Professional Tips on How to Avoid a Dodgy Tradesman

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There are times in life when you’ll need to call a tradesman because the job you have requires certain skills or it’s too time consuming. Many people like to find a local tradesman they can trust and call on again when necessary. So, how do you find a tradesman you can rely on? Here are some tips that have come from inside the industry on how to spot someone you shouldn’t trust.

Asking for Money Upfront

You wouldn’t pay for a service before receiving it in any other industry, so why would you do it with a tradesman. All trustworthy tradesmen agree that if someone is asking you for money upfront, you need to be suspicious. Even if the tradesman needs to buy materials, someone running a good business will purchase the materials first, then do the job, then ask for payment. Never pay for any job in full until it has been completed and you’re happy with the outcome. You should also avoid paying a tradesman in cash. Get an invoice and get a receipt every time.


Word of mouth isn’t as safe as it used to be. Many people will recommend family members or friends without really knowing how high their standard of work is. Any good tradesman will be willing to give you contact details of previous clients who can tell you about the work they completed. Here are some questions you should ask:

  •         Was the tradesman always on time?
  •         Was the job finished on time?
  •         Was the job completed well?
  •         Did they pay the amount the tradesman quoted in the beginning?
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It’s also worth asking your tradesman if they can provide proof of their insurance. A quality tradesman will always be insured.

Get a Written Agreement

Asking tradesmen about written agreements will often scare the dodgy ones off. A dodgy tradesman will never put anything in writing because it means he/she would have to be true to their word. Before getting any big jobs done on your property, put everything you need in writing and ask your tradesman to sign. Take a look at how TPM Builders work. Having your requirements down in writing will ensure you have a form of contract between you and you’re safe if the work isn’t completed or there’s an argument as to what was agreed upon.


It goes without saying that all tradesmen should be sufficiently qualified, but how often do you ask to see certificates? If someone advertises himself as a builder, most people wouldn’t think to question it until bad work is done. Make sure any tradesman you hire can provide proof of qualifications and show you proof of being a member of the relevant bodies.

Hiring a tradesman can always be a bit of a risk, but if you’re cautious, you should be able to spot signs of dodgy work. If you become suspicious of anything while a job is being carried out, ask the tradesman to stop until you’ve clarified the problem. It often becomes more expensive for a good tradesman to undo a dodgy tradesman’s work.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.