More than 60% of decorators need at least a months notice before starting work. With 90% of decorators reporting that their clients are not asking for written contracts and less than 10% are asking for proof of vital insurance documents, it’s no surprise that more than 1.5 million homeowners a year report issues with cowboy decorators and tradesmen.
The most common complaints including poor-quality work and a lack of professionalism. And almost 2 million British homeowners say a trader has disappeared after they have been paid, without completing the work.
So, how do you find a decorator you can trust?
‘If a decorator is free to start work tomorrow, be cautious. Demand for painting and decorating work is incredibly high at the moment so you need to check why they haven’t got any work on at this period in time making them so easily available.
In recent years, several online sites have popped up claiming to list reputable contractors, but you need to proceed with caution. Some websites are no more than commercial directories featuring paid-for-listings. Others list contractors based on previous customer ratings and user experiences, which can be open to manipulation and abuse through fake reviews.
4 golden rules
- Get at least three quotes with a fixed price, and clarify the position on VAT.
- Use a written contract to get an agreement on cost, as well as issues such as timescale, materials and clearing up.
- Make sure the decorator has insurance, and check for warranties and guarantees.
- Agree a payment schedule, and release payments based on targets for specific deadlines being met. Never pay in full upfront.
- Ask to see evidence of qualifications and training if you feel relevant
- Request references and follow them up.
- Look for accreditations with trade associations, and see if the person is approved by Trading Standards or registered with an ombudsman.
- Ask for proof of insurance. ‘These protections really are essential to helping clients weed out the cowboys and mitigate against any issues that could crop up during the works.
- Sign up a person who knocks on your door and points out a small problem. Reputable tradesmen will not cold call.
- Hire someone who says they can start work straight away. Also tread carefully if a quote seems too low.
- Choose workmen who only have a mobile number, and who can’t – or won’t – provide references.
Kate Faulkner, property expert from Propertychecklists.co.uk, says: ‘Check reviews online and search the person with the word “complaint” on Google – you may be surprised at what comes up.’
When things go wrong
Contact the tradesperson directly and see if you can reach an amicable solution. Follow this up in writing. If this doesn’t work, one option is a dispute resolution service, such as those offered by Trustmark and the Federation of Master Builders. Provided you have given the company eight weeks to resolve your problem, you can escalate a complaint to the Ombudsman.
If you are looking for a painting and decorating company in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire that you can trust then talk to JS Decorating. We are qualified, insured and happy to offer references upon request.
JS Decorating: for all of your painting and decorating requirements in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and beyond!