Could you spot a rogue trade? | Checkatrade
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Could you spot a rogue trade?

Are you one of the 1 in 5 people who would consider chancing it with an unverified trade? Beware! It’s not as easy as you might think to spot the cowboys from the good guys.

Perhaps surprisingly 45% of people think they could spot a cowboy from a verified trade, but with 6.7 million of us caught out by a cowboy in the last year – it might not be as easy as you think. Rogue trades are everywhere, but electrical (21%), roofing (21%), building (20%) and plumbing (20%) have been found to be the most common home improvement work affected by cowboy trades.

Here are our top four tips for keeping the cowboys at bay:

  1. Be wary of high availability: Some unverified trades will take advantage of busy periods or moments of crisis such as extreme weather. Read reviews, and ensure trades are vetted and qualified to undertake the requested work
  2. Be careful of cheap quotes: If the cost seems too good to be true, it most likely is. The cheapest quote is normally only cheaper because it’s been rushed or corners have been cut. Remember, cheap work can’t always be rectified
  3. Beware of being asked for full payment upfront: Don’t agree to making full payment in advance of work being undertaken. Get a detailed written quote that includes T&Cs and states what will be covered by the quote – and what won’t
  4. NEVER accept work from trades who ‘doorstep’: 44% of people have been doorstepped – but reputable trades will NEVER carry out this practice. Checkatrade has zero tolerance of any member found to be canvassing door-to-door. Never be pressured into having work done by someone who knocks on your door

Take a look at our guide to hiring a tradesperson for tips and advice.

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What others think of this article:


Very pleased with the service given three quotes weatherdry damp proving was excellent

Fran es

I only use checkatrade very reliable.


Good article will keep in mind when next time needing work to be done.


Very useful information . Thank you

Sue Danby

I agree with your cautions and always feel assured if I secure someone listed in your directory. Thank you for keeping it updated.


Sound advice. Thank you.


No... Everything you say avoid/beware I didn't... Hence paid for the product so "builder" could start work "straight away" came back worked for 15 minutes then disappeared, £150.00 for nothing... Constant phone calls being told variety of stories, ending in "I'll be over Friday to return your money" 5 months later, continuous calls, nothing... I now only use check a trade recommended trades...!


Very true this article... I'm one of the 1 in 5....learnt my lesson and now only go via check a trade... Foolishly paid "trade" some money as he could start right away... Everything told not to do I did.... Never again... Take heed...

Francis Itoje

I must say that I am finding Checkatrade quite useful. Keep up the good work of bringing together truly good trades men

Richard Thomson

Good reliable tradesmen invariably have full order books. Beware of traders who can start the job immediately, and do not accept reviews or recommendations from others who are not qualified in the relevant trades.

Dean littleford

never had a rogue trader but be on the ball and take heed of advice given from check a trade.


Useful information; thank you

Jenny Eustace

Went to check a trade for a plasterer and found Mike Brooke’s who did a marvellous job of work on the stairways and passaagesof a three storey house . Very likeable personality felt very comfortable with him in the house and cleared up after the work every day . Highly recommend


Very helpful, thank you!

Andrew norrie

I found this email warning very informative, although I have always followed the recommendations.

C. Amos

A useful article. Not something I had ever thought about.

William Wood

Great information can save alot of grief

Wendy Palmer-Hughes

I have used Checkatrade twice now and very careful and had two quotes I wasn’t happy with one of them but the guy that I chose LG - Symmetry went over and above he worked so very hard I would highly recommend this company. In the future I will always go to “Checkatrade” first.


I wish I read this article before. I lost huge chuck of money for nothing.

June caffyn

The small, local reg charity I work for it caught with a rogue Plumber and he made the problem in our loo worse. He would not answer our calls and gave a false address and our charity had to pay again to get a good Plumber found afterwards to fix it. I will always go to check a trade in future

Lucy Teather

I agree. No 'doorstepping' required. NEVER pay anything 'upfront'. You usually get what you pay for; There is such a thing as a 'going rate'. Thanks for your help with stopping 'rogue' traders.

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