Cowboy builders. If you’ve ever been the victim of bad building work, you’ll be more than familiar with this dreaded term.
No matter how hard we try when looking for the right builder for the job, sometimes we end up with a problematic professional on our hands.
This can be particularly difficult for large companies who enlist the help of tradespeople, as it can have a huge knock-on effect on day-to-day business running, such as important clients being unable to visit for meetings.
In this article, we look at ways to avoid cowboy builders once and for all. We’ll go through the points you should always check before hiring somebody.
Check they have insurance
One telltale sign of a good (or bad) builder is by checking beforehand that they have all the relevant insurance in place. This will differ from basic insurance to construction project insurance and everything in between. Asking them for their documentation upfront is a sure way to scope out the professionals from the cowboys. It’s best to do this before you make any kind of commitment or payment. You can then rest easy knowing you’re dealing with a trusted tradesperson in advance of any project starting.
Check online reviews
Have they got any online reviews that you can browse? Reviews are always incredibly illuminating when it comes to trade work, as clients are usually honest about their experiences. Places like Google reviews, Trustpilot, or even Facebook business pages are reliable platforms where you can usually find previous customer testimonials. Be sure to look at these before booking a new builder to complete any construction work for you. If you see anything alarming, you know to avoid this tradesperson and continue your search.
Things to watch out for
To identify a cowboy builder, here are a few signs to look out for:
- Lowball estimates: One way these trickster tradesmen can lure you in is by offering low-cost estimates that are far lower than alternative quotes you may have received from others. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- Insisting on cash payment: Avoiding a paper trail through bank payments is an immediate red flag. This is a sign that a tradesperson may not be legitimate.
- They approach you first: Every industry has its dry spells. But if a builder approaches you first, this is usually a sign they’re either lacking in work due to poor results or engaging in dodgy dealings. Err on the side of caution and avoid these offers.