How to choose a contractor
Over the last few weeks we have picked up a lot of new work from all over the place from other "pond experts" who have bodged jobs, let customers down, not completed jobs and even taken deposits never to be seen again!
Time and time again I get told by the customers that they "found them on The Google" so I thought they'd be ok so what else could we have done?
When using Google or any other search engine just because someone is at the top of the page it doesn’t mean they are at the top of their profession. Anyone if they are willing to spend enough money can get to the top of the page.
In my opinion there are a few simple steps that should make sure you find a genuine contractor which i have listed below.
1. Recommendations are in my opinion the best way to find a contractor. If they have worked for a friend or a relative then you can inspect their work before you even get to meet them.
2. Testimonials & Reviews are also a good way of pre-screening who you want to use. Ask the contractor can you check the reviews by contacting the reviewer. If they have nothing to hide they won’t have any issue with you asking.
3. How can you contact the contractor? If you found them via Google they should be listed on there with a business address, a contact telephone number (preferably a landline not just a mobile), an email address that isn’t just a @hotmail/Yahoo/gmail etc... because these can be very easily dropped and then started up again and a website becasue this may be your first point of contact.
4. Look at their website thoroughly, study it as they should have pictures of their previous works on there. This is also a good way to see what you could be getting and there should be lots of information on their to help you to get to know the contractor.
5. Search through htheir social media accounts. In this day and age most companies will have some form of Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. They should have regular updates on the contractors works which you can look at see what their work is like.
6. Ask lots of questions. If the contractor is genuine they won’t be put off by being asked questions like; How long have you been trading? How did you get into this line of work? What work related qualifications do you have? Can we see copies of your Public & Employers liability insurance details? Have you been CRB checked? What manufacturers equipment do you use? What guarantees do they provide? The more the ask the more you’ll get a feel for the person who may be working for you.
7. Get your quote in writing so you have something to refer back to with regards to materials used and equipment supplied, who is supplying what? and who is tidying up afterwards?
8. If the job is only small don’t pay until the works have been completed to the agreed specification.
9. If the job is a larger job then stage payments should be agreed prior to the works starting so everyone knows where they stand.
10. If someone can start that day or the next ask yourself why? I know sometimes you just want the job done but this is a big red flashing warning sign.
11. Finally in this world you really get what you pay for. There's some very cheap equipment out there, some very poor pond liners (just a plastic coated membrane!) and some very cheap contractors so make sure you are getting what you pay for.
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Good luck with your search.