Avoiding The Cowboys

Home Improvement

Here at Made To Measure we understand how daunting it can be choosing a competent Carpentry & Joinery company and  every now & again folks  call us in to correct bad workmanship by cowboy builders who have ripped them off . These occasions are quite rare, but they do happen. Not only is it bad news for the customer but it is bad news for the industry as a whole. As part of that industry we are trying  to do our part  to prevent this from happening , that's why we have drawn up the following guidelines . 

Cowboy builders are not builders, they are criminals who put people life's at risk!


Unfortunately cowboys turn up in any line of business and the building industry is no exception, they present an image of confidence and friendliness, this can make it very hard to question their abilities and promises - but remember, it is your money that they are trying to swindle out of !
Be on your guard against 'cowboy builders' who call at your home &   tell you tales like, they are working in your area and have some materials left over and can do a job very cheap job for you, or have noticed a few tiles or slates missing on your roof and can replace them at a fraction of the normal cost.
Once they have finished and found several other faults that they had to fix , they will not be so cheap!…and it will be more than likely that there work is sub standard, and quite possibly dangerous. To prevent yourself becoming a victim of cowboy builders  follow & abide by the ten golden rules

Ten Golden Rules

1.Ask friends & family to recommend builders

Ask neighbours and friends to recommend builders if you do not know any. Ask the builders for references and look at examples of their work.

2. Get more than one estimate

Don't just talk to one builder. Get at least three written estimates. Ensure the estimate or quote is printed on headed business paper which should show a name & address and   a landline telephone number . A bogus or cowboy builder, will not be keen to give you these details.

3. Identification

When arranging with the   builders visit your house to look at the job you want pricing, ask each one before hand to bring identification, no who you are dealing with from the start.

4.  Look at the Estimates & Quotes carefully

When buying employing a builder  it is important to realise that cheapest quote is not is  always the  best. Better to employ a builder who has quoted the correct price to do the job, which means he has allowed for adequate time  & materials  ect  to do the job , rather than the builder who has got his quote wrong & is going to rush the job and cut corners  because he has gone in to cheap.

5.  Pick the right  trade for the job

Make sure that you pick the right  tradesman for the job. For example, do not get a roofer to rewire your home. If employing an electrician, plumber or gas engineer, ask what qualifications they have and if they are registered. Avoid the jack of all trades, they tend to be masters of none!

 6.  Find out if the builder does the work himself or employes sub contractors to do it.

If the builder gets other people to carry out the work, make sure he or she is still responsible for all the work.

7.  Check the builder is insured.

Ask the builder for proof that they have 'public liability' insurance cover for any damage that may be caused to your property or your neighbours property and the people in it.

8.  Do you need Planning Permission and Building Regulations  .

Contact your local council planning & building control department to see if any permissions are needed there is no charge for this. Planning permission should be granted before any work begins .A cowboy builder will often say that you don't need the necessary permissions. It is your property & ultimately your responsibility. It can be very costly applying for retrospective permissions & they are not always granted.

9.  Ask as many questions as you like.

A good builder will never mind answering questions, if he does then he might have something to hide.

10.  Never pay for work up front

Never pay for materials or work before the builder starts. Reputable builders usually have accounts with builders  merchants. For larger jobs you may need to pay at certain stages as the work progresses, agree this with your builder. Make sure that you agree  the cost of any 'extras' before the extra work is carried out. 

Quotes & Estimates

When comparing the prices your builder submits it is crucial to understand the difference between a quotation and an estimate. A quotation is a firm price i.e. what you can expect to pay for specified works. Whereas an estimate is much less specific a best guess of what it will cost to do what the client wants subject to change as and when the nature of the job does. Most builders will submit a mixture of quotation and estimates, this is fine as long as you get a complete detailed written breakdown of every aspect of the job