Finding a trusted trader to carry out work

How do you go about finding and choosing a tradesperson to do work in your property? Like when the washing machine breaks down, or if you need an electrician, painter or a plumber?

None of us has the time to get multiple quotes for small jobs - and what trader is happy to come and price a small job knowing they are only being used for price comparison?

Do you have a place you turn to for advice or suggestions?

Are you more likely to trust a rating system that creates an index for you to search - like the dedicated ‘trust a trader’ services? Or do you rely on word of mouth and recommendations only by friends?

How important are supposedly objective rankings and ratings over personal experience?

Or maybe you still “let your fingers do the walking”? Does anyone else remember these adverts? Imagine explaining the Yellow Pages to your teenagers today!

“It’s like Google, but printed out on yellow paper - that went soggy when they left it on our doorstep”

I just ask my friends. It’s the only way you are going to get opinions from people that have nothing to gain by lying to you.


thanks @daedal - I completely agree, if possible

as a community professional, I’ve been wondering how that scales in our more complex, more distant, and digitally connected world

our needs have become broader (my parents would not have needed anyone to install or fix solar panels for example), and our friends are probably more spread out than they were in the past. If your friendship network is largely work-based, as it is for many of us these days, instead of being our ‘town’, then it is spread over a large area. What if you need a local plumber?

What got me thinking about this is that I have some trees in my garden I need to get rid of. They’re on the boundary, so I have to negotiate with my neighbours and manage to get quotes for an arboriculturalist (tree surgeon). I don’t have any friends with experience of this locally. Where do I turn?

I am torn between asking on a local forum where I can get some answers, but I don’t know if there is an agenda (promoting their own business for example) or they are genuine comments, of whether to simply rely on Google.

yeah it’s such a pain when you need someone and find the right person that you can trust will do his/her best.
I found the website good enough o give you a fair good rate and getting a person as quick as possible without ringing tons of people.
Kinda the Uber of the Trader! But much much more could be done in this space.

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Many years ago I got ripped off by two local repair services and so I’ve been very adversed to using local repairmen ever since. Nowadays, I take out the extended guarantee for major or essential appliances like my washer-dryer (prone to multiple breakdowns during its life cycle) and my cooker (the extended guarantee is actually very cheap). I’ve had my money’s worth out of both policies.

I have used services like “Check-a-trade” but you have to do a lot of cross-checks. The problem with the feedback systems on this type of site is they disincentive customers from giving completely honest constructive criticism or negative feedback.

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How do they do that? (I’ve never used them)

Many (but not all of them) enable the trader to know which job (and therefore which customer) gave the feedback. If a customer has been made to feel uncomfortable in their own home because of the behaviour of a trader, or a vulnerable customer has been ripped off by “extra charges” or substandard work, it’s understandable they might prefer to give anonymous feedback.

Interesting, I would tend to rely on my legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act - rather than get an extended warranty - which can cover you for up to 6 years depending on what the item is.

I feel that not enough people know what their statutory rights are in the UK.

I would (personally) tend to agree with you. If you have many items, and are not careful, you might find that for the price of all your warranties / cover you could replace one of the items every year.

As consumers, we really must insist on items being fit for purpose and to last reasonable times. It is not just an issue of cost, but environmental impact as well - we shouldn’t really be junking machines on a regular basis - what a waste! While many manufacturers are improving their ‘circularity’ it would be nice if the initial period was more than just a few years.

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I’ve found that the review system is seriously twisted. Even if the reviews ARE correct when left, they tend to create a ‘‘no need to do much to get the jobs’’ mentality, and you end up recruiting people who MAY have been decent a year or two ago, but are just living on that now. And yes, bitter as talking from repeated experience.

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