Don’t use the big national companies.
A word of warning for anyone about to Google a tradesman online:
I am regularly called by customers seeking a quotation for work who will often respond with "Company X is only quoting £x"
The quote they have received is ludicrously low in order to lure them in. The catch is, which they won't disclose is that the quote is to turn up at your doorstep before any work commences. This means they charge you £x to turn up and then start piling on extras plus VAT.
What initially seems like bargain of the century soon turns into a full scale robbery as these companies charge through the nose for unnecessary parts and work.
Why would they do this though?
Most operate on a percentage cut between tradesman and call centre. So generally the tradesman is getting a 40-50% cut of the whole job. It is therefore in their best interest to bump up the total bill as much as possible.
Want to avoid being ripped off by these types of firms?
The majority of good local tradesman do not have the astronomical budget to consistently appear in the top 4 advertisements on your google search (labelled 'Ad' next to the link). This space is almost always occupied by these types of firms looking to prey on you and will usually have headlines advertising their super low prices.
Try as I might to explain this to some of the people calling me, I just can't save everyone. I get so many people calling me back up asking for my advice when they have been swindled and it makes me sick.
Three tips to sort the genuine local tradesmen from the crooks:
- Be wary about giving out card details upfront. Unless it's an out of hours call out this should arouse suspicion.
- Quiz your tradesman about your location/directions. A genuine local firm will have no issues whereas a sub contractor from who knows where will struggle.
- Never sign anything if you're unhappy and DO NOT PAY if you have been misled on cost. As a consumer you have a 14 day cooling off period unless otherwise agreed.
I hope this is of use to some of you and helps you avoid being the next victim of these scamming firms.
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