Thursday, 25 February 2010

Know a man who can

Rain, snow, sleet, wind etc tends to keep me in hibernation mode and indoors. Spending so much time indoors is not good for the body which tends to atrophy and the mind to tend to apathy. So I do what any good wife does and start nagging 'im indoors to sort out the bloody DIY.
So where to look for a man who can do things? As with all things personal recommendation is the first port of call but we don't know many bods in this area.
The next step for us,as always, is the Internet. And there are sites that help you find a tradesperson.
We tried
ratedpeople - never again. This site has so many flaws it's a joke. From a forum on, it seems to neither support the buyer or the seller of trades. The tradesmen I have spoken to are charged quite a sum to be on ratedpeople - in return they are sent numbers of people looking for their services. But often they find when they call the buyer up, he has already given the job out to some other trader. Ratedpeople do not actually rate the trader themselves and often do not even have full details of where that trader is based. We learnt and ended up out of pocket as they put us in contact with a trader who took our money and did a slipshod job.
I prefer sites that let me call the traders direct. In Scotland, there are local council schemes for recommended traders. A good example is the Dundee Trusted Trader scheme.
I understand that Greenwich and
Bexley council are trying to do something similar called the Trader register.
Our latest foray online is the Problem Solved site and so far we have dealt with some good traders from there. It's possible to see reviews of the traders, to find out what services they offer and to call them direct.
If you are thinking of getting work done though, it's good to follow the council advice and get 3 quotes, make sure you get written quotes, check trader details with the relevant trade associations, get firm dates for starting/finishing work and make sure you have the name, telephone number and address of the trader. Do not pay all the money up front, and do not use anyone who comes to your door unbidden/leaflet droppers.
Fingers crossed our house doesn't fall down around us. Anyway, with this latest spell of weather, the next
DIY scheme is to turn it into a boat and float down the Thames to somewhere nice and warm.

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