I seem to know a lot of people who are currently either in the throes of home improvement or they’re planning some – kitchen extensions, loft extensions, new windows, new flooring. It’s exciting to see the changes they’re making to their homes and it always gets me dreaming about what we could do to our own home. Lots of houses on our street have a loft extension, and it’s something we might consider in the future.
But when it comes to finding companies to carry out the work you need, it can be tricky to know which local people are good – everyone has heard a horror story of home improvements gone wrong! Here’s what I do, whenever we’re looking to have some work done on the house….
1. Ask around your friends
This is honestly my top tip – if you have local friends, ask them who they use. They’re only going to recommend someone they were really happy with, and you often get little details from them like “They were really good at cleaning up after themselves.”
2. Join a local Facebook group
Many areas have a local Facebook group, which is often used for buying and selling second-hand items but also for sharing local knowledge – good places to eat out, fun places to take the kids, and great local businesses and tradesmen. If you ask for recommendations, you’ll often come away with loads of options to look into.
3. Use a recommendation site
There are dedicated sites, set up to help us find local companies and people to carry out our home improvements. Trust A Trader is one I’ve used before – be careful when you’re using it that the reviews relate to the actual person or firm that you’re looking into, and not an ‘umbrella company’, based miles away.
4. Check TrustMark
This is a government backed not-for-profit scheme – It is a quality mark which operates a framework under which 30 plus scheme operators work in the repair, maintenance and improvement sector, including trade associations, local government trading standards teams, and independent scheme operators.
5. Investigate the tradesman thoroughly
Once you have a shortlist, make a list of questions to ask each one. Get them round to your home for a detailed quote, make sure they have the correct licences, ask them how long they’ve been in business for and ask for references from previous customers.
This post has been written in collaboration with Dolphin and as always, all views are my own. For details on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page. Image of yellow paint: Shutterstock.