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  • Refurbish/Develop

    How to source reasonably priced tradesmen?

    Hello all,

    I'm currently getting my B2L apartment painted, electrics service, boiler repaired etc and I'm struck by the cost of tradesmen now. I'm sure it is significantly more expensive than it used to be. For example an electrician charged me more or less £500 to replace an infa red sensor for some automatic lights, replace a few spot lights, replace control panel for the main lighting (not including parts). Another quoted me £1,138.32 for 90sqm of emulsion and a few square foot of plaster boarding. Admittedly I found the electrician on Checkatrade which is the laziest way possible of sourcing a tradesman.

    I will have more work to do in the future with a new property I am purchasing. Can anyone recommend any way or sourcing reasonably priced, good quality tradesmen? I have heard that local landlord's associations can provide ways of sourcing local tradesmen through their forums etc. Has anyone else tried this? Lets say you where buying a property in an area you weren't really that familiar with and you wanted to renovate/do some work on a property and you didn't know any tradesmen in the area. What would be your first step in finding them?

    Thanks

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    Offer a local letting agent the opportunity to find tenants for you and maybe manage it for you if you want to be hands off.

    He will have a full list of decorators, sparkies, carpenters, gas fitters, gardeners etc that he trusts and uses.

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    Best way is to ask around your neighbors if they know anyone. Or if you see building going on locally ask them. Once you find a good plumber, electrician etc they tend to have a mate who can do things. A lot will pass on jobs to their friends, this way you build up a collection of tradesman who you can call on to do jobs. Usual costs today depending upon where you are £ 150-250 per day for plumbers, electricians. Plastering £250-350 or charge by the sq meter. Painting £150-250 depending on how much preparation is needed. Carpenters £150 -250. These are what I pay in London generally. Do have some that work a bit cheaper when not much work around.

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    Unless you are going for really high end finish, a local handyman should be able to do most of the work for a lower cost.

    of course gas and electricity need specialists.

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    You need to spend a bit of time finding your own tradespeople, and building up the list. Best to put feelers out and ask around. Word of mouth recommendations are usually good.

    Steer clear of allowing LAs to find tradespeople. They have their favourites who are blooming expensive. They see it as a licence, and will charge a small fortune to be called out and do a trivial 15 minute job. You can't refuse to pay because by the time you find they've been called out, the money has already been docked off your rent.

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    Go onto the local community Facebook pages and ask for recommendations. Cross check those that have landlines, web pages ring them ask for copies of the their liability insurance. A decent handyman is worth their weight in gold and will do the small jobs most trades won't come out to do and if they cant do the job they'll know someone who can.

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    It's a difficult one. Another vote for avoiding letting your letting agent arrange repairs, they have no incentive whatsoever to arrange repairs at fair prices, regardless of what their blurb might say. In my case the opposite is true, as they secretly add 30% to the cost of all works carried out.

    Unless you know people locally it's probably going to be a case of advertising your job on one of the sites where builders pay to quote for jobs. It's pot luck, regardless of what their reviews say. I had a builder re render part of a wall but his work blocked a drain. He promised to go back but never did. I found a Polish guy who did some electrical work at a fair price and can turn his hand to other things, and has friends, also reasonable, that cover other trades.


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