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Choosing the right people for the job

(7 Posts)
EJC85 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:12:07

Hi guys,

We bought a 60's fixer upper and I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions on how best to go round selecting the right trades people for the jobs. Some of the work we are doing ourselves (simple cosmetics) as we're keen to save as much as possible (who isn't?). However, we know our limitations and we'll be employing professionals for other jobs.
Eg: We're having a simple one storey extension at the back built and a garage conversion done. I already have the brick layer sorted but no other contractors so far. (We're waiting for planning permission atm and I feel I need to get quotes lined up asap).
Having never done this before It feels quite daunting to choose the right people for the jobs that need doing.
I understand I need ground works done first then brick laying, roofing, plumbing, electrics, plastering, tiling...What am I forgetting? Apart from word of mouth, how do you find reputable trades people? I was tempted to look into Checkatrade. Thoughts?
What are your tips to ensure I manage this effectively?

Lots of questions, I know...

Any tips at all would be greatly appreciated.

bouncydog Thu 13-Apr-17 13:28:45

Definately word of mouth in the first instance. Also ensure that every single person you employ has liability insurance for any damage they might do to your property. Don't take their word for it either - insist on a copy of the current certificate. Also do not pay them until the work is signed off if it needs to be by your local authority. Don't pay unreasonable amounts up front and if they ask for money for materials the better option is to source the materials yourself (we opened trade accounts with suppliers for our build). If you are asked to pay a deposit then ensure it is realistic or hold off and pay in stages. Also if somebody tells you they are a member of a particular trade organisation, check them out - don't just take their word for it.

You have a couple of choices - either get three firms to quote for the whole job or break it down and manage it yourself with individual contractors which often works out cheaper. Ask them for references. Reputable firms don't mind.

If you manage it yourself, then you have to ensure that the tradesmen you use will be flexible and work in with each other. I'm sure others more knowledgeable than I (live overseas) will be on here with information on the contracts that you should put in place.

Generally it is helpful to write out a scope of works so that each person you ask to quote quotes on the same basis, as there are horror stories of people being asked for more money to finish the job because it was unclear what was being priced in the first place.

You could also get a contract manager to manage it for you and take away the pain, but it really depends on the work and the size of your budget.

We've now done it a few times and its not difficult to manage but if you are a complete novice then I would suggest the best way might be to get some help - family member in the trade perhaps could provide guidance?

Bearbehind Thu 13-Apr-17 13:36:32

Word of mouth is often the best option because you can see the work they've done rather than photos on a website they say they've done.

If you can't get personal recommendations then trust a trader or check a trade is a good option. I'd look for well established firms with lots of reviews.

Personally, if you don't know anyone for each of the trades you'd need I'd be looking to hire one firm to do it all.

It might be a bit more expensive but it means they'd be responsible for any delays. If you book each trade separately then one doesn't turn up or doesn't do a good job, they'd screw it up for everyone else and that coould ultimately cost you much more.

EJC85 Thu 13-Apr-17 15:04:49

Hey bouncydog - Many thanks for your input. You make very good points which I will look into. Eg: Liability insurance and trade accounts - How would I go about having one of those? I thought they were only for people in the trade?

I might get a few firms to quote whole job but I think we're inclined to manage the job ourselves and liaise with contractors separately to cut costs. It will take longer but we're hoping we can do it successfully.
Having a good idea on what to put onto contracts would be very useful, you are so right. If anyone has any more ideas about that, I'd love to hear them.

Generally it is helpful to write out a scope of works so that each person you ask to quote quotes on the same basis, as there are horror stories of people being asked for more money to finish the job because it was unclear what was being priced in the first place. - I will look into this and try to do this to the best of my ability but If anyone else has done this and could point out what should be included I'd really appreciate it.

We've now done it a few times and its not difficult to manage but if you are a complete novice then I would suggest the best way might be to get some help - family member in the trade perhaps could provide guidance?
Unfortunately we have no one around us who could help us sad. I am hoping to gain as much knowledge from others who have been there and done it before.

I truly appreciate all your suggestions, they have been very helpful.
Many thanks!

EJC85 Thu 13-Apr-17 15:09:14

Bearbehind - Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

If you can't get personal recommendations then trust a trader or check a trade is a good option. I'd look for well established firms with lots of reviews. I will have a better look at local firms and then checkatrade too.

Personally, if you don't know anyone for each of the trades you'd need I'd be looking to hire one firm to do it all.

It might be a bit more expensive but it means they'd be responsible for any delays. If you book each trade separately then one doesn't turn up or doesn't do a good job, they'd screw it up for everyone else and that could ultimately cost you much more. -

I appreciate what you are saying and in an ideal world We'd just hand it all to a large firm and let them sort it all out but unfortunately our budget is tight and i'm afraid it won't stretch that much.

Thanks so much for all your suggestions though. I appreciate it. smile

Bearbehind Thu 13-Apr-17 15:30:15

ejc it doesn't have to be a 'large' firm as such.

We've used a small 2 man company who subcontract in their own trades like electrician, plasterer, decorator, floor layer etc.

They just liase with these people and if anything goes wrong it's not your problem.

If you book one trade to start the day after another trade does their bit, if the first one doesn't do what is required you'll probably still have to pay the second for their time even if they can't do the work- if that were to happen that definitely won't work out being the cheap option.

EJC85 Thu 13-Apr-17 15:42:00

Bearbehind Oh I see. Ok...I'll def look into that then. Many thanks for pointing this out. Cheers!

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