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28th January 2021


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Tradesmen be warned - mind your Ps and Qs

It's time for tradesmen to put down their tools and pick up an etiquette book, as a nationwide survey by the Electrical Contactors' Association has revealed that good manners are top of the list for householders picking a tradesman.

A massive 78% of homeowners said that after a good price and strong reputation, a polite tradesman would get their vote. Not only that, but it's time to get out the starch, car wax and Sunday Best, as clean clothes (56%), a smart van (28%) and a smart uniform (26%) were also highly valued.

Continuing with the aesthetics theme, tradesmen with a nice smile (17%) and clean shoes (10%) were also popular, while one in 10 admitted that a pleasant accent would help sway their opinion.

David Pollock, ECA Group CEO comments: "While it may be tempting to choose a tradesman because of a neat and tidy appearance and a polite personality, that doesn't necessarily mean they will do a good job. There's no substitute for hiring someone with experience who comes recommended.

"My advice is to ask friends and neighbours to recommend a spark they have used before and then get a range of quotes. Don't be tempted to hire the first person available, as a busy tradesperson is usually busy for a reason and could well be worth waiting for."

Homeowners can take assurance from the ECA's Guarantee of Work scheme, which automatically covers electrical work undertaken by ECA members. Under the scheme, which is free to anyone who employs an ECA member company to carry out work in their home costing between £250 and £50,000, workmanship is guaranteed.

The ECA has issued its 'Top 10 Tips' for householders and facilities managers who are thinking of hiring a tradesman, so if you're a contractor aiming to improve market share and/or price, it's worth taking account of them. And if you're not yet a member of the ECA , you should certainly consider joining!

The 'Top 10 Tips' are:

1. Don't just pick the first contractor you see advertised. Always investigate at least two, preferably three companies to compare costs and services.

2. Check for professional memberships. Registered members of a trade association, such as the ECA, will have had their skills independently assessed. Work carried out by a trade association member may be guaranteed, giving added security.

3. Make sure the contractor you hire is insured for any damage, death or personal injury.

4. Always meet the person who will be working on your property in person before you hire them.

5. Ask for references. A quality contractor will be more than happy to give you examples of other work they have done in the area and let you speak to previous customers.

6. Don't necessarily go with the cheapest option. Low cost does not always mean the best service.

7. Don't necessarily go with the first option available. A busy tradesman is obviously getting work for a reason so it may be worth waiting when possible.

8. Make sure the tradesman you choose can provide a detailed written quotation from the outset and explain any areas that you are confused or unsure about.

9. Ask about compliance with regulatory bodies, such as Building or Planning Control. All electricians who carry out domestic installation work should comply with Part P of the building regulations and should have documentation to this effect.

10. Use the internet for your research.
The ECA represents the interests of 3,000 member companies involved in electrical installation work. Collectively, the member companies have an annual turnover of more than £5 billion, employ over 30,000 operatives and support 8,000 apprentices in craft training. The role of the ECA is to provide a focus for the electrical industry in terms of safety, training, qualification, technological development and industry performance.

For further advice on selecting a tradesman these sites might be useful, try:

www.eca.co.uk - search for ECA registered electricians
www.competentperson.co.uk - more about Part P requirements and who is registered
www.nhic.org.uk - National Home Improvement Council

30th July 2010

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