10 Ways To Avoid Hiring A Cowboy Builder

You want to build or extend the house of your dreams, but your dreams are shattered when you pay extortionate amounts of money to a cowboy builder who shoots off without warning, leaving you in a pile of bricks. This article gives you 10 ways to avoid hiring a cowboy builder and ensuring you hire someone who can craft your ideal home.

What Is A Cowboy Builder?

A cowboy builder is a builder who will charge you for the job and then disappear without a trace or even worse, leaving half a job. In some cases they pose as a professional when they don’t know the first thing about construction.

Look out for these common signs of cowboy builders when you hire a local contractor.

#1 No Photos Or Testimonials

If you hire someone and they can’t back up the work the claimed to have partaken in previously, then it is most likely they are lying, and they haven’t taken part.

Testimonials from previous customers are vital to guessing what the quality of the work going on in your home is going to be like. Pictures show everything. If a builder can’t provide either of these he (or she) is most likely a cowboy.

5 star rating

#2 Arrives Unexpectedly

If someone knocks on your door trying to sell you something, most people slam the door straight into their face.

So if someone claiming to be a builder knocks on your door claiming he spotted something damaged with your house, the likelihood is that he is lying. Never give someone your trust if they are just making surprise appearances at your front door.

Worse case scenario – if they do convince you to take a look – ask a contractor that you have used previously or trust.

#3 Cash Only Payments

Asking to be paid before any work is done or asking for cash only payment rings alarm bells.

Any completely qualified trustworthy builder can usually pay for the materials up front so that if anything goes wrong it isn’t out of your pocket and so that they can get started straight away and efficiently, they could be being dishonest and doing this to try and avoid paying VAT.

If a builder you have hired asks for payment before any work is carried out or to supply materials then make sure you are aware of the materials they are buying and how much it’s going to cost. It is also worth asking where materials have been purchased from to avoid being the victim of stolen goods.

Most legitimate builders or contractors may ask for an initial deposit. this is usually between 10 and 20 percent of the total job value.

money passed over

#4 Not Willing To Give Details Of Their Business

If you ask about their company or business history and they cannot provide any information or are very reluctant to then the likelihood is that something is not right.

This might be because the individual you have hired may not be part of a company and is just out on his own looking for work to do half-heartedly and then move on to the next. Always make sure you have access to the company website or number or anything that can reassure you and prove that the company is legitimate and has building experience.

#5 Cheap Quotes

Overly cheap quotes is a reasonable excuse to raise alarm bells. Look around and get quotes from other companies so that you have a realistic idea of what the job cost should roughly equate too. Because if something sounds too good to be true, you should always be cautious and do your research, and they could be so inexperienced that they don’t actually know the accurate figures of what your job costs.

#6 Wants To Start ASAP

Eager starts could be the sign of a builder who just wants to get the job done and enjoys his job, but it could also be the sign of an eager cowboy builder who wants to get in, get the money and then disappear.

Cowboy builders are known for doing a lot of work in one area then packing up and just disappearing without a trace; they are almost impossible to find. And they often leave a trail of destruction behind them, so make sure you set an agreeable date that isn’t too soon but not too prolonged.

#7 Reluctant To Sign Any Contract Or Binding Papers

The purpose of a contract is to lay both the customer and employer’s expectations on the table and is signed to show that they both agree to everything written on the document.

If someone you are hiring to work on your home is reluctant to sign any contracts or binding paperwork it shows that they are not willing to be dedicated and are not willing to sign an agreement with you.

Do not go through with any building work under any circumstances with a builder who is not prepared to sign a binding contract with you as they are not going to stick to your agreements or be dedicated to completing the work on your home.

signing contract

#8 Finds New Work

Like I said before, an experienced professional builder would never turn up at your door saying they spotted an issue with your home and offer to fix it.

So if you’ve hired someone and they are suddenly finding a lot of issues with your house, ask them to explain the problems and how they can be repaired. If it starts to build up a higher cost than your original budget then something isn’t right, if you are constantly being approached with issues and the offer to repair them – for a fee, then this is an easy way for a cowboy to significantly stretch your budget while staying under the radar.

#9 Doesn’t Charge VAT

New businesses may not have to pay VAT if they are a small independent business, or if they have just started up but it depends on how much work they do in that year.

If they should be registered, they could be avoiding paying it to save money, and they are breaking the law and being dishonest.

#10 Poor Time Keeping

Poor timekeeping is an undesired quality of any individual in any occupation. If your builder has awful time keeping and is constantly darting off for ’10 minutes’ then not returning for another three hours, or knocking the day off early then, you have to think to yourself. Is this the warning signs of a regular occurrence and that someday soon they just aren’t going to return from their lunch break, leaving you with half finished home extensions

watch ticking

Clarkson Builders offer fully licensed builders in Newport Pagnell as well as friendly workmanship and reasonable prices.

Put your new knowledge to use using these valid and helpful tips, and keep cowboy builders at bay!