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Top Tips – When hiring a tradesman

Are you about to hire a tradesman to work in your home or garden?

Whether the job is big or small, there are certain steps we advise you to take. For your own protection, please take a few minutes to read this advice. Following these guidelines could save you time, money and a lot of stress.

When employing a tradesman you are advised

To follow best practice and:

  • Be specific and set out a detailed, clear brief – requesting at least three quotes.
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations and check the TrustMark Online Directory to ensure the tradesperson is registered for the particular services you require.
  • Use a business that advertises using a landline telephone number and be very wary of those only willing to provide a mobile number.
  • Seek references, speak to previous customers and if possible, visit previous jobs.
  • Don’t just select the cheapest.  Consider how you would communicate with the business representatives, as well as the quality of their work.
  • Only pay for work that has been completed and not in advance, unless using a service like the TrustMark escrow service which releases funds to the tradesperson at key project milestones.
  • If materials need to be bought in advance by the tradesperson, it is reasonable that the customer is asked to pay a fair percentage of these costs as the job progresses.
  • Always use a written contract as it offers you protection if anything does go wrong and a dispute arises.
  • Agree in writing any changes to the agreed contract value before the work is completed.

On the 13 June 2014 the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 SI 2013 No. 3134 came into force.

These regulations now apply to contracts concluded on or after 13 June 2014. On this date, the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 and the Off Premises (Doorstep) Regulations 2008 were revoked.

Important information

Many of the information provisions are already required by existing legislation and will be familiar to businesses. However some are new, some examples include:

  • Schedule 1 to the regulations lists the information to be provided for on-premises contracts,
  • Schedule 2 to the regulations lists the information to be provided for distance and off-premises contracts
  • Where cancellation rights exist, all distance and off-premises sellers covered by the regulations will need to provide the cancellation form in Schedule 3.

How do I know a tradesman is trustworthy?

If a business is TrustMark registered, it is working to a Code of Conduct set down by an approved Scheme Provider.  This stipulates the standards they are required to work to, the legislation they must adhere to and the levels of customer service and trading practices that TrustMark demands.

What standards of workmanship can I expect?

TrustMark Registered Businesses are checked and monitored against recognised British, international or industry standards. We ensure you receive a good standard of workmanship and that any complaint will be treated fairly if there is a problem. If you are unhappy with the service you have received from a TrustMark Registered Business, please see further guidance here

How do I know the firm is financially sound?

A Registered Businesses’ trading record and financial position is checked when they first join TrustMark, however such checks cannot guarantee a business will not hit financial difficulties.  For this reason, we insist all Registered Businesses provide a warranty that provides increased protection if the firm goes out of business.  

Who checks up on these tradesmen?

TrustMark’s approved Scheme Providers (which include trade associations, local authorities / Trading Standards, certification inspection schemes and commercial organisations) check the performance of all the businesses that join TrustMark through them.

So who checks up on the approved Scheme Providers?

We do. The TrustMark team monitors approved Scheme Providers on behalf of the TrustMark Board. The Board reviews each approved Scheme Provider’s performance, taking into account an independent assessment of the quality of their work, how they handle complaints, and so on.

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