Professional home improvement begins with finding someone you trust to do the work at a high standard and acceptable price. But many consumers are being duped and ripped-off by so called rogue traders, some of whom cold call on homes offering driveway and patio installations.
As a responsible business, Marshalls want to help ensure that less people get ripped off in the future. Here are our 5 tips to avoid rogue traders when it comes to your garden and driveway.
- Be wary of a cold call
Be suspicious of a tradesperson who arrives on your doorstep looking for work or who can ‘start tomorrow’. Reputable installers do not advertise for business this way, they usually need a few weeks’ notice before they can start as not only are they busy, but they need time to plan your job and order the materials. If you receive a cold call about your garden or driveway be firm – decline their services and close the door.
- Get several quotes
Seeking several quotes for your garden or driveway project might seem time consuming but it is worthwhile. Choose the installer you are most comfortable with and one that understands your needs and remember, cheaper isn’t always best.
- Get quotes in writing
Never accept a verbal estimate for a garden or driveway project, always ask for a written quote and a contract, on headed paper with a business address and telephone number. This not only helps you budget, but it also gives you something to refer back to if the final cost is higher. Sometimes a project will end up costing more than the original quote, but a good installer should make you aware of this as the project begins, or if something unexpected is discovered during the work, and provide an updated written quote if asked. It’s always a good idea to ask for a quote to be sent on email too, as a back-up in case you lose the original.
- Do your research
If an installer hasn’t come personally recommended, head online to find out more. Thanks to Google, review sites and social media, it’s now easier than ever to find out more about an installer and the quality of their work. A quick Google of their name and details should bring up reviews of their work, and most installers will have business profiles on social media sites such as Facebook. See what people say about them and have a look at the projects they have done previously, most will have a portfolio they can share. Also, make sure they have got the right skills for your project. If there is very little about them online, ask them why. You could also ask them for details of previous contracts local to you so you can see the quality of the work yourself.
- Check the Marshalls Register
The Marshalls Register has been running since the year 2000 and we now have over 1,000 accredited independent installers listed. Register Members are not employed by Marshalls but they are vetted by our assessors and they agree to follow our installation guidelines; using someone from this list gives customers confidence and peace of mind. If an installer tells you they are a Marshalls Register Member and you’re unsure, you can check with us, or use our installer search by county to validate who they are.
We hope that by following these 5 tips you can find a professional installer who creates your dream outdoor space.