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My Builder / Checkatrade / Rated People(23 Posts)
Just wondered if anyone has successfully used a building company from one of the above for a large job - i.e. an extension or full house renovation.
We have been seriously let down by our original builder (recommended by a friend who's house they'd done). We're exploring all avenues to find a new one but I have reservations.
Thanks for any advice or experience.
We have used them for small jobs and they've been good. A couple of them have said it's cheaper to use those sites than set up their own website.
Those kind of sites have been on watchdog specially if you doing a big project I be wary
The problem with these sites is that very often companies can pay for endorsed listings so you are not actually getting impartial references etc. it is actually paid for advertising in truth.
You should look at www.trustmark.org.uk which is the get backed impartial scheme endorsed by all the relevant trade bodies and trading standards for more reliable information. Or if you are a member then which? trusted traders is also good. Might be worth talking to your local trading standards too. Good luck its shit to be let down like that.
Get = gvt. So government backed ! Doh!
You could also visit your local town hall, as they might offer a list of trusted handymen. You should do this for elderly relatives too, who might get ripped off. Even then, you need to have your head screwed on and maybe get a few different quotes.
I agree that Checkatrade is quite variable, and its tradesmen pay up to a grand a year to be with them, so it is really a fancy kind of advertising. Not saying they are all bad, but I had a nightmare with one electrician who tried to fleece my Dad, and all the reviews left tend to be wildly positive ie it is hard to leave bad reviews. That electrician still has 9.9 as a rating. Watchdog did something on Checkatrade recently, and Checkatrade got Mumsnet to delete a thread on them that aired negative views a year or so ago, and tried to get Mumsnet to hand over the personal details of those Mumsnet members who had posted negative comments. Nice bunch.
Anyone you feel you want to go with, you could ask, have you done anything like this recently, offer up some details of recent customers, then go visit the people concerned and just ask what they made of the firm. Currently there is no shortage of building firms starting jobs now it's spring weather, so you can knock on doors and get feedback.
I don't trust that the reviews are necessarily honest. I think local websites are best for personal recommendations online.
We used one of thes sites for our bathroom re-fit and it was one of the most stressful experiences of my life - had to get a new team of builders in to fix up what the could. I'd go with personal recommendations, but if you do go for someone you find online ask them for references and go see examples of their work in person!
Try to get personal recommendations, most reputable builders will be registered & happy to give references. Ask if they have a folder with pics of previous works done.
Thankfully this is not a situation I'm likely to be in (if you're in NI I know some v good builders) but recommendations from friends would always rate higher than reviews on the internet for me and as pointed out above many govt sites have checklists about how to chose a builder, things to look out for etc.
I've had 4 jobs done recently from Checkatrade and they've been pretty good, not that I have much to compare them too as thus is the first time I've done building work really. One was quite big, taking out chimneys, putting in a steel beam, couple of lintels - I was really pleased with them, the price was good I think, building control were happy...I also had my central heating install done, again it all seems fine. I had smaller jobs (new glazing in door) and gutter repairs, I wasn't impressed with the gutter repair fella but was with glaziers. I have a Checkatrade electrician rewiring my house from Monday too! To be honest I tried hard to get personal recommendations but didn't come up with much. I used Checkatrade people with as many reviews as possible, and local to me. I checked of they were registered with Companies House, and made sure they had a real address and landline number. I went round in circles deciding if it was a risk or not, but in the end I just needed to get the work done!
I used checkatrade and rated people. I had no problems with them although after reading the thread on mn l googled them quite extensively. I was shocked at the way the reviews were manipulated, I wouldn't use them again.
Thanks for the advice so far, much appreciated. It's so bloody hard to know one way or the other and I guess that's the key - just be wary of everyone even when they're on the job, you've checked them out as far as possible and seemingly all is going well/you think you've built up some trust. We thought we'd done everything the 'right' way the first time - but it's a reminder that things can and do go tits up.
I agree about the ratings - on the whole they all seem rather positive to all be true which prompted my original post. I guess with Rated People they have to pay to contact you so maybe that makes their recommendations sit slightly higher than the other two.
Appreciate the tips about Which and Trustmark - I've looked on both previously but it's a good reminder to check back there and cross reference a few companies.
We've got more personal recommendations too but obviously everyone is busy and a lot of people don't want to take on a half started job hence why we may be forced to go with someone not personally recommended. Not least because we are in a crap situation and for the sake of our 20 month old I would like to be back in our flat by
May, September, Christmas - thank goodness for wine and mumsnet :-)
I've posted jobs on rated people and not one person bothered to reply. Put me off.
I've used mybuilder and found someone who was really good to paint the exterior of our house. I was wary as I found a plumber through asking for recommendations on Facebook (the selling sites) and I checked his reviews a few website. Was happy with us and his quote so went ahead. At first I thought he was good, turned out he was utter shite. I looked again at his website and looked at his personal Facebook profile only to discover that one of his glowing recommendations was written by his partner, and another one one had the same surname as him on the email address so all the 'positive reviews' were likely just bullshit. After that I went by who a friend recommended. It's hard though when you ask around and people don't know someone for the job that you're after. I think we got lucky with the house painter. After I read that reviews get checked before going on mybuilder which puts me off as they all seem very positive, I'd rathe read some more realistic reviews than gushing ones.
Personal recommendation is certainly best, where you have seen an example of the person's work and formed an opinion on it. Some of the websites allow traders to edit or delete unfavourable comments.
When you see a van parked outside a neighbour's house, ask for a card. Write the date and the neighbour's address on it. A month or more later, ask the neighbour what they think.
At least one of the Internet Trade Recommendation websites has very few negative comments about
crooks traders paying to be listed and writing their own recommendations, because the site's solicitors write and demand that forums such as this one delete them.
I know tradespeople who have a solid set of satisfied customers who recommend them and give them repeat business. They say that anyone who has to pay for a listing must lack satisfied customers.
Yes, I think we have to build a solid word of mouth culture and share recommendations. Mumsnet is a good place to do this!
It's too easy to be hoodwinked on the web.
I used a plasterer and found his recommendation here on mumsnet local board he was excellent! He was also so nice that he offered me other contacts for other work
When we gave a bad review on Rated people it was never added. I'd avoid now personally. Word of mouth only these days.
I had a very good experience with one of these sites and a great tradesman did our floor.
However I heard a bad story the other day where a tradesman threatened someone if he put a bad review after shoddy work.
I'm sure it's very rare but I was surprised it happened.
Ironically I've started another thread to find a floor sanding person and when I googled one of the names I found their company had been dissolved although they appear to still be trading. So maybe not all mumsnet recommendations are good? I think quite a lot of it comes down to luck actually, it's not like buying a toaster unfortunately!
Yes I would say it's luck all the way round as I know of people who have relied on friend and family recommendations and still been burnt so it's not even a given doing it that way
I've used several people I've found on Checkatrade and never had any problems.
I tend to use local companies, and read their reviews carefully - you can often spot themes and see how long they've been in business etc.
I'm sure some people are abusing the system, but luckily I haven't encountered any.
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