Dodgy builders. We’ve all heard stories about them, may have even experienced them first hand (we know we have) and many landlords dread the hassle of having to find a reputable one.
The good news is it’s possible to find some brilliant, conscientious and professional builders and trades people.
During the 20+ years we’ve been in the lettings agency business we’ve encountered some shoddy service from people called in to do repairs or refurbishments on properties we’ve managed.
One example was going back several years when a landlord refurbished a property but made the classic (and common) mistake of going with the cheapest quote.
It was a nightmare that still goes on to this day. Originally it was obvious that the builder had done a terrible job. Sloppy painting, kitchen doors that wouldn’t close, laminate floors with large gaps at the edges where they met the wall and much, much more besides.
Over the years repairing and making good the initial poor workmanship has cost the landlord a lot more than the ‘cheap quote’ and has brought them and their tenants a lot of stress.
Since The Property Shop started we’ve slowly but consistently built up a circle of trusted traders and builders.
A good contractor is worth their weight in gold to us and here is some of the criteria we use to select them.
We spend hours scouring review sites, getting referrals from industry professionals, discussion forums, review websites and then, having shortlisted a few, we make contact and "sound them out".
Then - and only then - will we decide which ones are likely to be suitable. Thereafter, they will be trialled, and we will take full responsibility (including financial responsibility) for the outcome.
Obviously, it helps that we’ve spent 20+ years in the business and a lot of the good local companies are already on our radar.
We don't charge them any commission/introductory fee; all we ask/expect/demand from them is quality work and service and that they adhere to the six fundamental steps below.
- All work is carried out to a very high standard, in a polite, tidy and courteous manner.
- Tenants are contacted promptly once a job has been raised to liaise a realistic timescale for attendance and completion.
- A sensibly priced invoice is submitted to me within seven days of completion of the work.
- We have assurance that in the event of any problems the contractor will return very quickly to resolve them (hardly ever necessary, but good when it is).
- We must be able to get hold of them quickly and easily at all times.
- A copy of their Public Liability insurance is provided to us each year.
Thankfully, over the years we have forged very good relationships with many excellent contractors and service providers. This benefits not only us, but my landlords and tenants too.
But good builders are always in demand and can often be booked up months in advance. By maintaining good relationships with them we’re often able to get preferential treatment when it comes to booking jobs in quickly for our clients.
How? Well we see all relationships as a two-way street. And here’s another set of criteria we apply to our dealings with builders and trades people.
- Pay them once a month, on time. No excuses, no delays, no nonsense. (They really appreciate this.)
- Provide them with full and detailed information about the nature of the job, along with photographs where available. Also full information about who the tenants are and how they can be reached. (Most contractors tell me they really appreciate this too.)
- Provide them with my personal mobile number, so that they know they can reach us whenever they need to.
This approach has meant we now have a team of different trades, services and professions who we’re 100 per cent confident in.
We always advise my landlords to avoid ‘cheap’ builders as often the price reflects the quality of work.
Which leaves us to finish with a quote: “No one ever complained about buying quality.”
Thanks for reading and if you have any other property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d love to help you.