Have you ever been given the advice that before choosing a supplier/tradesmen etc you should get 3 quotes. Well over the years working at various companies this has always been the advice I’ve been given before embarking on any kind of project and I’ve followed it, usually.  Often I’ve not known where to start so I’ve done a quick google search or used yellow pages or something equivalent and then just picked any three.  I have to admit,  sometimes I haven’t been quite as diligent and only got two quotes.

So is this how we should choose tradespeople?

Getting three quotes helps you understand the rough value of what you are buying and where detailed quotes are given, they might pinpoint services or potential problems you hadn’t thought of.  This is particularly helpful if you really have no idea of the cost. It also gives you the option of low end or high end but the problem is that the quoted cost may have no real impact on the quality or reliability of the service you will end up getting.

In a recent survey by plentific.com it found that 87% of the 13 million UK homeowners had fears when it came to hiring tradesmen.  Concerns varied from how to find reliable people, the quality of work, being ripped off by tradesmen, the tradesmen going out of business before completing the work and jobs not being completed on time.  The survey showed that concerns differed by age category with those in older age categories having more concerns compared to younger age categories. There was also a significant variation by region and I’m pleased to say the South West had the highest confidence level at 19% compared to London at only 5% of people having no concerns about hiring a tradesmen. So are these concerns really reflective of the market.  If 19% of you out there have concerns over finding a reliable tradesperson…………….how can you help ensure you get the tradesperson that is right for you.

Well certainly programmes like rogue traders and watchdog urge caution but there are plenty of reputable tradesmen out there. You want a job done but where to find that trusted tradesperson.  You could start by asking yourself, ‘have any of your trusted close family or friends recently used this tradesperson’?  What was their experience? but remember all jobs and costs are different, your needs and priorities may well be different from those of a friend, and staff in a firm can change over time.  You wouldn’t buy the same car as a friend just because they thought it was great!  You need to shop around.


The key factor when making a choice should be looking at independent reviews. IH flooring is a member of Checkatrade (www.checkatrade.com) which allows customers to independently rate the quality of the service received.  As these reviews are independently verified this is a good indication of what other customers have said.  There are other sites out there including trusted trader, plentific.com and WHICH.  All of these recommend that consumers consider using any trader who supports a system of reviews that result in independent recommendations.

Speaking to real people!

As one of the concerns homeowners have is about firms going out of business I’d also recommend going with an established firm preferable with a real base such as a shop or showroom where you can see and speak to the staff directly about your needs, your priorities and the service and timescales you expect.  This allows the relationship to be more transparent and will help the tradesperson fully understand your needs and increase your confidence that they will help if things go wrong.  After all, most tradespersons want to get it right.  At IH flooring we aim to feel as pleased and proud of the job that we complete as the property owner is when showing the finished job to friends and family. Ultimately whenever you embark on any project there is some element of risk but if you use the evidence out there you should be able to manage that risk and get the results you want.

Remember if you’ve had a good service then tell others. Let’s drive up standards getting rid of rogue traders and increase confidence in the industry.