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Avoiding The Cowboys

Making sure that you avoid wasting your money.

With materials prices rising all of time, ensuring that they are properly installed is becoming more and more important. Please read through these notes carefully as a few minites spent here could save you thousands of pounds and a lot of stress.

Choosing the right contactor and avoiding the cowboys

Here are a few tips that you can use when you are selecting a contractor.

  • Visit jobs that they have completed, don't just look at photographs or take the fact that they have offered references to you, the companies and individuals that aim to rip you off will have an excellent story.
  • Some contractors have built display areas so that you can visit at a time that suits you, this is a great way of checking out workmanship without the need for visiting strangers..
  • Make sure that you check out the public liability cover that they have, ask to see the certificate.
  • Be very cautious if the contractor offers you a cash price, you will have no receipt and no protection, and you already know that the contractors is happy to break the rules.
  • Look for contractors that are members of trade associations but don't assume that this is always the route to a good contractor. Schemes that regularly accsess workmanship are better.
  • Make sure that you request a written quotation, this should detail every aspect of the work and how it will be carried out, compare this specification to other quotes that you receive.
  • Ask lots of questions about how long it will take and what materials are required, this will help you to understand how carefully they have calculated your quote, a well prepared contractor will be happy to share that information with you.
  • Trust your instinct, if it looks to good to be true it probably is and if they are not happy to answer your questions they probably don't know the answer.
  • Read through the terms of the guarantee, ask to speak to customers that have experienced problems and have had them rectified, a good contractor will happily tell you.
  • Always accept the quotation in writing or by email, refer to the quotation and the sketch/drawing. Standard contracts are available from Marshalls and BALI.


Payment Terms

Most established contractors will only ask for a small deposit and then payment on satisfactory completion of the project, this ensures that the contractor is always motivated to complete you project properly.

Is your contractor financially secure

In the current climate its important to know if your contractor is financially secure, membership of a trade body like BALI will mean that company accounts have been checked but if you are carrying out a large project and making some substantial stage payments I would advise you to run a financial report on the contractor first.

Meet the team

Often we have invited clients to come and see us on our current job, its very important that you know who will be working at your house as they may become a part of your daily life for quite a long time, ask if the contractor is planning to use sub contractors to carry out part or all of the job.

The following gallery images show examples of the effect of a poor specification.


Click on a thumbnail to see larger image:

Driveway entrance collapsing due to lack of kerb adjacent to the pavementDriveway spreading because of insufficient edge restraintBlock paving as edge restraint installed on sand onlyKerb edge restraint moving sideways allowing the drive to spread

Many of our neighbours have commented on the quality and speed of your service, and the difference the materials and design you used has made to enhance the appearance of our property.

Mr Williams, Dale House Lane, Kenilworth

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176 Kenilworth Road, Balsall Common, Coventry, CV7 7EW, Tel 01676 535 675
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