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Protect your money with guaranteed* trades

Making sure any home improvement projects we pay for are done well and don't cost us more in the long term is key.

It’s no secret the cost of living is rising. However, the need to improve our homes hasn’t gone away. If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s how valuable our homes are. Creating an extra room with an extension, turning a spare room into a gym or home office, or revitalising our outdoor space with a new garden design are all tempting projects.

A shoddy job can cost you way more than the price of a job well done.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a guarantee* in place to help you should you need it if your project doesn’t go to plan?

There is. Keep reading!

Protect your money with guaranteed* trades

Pest control company

Money is tight so your budget needs to be airtight. Consequently, any tradesperson you work with needs to be a safe bet and well worth investing your hard-earned savings into.

Let’s set the scene

You’ve saved up £37k or more for a new side extension on your terraced house. You then go through the rigmarole of sorting out party wall surveyors, learning what your local planning restrictions are, and reassuring yourself a side extension falls under permitted development.

After that, you’ve managed to find a contractor who agreed to build your project. You part with money and it’s not long until you realise you’ve hired a rogue tradesperson. Sadly, they’ve massively underdelivered and overcharged.

What’s worse is that you’ve run out of money to fix the issues your rogue tradesperson created and now they’re nowhere to be seen.

We’d like to say this is a made-up horror story, but sadly, over 6.7 million Brits have befallen rogue traders in the last year. Read our guide for how to spot the cowboys.

How to protect your money before starting a project

Separate the cowboys from the trusted professionals

One way to scare off a cowboy is to talk about a contract. This holds them accountable, legally and financially, so if they try to brush off the need for a contract or smooth-talk their way out of signing one, run a mile.

Figure out a realistic work plan

  • Break down the work you’re looking to have completed and work out a realistic and appropriate work plan. It might be worth getting advice from an expert at this point to help with project management
  • Make sure you know what you want to spend and set a realistic budget. And don’t forget to factor in the rising costs of materials. Prices might go up because of supply issues
  • Finally, be specific about the work you require and add what types of material, colours, or finishes you’re hoping for in your brief

Gather several quotes and compare testimonies

Checkatrade trades

We advise requesting around 3-4 quotes as soon as you’ve written down your work plan and brief.

Before you commit to a contractor, check their references and reviews, and speak to any friends or family who may have worked with them before.

Alternatively, hire a Checkatrade tradesperson, who’s checked by us and guaranteed* for the rare times issues can’t be resolved between you.

You’ll only find trades who meet our high standards and pass our quality checks on Checkatrade.

Make sure both parties have a written contract

Contracts protect you and the tradespeople you hire. They’re also vital in the unfortunate event something goes wrong.

At the very minimum, a contract should include the costs, expected timescales for each stage of the project, and information about how potential disputes will be dealt with.

Understand and agree to costs upfront

Depending on your home improvement project, you may be asked for a deposit.

Tradespeople may ask for this to lock in your project into their schedule, and then go and source your materials or machinery for the job.

When paying a deposit, consider these steps:

  1. Before you pay any deposit, make sure the deposit amount is specified in your contract
  2. If you are paying for materials, consider contacting the manufacturer/seller of materials directly
  3. Do not pay a deposit over 10% of the project value, and only pay for defined materials
  4. Ask for the materials to be sent directly to your address, with an obligation to pay the trade for the materials as soon as you receive them
  5. If a trade puts pressure on you, please take a look at alternatives on Checkatrade. If the trade is a Checkatrade member, please report the trade to our complaints team

Finally, never pay your deposit with cash. Cash payments are untraceable, which means you have no evidence of that payment being made.

Always print any invoice from the tradesperson and store any written agreement, which clearly states how much deposit you paid, and when.

Ask if your tradesperson is part of a trade association

There are lots of trade associations out there that offer a broad spectrum of guarantees, including workmanship warranties, financial protection schemes, compliance assurances and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Trade body guarantees tend to cover you for a long period, sometimes up to 10 years depending on the trade. It’s always worth asking if your tradesperson is part of a trade body relevant to their industry.

Take a look at the trade associations Checkatrade are partnered with to find out more.

Benefits of Checkatrade’s guarantee*

It’s rare for something to go wrong when you use a Checkatrade member, but if it does, then Checkatrade will help towards making it right. Contact the trade through Checkatrade and your job will be guaranteed if something does go wrong.

Our 12-month guarantee is free and covers you in the event of sub-standard work. There are no excess or hidden charges, and it comes as standard when you use one of our members. Rest easy knowing your job is guaranteed and if eligible, you can claim up to £1,000*.

*Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply

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