Cowboy Builders – How to spot them and avoid them!

May 18, 2017 | Building, FAQ

Unfortunately we live in an era where there are too many people trying to earn money without providing a complete or honest service, this is especially true within many of the trades. If you have watched the numerous ‘cowboy builder’ programmes you will see how awful it is for the customer when this happens and how a project of any size can go from exciting to traumatic very quickly.

This is why choosing a building company that will provide you with a professional and fair service are of the utmost importance when choosing to have work done to your property. At Blake Contractors we pride ourselves on being this and try and go above and beyond what is expected on every project we complete.

Common cowboy builder traits

Below is a small list of important signs and things to look out for when deciding who to complete your project no matter how large or small.

C/A Say – Offers very cheap Quotations or gives verbal estimates – this could mean they are a cowboy builders/inexperienced or do not intend to stick to the verbal price.
Blake’s say – Unless the job is extremely simple and requires minimal materials a ‘on the spot Quote’ will be either too cheap or too high. We wouldn’t do this as we want to go away, get Quotations for materials to get the best possible price for you and review all the possible outcomes from the job before offering a written Quote which we will stand by.

C/A Say – Is unwilling to offer you details about their business – A business address for example
Blake’s Say – If a tradesperson is unable to give you a business address and they do not show up and start ignoring your calls you have no idea of how to contact them and may never get the work finished. We have our offices down at Blake Contractors so not only can we deal with all types and sizes of jobs but if you are unhappy with any aspect of your job you can always come in and talk to us about it. We also have staff manning the phones every day during working hours so you know we will pick up. Contact us here:

C/A Say – Is unwilling to offer you references or show you testimonials
Blake’s Say – This is hugely important to us. We love to hear from our customers that the work we completed is not only to the standard they expected but above and beyond. Also the workers on site acted in the correct manner throughout the works. This is why we are proud to put testimonials on our website for all to see.

C/A Say – Refuses to sign a contract if you present them with one
Blake’s Say – For any kind of substantial works a minor contract can be put in place. We use these regularly to cover ourselves and the client.

C/A Say – Asks for money upfront – a reliable builder won’t ask you to do this, not even if they need materials. If they run a business, they will only ask for payment once work is either completed or a portion of payment when that portion of works is complete.
Blake’s Say – This is something I always see on the ‘cowboy builder’ shows and is easily avoidable. None of our staff will ever ask you for money up front, should the job be of a substantial size we may ask for interim payments where at certain dates we agree a % of the work that is complete and that % is invoiced and paid. This means you will never be paying for more than what you have already received.

C/A Say – Only accepts cash – If a builder only offers to accept cash payment, they could be acting dishonestly by saving on paying out for VAT.
Blake’s Say – We accept all forms of payment and you will always receive an invoice for the works.

C/A Say – Claims to be in a trade association when they are not – You should always check if the builder does belong to the trade association. If they don’t it means they are dishonest.
Blake’s Say – We work hard to get and keep our accreditation’s and pride ourselves on them. See bottom of the page for our accreditation’s.

(The above are points taken from Citizens advice)

As you can see there are many points to look out for, but hopefully this guide will give you some hope that you can spot the cowboy builders and be able to avoid them.

Below is a video of our work to give you an Idea of what a job done by quality tradesmen looks like. (You need to enable cookies to see this).

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