are our top tips for finding the best ones.

Do Your Research

Research some companies and see what they are like. Many good companies like to put their credentials on their websites, so you should be able to find information such as qualifications, awards, and memberships of professional bodies quite easily.

They may even have pictures of their previous work on their website so that they can show potential customers how good they are. If this information isn’t easy to find, treat this as a red flag, and don’t rush to use the company.

Read The Reviews

Independent review sites are a great place to look for service providers’ credentials.  Read as many as you can and see if any common themes come up such as the provider doing a particularly good or bad job, not turning up when they are supposed to, and leaving a job without finishing it properly.

Be wary if you read several terrible reviews and then a few good ones. Some companies of ill repute will fake reviews to make themselves look better than they are.

Ask For Recommendations

If you have friends or family who has had a similar job done, then ask them who they used and whether they would recommend their service provider to others.

Local social media groups can be a great place to ask questions.  You will often find that the name of a particularly good service provider will be mentioned several times by different people. If they come highly recommended, they are more likely to do a decent job for you.

Choose A Provider with Local Experience

Local experience can be invaluable. For example, research local plumbers or local builders who will know how the town’s waste pipes have been built and maintained. They will know how to work with local soil and will have a good understanding of what your home is built on.

They will be aware of local planning laws and how to adhere to them. This can save you a lot of time and money if they can make recommendations or changes to your original idea that is more likely to get approved, as it will save you from having to repeat the process.

Get Multiple Quotes

Don’t just settle for the first quote you get. Ask for several quotes and see how they compare. A general rule of thumb is to get three quotes and hire the middle one. You get what you pay for so going for the cheapest option may not be the best.

They may need to rush the job or take on different projects simultaneously to achieve that price. The highest one may be charging more than it should be so to make sure you get the best deal, the middle one is usually the best option.

Check Qualifications

Ask to see copies of certificates that prove the service provider can do the work. Some providers are more important to check than others. For example, a qualified painter and decorator may do a better job than one who doesn’t have qualifications, but they are unlikely to cause any real damage if they don’t have their City and Guilds.

It’s worthwhile looking into a plumber or electrician in more depth because if they aren’t qualified, they could cause a lot of damage or leave you at risk of a flood or fire. Do this when searching for plumbers near me.

Ask For References

Before you hire your service provider ask them for references from satisfied customers and follow them up. Send an e-mail to the references and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If someone is happy with a job that has been done for them, they are likely to want to give them a reference and make it a positive one. They may even send you pictures of the work they had done so you can see the quality for yourself.

Check How Long They Have Been Trading

A company that has been trading for several years should have had time to build up a good reputation and if they haven’t, you should wonder why.

Rogue traders will often set up their businesses, build up debts with their suppliers, declare bankruptcy, and close down, leaving a pile of bills and customers with unfinished work. There is no recourse as the company has been declared bankrupt.

You can check the business on the company’s house website to see how long they have been trading, who the directors are, and get some background information on their previous directorships.

Ask When They Can Start and How Long the Job Will Take

Don’t expect a good service provider to be able to start the job straight away. The best ones will have a few jobs lined up and you will have to take your place at the back of the queue. However, if you aren’t in a rush, it may be best to wait until the service provider you like best is free rather than going with someone else who may be less trustworthy.

Don’t forget to ask how long the job will take. This can vary between service providers depending on how many people they have available to do the job.

Draw Up a Contract

A trustworthy provider will be happy to draw up and sign a contract. After all, if they are honest about the cost, start date, and length of time the job will take, then they will not be concerned about putting this in writing. That way all parties know where they stand, and you are more likely to get a service provider who is true to their word.

Ask For a Guarantee

Many service providers will offer you a guarantee so that you can return to them for free if you have any issues with the work they have done within a set time. This is an indication of trustworthiness because it means that they are not expecting anything to go wrong that they will have to spend time and money fixing.

Ask for a guarantee if you aren’t offered one automatically and make sure you get the terms and conditions of it in writing.

Pay A Small Deposit with The Balance on Completion

Most service providers will ask for a deposit upfront to cover the cost of materials. However, you should never pay the total bill upfront and you should be wary of a provider who asks you to. Hopefully, they will be trustworthy but finding out that they are not could be an expensive mistake.

Offer to pay 50% upfront and 50% on completion or split into more payments if it is a large job and the provider will need to buy materials at separate times.

Hopefully, you will never come across a rogue service provider as they can be costly and time-consuming to deal with. Follow our top tips and you should be able to find the most trustworthy among them.

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