How to spot a rogue trader

It something that crosses our minds, every time we need to employ someone to do work on our property. Whether it’s a builder, a plumber, electrician or just a general maintenance person – it seems that everyone you know has had a run in with a rogue trader. Someone who was paid to do an excellent job, but only turned up the once and left a mess…or completed shoddy and even illegal work on your home.

Just because a company pulls up on your drive in a smart new van with beautiful signage on the side, doesn’t mean that they’re everything they say they are; a reputable and creative firm like SmartSign can create beautiful signage for anyone with a design.

But what can you do to make sure that anyone you hire is a legitimate trader? A skilled and professional craftsman? Well, here you’ll find a few pointers of how to spot a rogue trader and how to help you choose the right one.

Consider their signage

The sight of a trusted scheme or body’s logo is a sign of reliability. It shows they are registered, qualified and skilled to do the job. In order to join a scheme or body, tradespeople must pass certain criteria and go through rigorous annual assessments. The sign of the logos shows the customer, they can be trusted.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop a rogue trader slapping an approval or trusted scheme logo onto their van – but you can always do your own research online and search for the business in question to find out if their “qualification” is a legitimate achievement.  

Consider their pricing

Has your trader offered you a ridiculously low price or estimate? Many cowboys offers very cheap quotes or estimates – which indicates that they’re keen to rip you off for as little as possible, or they could not be experienced enough to give accurate figures. Either way, if an offer seems too good to be true, it usually means that it is! Make sure you do your research, shop around and compare quotes.

If they’re unwilling to write the quote on paper, or give you a solid reference of it, then chance are – they have no intention of sticking to it!

Your money

Has your tradesman asked to be paid up front? If they have, alarm bells should be ringing. A reliable builder won’t ask you to do this, not even if they need materials. If they run a business, they should have enough money to cover these costs themselves and only ask for payment once they’ve completed the job, or done a reasonable amount of work.

If your tradesman accepts cash only offers as payment, then this could also be a tell-tale sign, as they could be acting dishonestly by not paying VAT.

Consider their business

Can’t find their company online? It’s very rare nowadays for a company not to be listed in any online directories or have their own website or social media. In addition, if they’re unwilling to offer you details about their business – for example an address or landline number then steer well clear!