Search for a builder on trader comparison websites like Trustatrader or Checkatrade and you will get hundreds of results, all with strong reviews and a good-looking track record. Many of these builders will provide a great service, but others will fall below your expectations – so with so many options available, what is the best way to select a good builder for your project?
Ask for personal referrals
The best way to find a reliable builder for your renovation project is through personal recommendations from family, friends, or neighbours. We rely on other people’s personal experiences to help choose products and services all the time, and finding a builder is no different.
A general endorsement of a builder is good, but if someone you know has worked with a builder on a similar project in the past, whether that is a full property renovation, a basement conversion, or a new kitchen, then that recommendation is even better.
Explore trade schemes and associations
There are trade schemes and associations for most trades, and they can be a great way of confirming that a builder is trustworthy and meets certain requirements. For example, Good London Builders has been a member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) since 2018. To join the FMB, our business went through a strict vetting process and our work was independently inspected. And now we proudly host their badge on our website to reassure clients of our commitment to the highest standards.
These trade bodies are a useful tool to check the reliability of potential builders, but you should be aware that some unscrupulous builders do host badges from these groups on their sites without ever actually signing up and going through the vetting process. Don’t be fooled by the badge. Always check on the association’s website that your potential builder really is a member before contracting them for the project.
Look into trader review websites
There are numerous websites and apps that give builders the opportunity to list their services, including Trustatrader, Checkatrade, MyBuilder, and RatedPeople. The user reviews on these websites can be a good way of drawing up a shortlist of potential builders, but online reviews from strangers, even if verified, do not carry the same weight as referrals from people you know.
Get references and follow up
Once you have found a shortlist of potential builders, the next step is to ask them for references from similar projects in the past. You should then follow up on these references to get first-hand experience of how the builder performed on all aspects of the project. If possible, it would be even better if you could visit the property to see the quality of the builder’s work in person.
Ask for a detailed quote
When you are happy with your shortlist and their references check out, it is then time to ask them for a detailed quote for the whole project. Be sure to include a request for information on the costs of site maintenance, clearance, material supplies, and the labour itself. It is also worthwhile to ask in writing whether planning permission or building regulation approval would be required, and always check if they are insured.
Choose the best quote, not the cheapest
We all love to get a good deal, so choosing the cheapest quote may feel like the best idea. Cost is very important, but it should not be the only factor that guides your decision. The experience of the builder, how well they have answered each of your queries, the guarantees they offer, and how well they have explained their quote should also come into your decision.
Critically, never be tempted by discounts for a “VAT-free deal” or payment in cash. You need to have proof of payment, and if the builder is happy to cut corners on their taxes, then they may be cutting corners elsewhere.
Get help when you are unsure
Choosing the right builder for a project can be a long and difficult process, and this is where a builder’s agent like Good London Builders can help guide you through the process. We can help from the very earliest stages of planning, helping you find the right professionals that fit your needs and budget and to produce a detailed tender pack to send to builders. We will then introduce you to a number of teams that we believe would deliver your brief and help you make the right decision. If you are struggling to find the right builder for your project, then contact Good London Builders today on 0207 978 5097.