Whether you’re hiring a contractor for planned property maintenance, or a tenant has reported an emergency repair, the key is to find someone reputable who can efficiently meet the needs of your project. Here are 6 steps to help you find the right contractor for your project and avoid rogue traders.
1. Are they licensed and insured?
As a landlord or agent, you’re responsible for appointing certified and insured contractors. If an incident occurs that causes damage or injury, and the contractors' certifications have lapsed, the property management company could be held liable. If the property manager, knowingly or unknowingly, fails to meet health and safety regulations and an incident occurs, this could mean fines or even criminal prosecution.
💡 If you're unsure of which qualifications your contractor should have, our Easy guide: How to choose a reputable contractor can help.
2. Consider turnaround time
Once you've contacted a contractor or contracting company, estimated turnaround time is a good indicator of quality. If the length of the work seems too short or the turnaround time seems unnecessarily lengthy, it may suggest that the contractor is sacrificing quality for speed.
However, it’s critical to consider that tradespeople have busy seasons, and extreme weather conditions can lengthen the expected turnaround time for a project.
3. Do your background checks
When applying for a new job, most people are interviewed about their experience and asked to provide references. Your contractor should be no different.
Ask about their workload and how long they have been in business. A contractor with more than five years of experience is preferable. It’s also essential to take your research online.
"The continued rise of online review sites means we're in a reputation economy now more than ever… That means positive online reviews are becoming a necessity."
- Dan DiClerico, Angi Leads' (formerly HomeAdvisor Pro) home expert
A positive online reputation indicates that a company is reliable. Check references for their product quality, workmanship, and customer service. However, a 100% satisfaction rate should be viewed with caution as it could indicate that the reviews aren't legitimate.
4. Prioritise good communication
Communication skills are one of the most critical skills to look for in a contractor, yet they're so often ignored. Lack of communication or incorrect briefings could lead to the project being completed incorrectly.
Look for early signs of miscommunication, such as delays in responses or incomplete answers to questions. If you notice any of these red flags, you may have difficulty communicating with this person throughout the job. Ask your contractor to provide regular updates and routinely check in on the work.
5. Don't let price be your guide
When it comes to getting an estimate for your project, remember that the best contractors will rarely be those with the lowest or highest price, so don't always assume that the cheapest is the best deal. Contractors should be competitive with pricing, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Good contractors who don't cut corners may not be able to compete on price with those that do, so it's important to compare 'apples to apples' when it comes to cost.
6. Don't pay everything up-front
It's essential to decide on payment terms so you know what you're getting for any upfront payments and what you can expect upon the balance payment.
Where possible, avoid paying in cash and make payments to a company rather than an individual. Good choices will make it easier to get your money back if something goes wrong.
Finding a contractor who meets all these criteria can be time-consuming, and cutting corners is easy. But, it's vital to ensure that your contractors are duly qualified and authorised to avoid unnecessary costs or severe consequences.
Systems like our Contractor Marketplace allow for smart contractor management, with all contractors vetted by us for references and qualifications in advance. Plus, you won't need to spend hours searching for the best price because we always use fixed and affordable rates. You can sit back, knowing that skilled professionals will be completing your work, updating you every step of the way via SMS and photo updates, so there is no miscommunication.
Save yourself the faff. Let Contractor Marketplace do the hard work for you.