How to Spot Cowboy Builders

Spending money on DIY or extensive house work can seem like a real hit to your pocket and it can be tempting to go with the person offering the service you need at the cheapest price. This might be a good tactic in other areas, but when it comes to building services you could end up with a disaster on your hands. 

Cowboy builders are generally poor in their standards and will offer to do work for dirt cheap because they’re trying to make a quick profit without actually using any expertise or skill. In the end a cowboy builder could be a risk to both your property and your health if they carry out shoddy workmanship, costing you more in the long run.

With this in mind we’ve put together a list of ways to spot cowboy builders when searching for your ideal builder.

Look for Trade Memberships

The first thing you can find out about a builder with little effort is whether they are a member of a trade organisation such as the Federation of Master Builders. Any memberships a builder has will show that they have gained specific industry knowledge and experience to carry out work in a professional manner.

Does your Builder have Insurance?

A trustworthy and organised builder will have insurance in place which won’t run out while they perform work for you. This should cover public liability but also should include cover for any damage they might cause or if they can’t complete the work, this means you will be able to pay to get the work completed even if it’s not by the original builder.

Are all the Costs Included in the Quote?

A trick frequently used by cowboy builders is to quote a low price to lure you in, but throughout the work they will bump up the cost. Professional builders will give you a written quote which can’t be changed without your consent and which will list to you the prices for the work and the materials they need.

Do they Offer a Warranty?

In an effort to assure you of their quality, a truly professional builder should be able to offer you a warranty on the work they carry out. This protects your from any faults with their work in future and gives you peace of mind knowing there is a binding guarantee on the reliability of their work. You can get a variety of warranty lengths but 5 years and beyond should ensure you’re safe from shady work.

Do they have Good References?

One of the best ways to get a good idea about a builder is to seek out recommendations from their previous clients. Were they happy with the standard of the work and did the builder act in a professional manner at all times? Three good references should be a decent indicator of how good your potential builder is.