A Guide to Hiring the Right Contractors
As a landlord, you must rely on contractors to carry out work on your properties professionally, promptly and at the best price. More importantly is that work is carried out in line with current laws and regulations, failure to do so can make your insurance invalid and leave you liable should your tenant injures themselves.
Working with trusted contractors, with personal relationships, is key. R.A.D Property Management has been building these relationships with local supplier for many years and pride we pride ourselves on offering our personal, professional service even through our 3rd party contractors.
Through our experience, we have put together some useful tips on how to use the right contractor to undertake work on your property as well as how to spot a bad one.
Check the reviews
When looking for a contractor online, the first thing most people notice is the reviews on Google. This is a good place to start but it’s not the be all and end all. There are plenty of other places you can find independent feedback (note that not all tradesmen will feature on all of these platforms):
Facebook Business Pages.
Which? Trusted Traders.co.uk.
Independent testimonials on their website.
Glassdoor – here you can read reviews from employees about working in the company, useful for gaining insight on how larger contractors operate internally.
Make sure you scroll through a few of the reviews and make sure they look legit. If there’s a lot of 5-star reviews with no further messages, or reviews from people who work at the company, it could be that they are not so great after all.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask a contractor if you can have a conversation with one of their existing or previous customers. A working relationship with a portfolio landlord can be very lucrative for tradesmen, if they value your business, they should have no issue in providing you with some contact details to verify their testimonials and reviews.
Check their accreditations
Be sure to check contractors have the relevant industry accreditations when deciding to work with them, some of the most common accreditations across different industries include:
Electrical Safety Register
Gas Safe Register
Master Locksmiths Association
Like reviews, double check that the accreditations are legitimate; you can usually do this using a search function on the official accreditation websites.
Make sure the contractor is the right fit for your business before using them, some questions you can ask might include:
Do you have a 24-hour emergency contact number?
Do you have the staff/resources to deal with ‘X’ amount of properties?
Are you comfortable dealing with tenants on my behalf?
How do you handle your data? (GDPR)
What is your process for carrying out work?
Are you open on bank holidays?
Much like you screen and interview your potential tenants, it might be worth meeting your contractors to ask these questions before agreeing to work with them.
Know how to spot a rogue trader
Here are some tell-tale signs that the person you’re dealing with is a rogue trader:
Cash only - If it’s the only way, make sure you get a receipt/proof of payment.
Urgency – If the contractor is desperate to get your work, it could be a sign that they aren’t getting much work anywhere else.
Pushy sales – Like the above, if a contractor values your custom, they will be patient and respect your decision.
No quotes provided – Ask for estimates before agreeing to work with them.
Cheap as chips - Like wine, the cheapest contractor is certainly not the best.
How R.A.D. Property Management can help
Our fully managed property management service for landlords includes support for routine property maintenance and any relevant tests, risk assessments and installations that need to be carried out to keep you compliant. Our service is also there to support landlords with emergency works if things go wrong.
We have a list of trusted contractors that specialise in the buy-to-let who we have built up a relationship with over several years. These relationships allow us to get the job done quickly and at the best price for our landlords.
Get in touch today to find out more about how we can support you.