You may save on VAT with rogue traders….but at what cost?…John Davies, Director
The internet has become a virtual world, whereby people use it for many things as part of everyday life. With the increasing expansion of social networking and advertising sites a vast array of new companies are appearing daily. Are you confused, do you wonder how you can differentiate between quality Construction Companies and the ‘Cowboys Builders?’
From experience we have compiled our top 10 tips. This will help enforce your decision and you will feel confident at the outset with your choice of company. By making an informed decision you are minimising the potential risk of encountering the “COWBOY BUILDER”
1. All Limited companies advertising via a website are by law required to list their company registration number. 1st Check Companies House to establish when the company was incorporated. Websites may state they have 30 years experience, however this may be combined between people working there, or they may just mean 30 years experience of working in the industry, the reality is they may have only set up last week! Check out the link below. If the company is not limited, ask for confirmation of how long they have been trading and in what capacity, i.e. a sole trader or a partnership and do they trade from home. Remember a legitimate company will not be offended.
As yourself the question, if for any reason, illness or from an unfortunate accident how would your construction be completed by a sole trader? Go to http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ to Search Company Information.
2. Do a credit check on a company to assess their financial situation. You do not want work started by any company that may not be able to complete the construction. See this link below; Remember that you guarantee is worthless if the company ceases to exist next year! http://www.companycheck.co.uk
3. Confirm that the company is a member of the Trade associations, some companies may put logos on their website and vehicles, but it does not mean they are actually a member, check the main associations below; If they are not report to the relevant association.
|– Federation Of Master Builders (FMB) http://www.fmb.org.uk/check-a-member/|
|– Fairtrades – http://www.homepro.com/index.aspx?GO=CHECKMEOUT|
|– Trade Register – https://www.traderregister.org.uk/search_criteria.php|
4. Local directories are very useful, but just because they advertise various companies it does not necessarily mean they are established. Various sites we have looked at have been misleading, so best policy is still to check them out in the various ways shown on here.
5. Beware of photographs online. Many companies are displaying photographs that are not their own work, often displaying photographs of studio shots which have been downloaded from websites such as Velux. This is happening particularly in the loft conversion industry, which is very misleading to the consumer. Buckley Loft Conversions have this year encountered four separate incidents where images of their constructions have been displayed on a competitor’s websites. Any reputable company should have a gallery of their own work, and examples below shows the difference between studio pictures and a company’s own photographs or click the link to view more examples online; http://www.velux.co.uk/
Velux ‘Dream’ Studio Photographs
Example of our own photographs – Buckley Loft Conversions Ltd
Visit the GALLERY PAGE to see our examples
As demonstrated above you can often tell by the quality of the photographs, Velux photos are taken professionally and are often very clear, bright and with displaying many neutral colours.
6. Check out the company’s business premises, just pop in they will be happy to see you.
7. Always request to see a current copy of their Public Liability Insurance Certificate; you do not want anyone working in your home without any insurance.
8. Ask to see a portfolio when they come to visit your property, ask if it is their own work? Ask if you can go and visit any previous clients work, this should not be a problem for a reputable company. ASK, ASK ASK better now than later.
9. Health & Safety Policy, Risk Assessments and Method Statements. Health & Safety is a prime concern especially when people are working in your homes! Ask to see copies; a reputable company will be happy to help.
10. All these checks need to be carried out what ever source that you find the company whether it is the internet, Local Directories, Yellow Pages, Sign Boards, Recommendations or Word of Mouth.Be Safe not Sorry this is your home, money and safety that you are looking after!