Rogue trading happens – it’s a fact of life. But there are lots of things that you can do to minimize the risk of it happening to you. Here are 12 top tips you can do to avoid being caught by people determined to exploit others:
1. Don’t just accept the offer of the first service provider you come across. Look for at least 3 quotes from reputable businesses.
2. Find out about them, before revealing your contact details. For example, get their actual business address as well as their phone or email details.
3. Check out their professional credentials. Do they possess ‘competency’ certificates or qualifications, and are they members of an accredited association?
4. Ask for references and check them out. Reputable service providers will collect testimonials and examples of their work. Check that these are genuine. Most are proud and only too willing to produce evidence like this.
5. Keep detailed notes of all conversations you have with a service provider, including dates and prices etc. and document any important matters you agree in writing.
6. Insist on a quotation. Get a written detailed quotation from potential providers
7. Document any changes to the quotation and insist on receiving a new amended version each time a change is made.
8. Ask your provider for a timetable of events for completing the project and agree any changes to this together. Always have in your possession the latest agreed project timetable.
9.Try and pay for each stage of the work as it is completed. Agree payment terms and installments in advance, and avoid paying any money upfront.
10. Price and quality. Remember, when choosing a business there is often a trade off between price and quality – the better quality work and/or materials the higher the price is likely to be. Don’t expect to get the best quality for the lowest price
11. Examine progress. As the work proceeds, personally inspect each phase as you go and don’t pay for it unless you are satisfied with it
12. Project Manager. If the project is particularly large consider employing a project manager. They will charge you for managing the work on your behalf but will relieve you of the day-to-day management and hassle.
There are plenty other things we could advise and suggest but these are the main points to consider. If you keep to these you shouldn’t go far wrong and should be protected from anyone trying to exploit or cheat.