Hiring Cowboy Builders November 15, 2019 Denise Rawrki Never give work to door-to-door callers. If they seem reputable, ask them the address of their company’s office and send for information. Wherever possible you should employ people on personal recommendation from relatives or friend. Alternatively you may ask the company that you are thinking of some work and want get some recommendations from locals, ask them for names and addresses of people in the area who have similar work done. Then you may wish to contact them to find out if they were satisfied with the work. Contact two or three companies for quotations before deciding which to use. Prices can vary according to the size of the company, or how busy they are. Don’t be tempted to use an unknown company because it offers a ‘Ten year guarantee’. If the company goes bust, the guarantee is worth nothing. Get an agreement in writing, spelling out exactly what is to be done, what materials will be used, how long the job will take and how much it will cost. This protects you as well as the builder. Verbal agreements can often go wrong. On large projects, consider employing a local architect or surveyor, who will be responsible for ensuring that only reputable tradesmen are involved. Because of their training and experience, architects can often save you more than the cost of their fees. Even if the hired builder contractor is to do the entire job, prepare to be involved. It is wise to keep an eye on the job, to make sure it is done the way you want – particularly where any error or misunderstanding could not easily be repaired. One such garden contractor did a ‘tree surgery’ in a my friend’s patio without her supervision – well, she was not happy to see her favorite tree ‘surgered’ for a quarter! Do not sign anything that states you are satisfied with the completed job if you are not satisfied or have not had time to inspect it thoroughly. A contractor is obliged by law to carry out the work agreed upon with reasonable skill and care, within a reasonable time, to make a fair charge and to use materials that are appropriate to the job.