"Let us begin."
It was back in 2012 when I was at a property investing event in London. I was asked by an attendee, "Can you recommend an ideal builder for me?"
The reason he asked me for my opinion, was due to him getting ripped off by a Cowboy builder recently, and he knew about my building work and teaching background. I must admit at the time, I was not comfortable in giving him an answer.
I know the pitfalls, and how important it is for anyone looking to find a good tradesperson, to know what they are doing from the start. So at the time, I informed him that I was not able to give him any information off the top of my head, and left it at that.
"Doing your due diligence!"
Do you remember the Cowboy Builders programme on the TV here in the UK at the time? I couldn't understand why so many people were getting ripped off. Click here and listen to a short interview Dominic Littlewood, the presenter of the Cowboy Builders program gave back in 2015.
The sad thing is, even though there have been numerous programmes on TV highlighting what Dominic said, people are still getting ripped every day. Fast forward to 2020 and click here, to see another nightmare case from Surrey County Council Trading Standards.
Due to my working background, I have seen that there is always a pattern as to why people get ripped off. It comes down to not doing their due diligence in most cases.
"Start with why?"
During the time I was at the Property Investing event, I was able to speak to the attendee who asked for a recommendation from me. I also spoke to other attendees, whom I learned had also experienced getting ripped off. They all said that they would now stop and think more, before making a decision in the future.
So what did I learn from them, you may be thinking?
I learned that we all have something in common as human beings, and that is we want to avoid pain and gain pleasure. So what does this have to do with finding your ideal building service?
Have you ever asked yourself, "Why on earth didn't I see that coming? "
"Avoidance is better than cure!"
When you think about it, doesn't everything we do, come under one of these two umbrellas, to avoid pain and gain pleasure? This is why it is so important to start with the question of why, before making decisions, that can have a major impact on your life.
We've all no doubt been there, and asked ourselves similar questions, haven't we? And yes, it is true that the best lessons can come from the most painful mistakes. But why do we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, when they can be avoided?
I've also learned that the one thing life will teach us is, there is always a price to be paid for whatever we receive. So when it comes down to choosing your ideal building work service provider, know the answers before the price is paid. "Education is only powerful when you know what to do with it!"
"Ask for answers!"
Whenever you speak to a potential service provider, always ask why you should choose them. This may seem a silly question to ask, but you would be surprised as to what people are thinking.
Back in the day when Me & Bruiser Bruce (my workmate) were sub-contractors, I was the spokesperson. I would always ask contractors why we should work for them, before making any decision.
If you are uncomfortable in asking similar questions, don't be surprised if you too may get ripped off, and do not get what you initially expected. The good thing is if the right questions are being asked, so much pain and anguish can be avoided.
"Avoid pain, gain pleasure!"
The telephone is a great resource to use if you are uncomfortable in asking a question face to face with anyone. When you use the telephone when speaking with contractors, prior to going to meet them, ask the appropriate questions. The great thing about using a telephone, you can learn a great deal about a person when having a conversation with them.
Just ask a question, and stop and listen to the answer given. It worked every time for me, and I never got ripped off once by just listening to the answer/s given. Here is an example of a conversation I have had in the past, with a potential employer.
I would be asking questions such as, "How long is the job expected to last," "What is the rate of pay," "How long have you been in business, as a Contractor," and then all of a sudden I would ask, "Are you going to rip us off?"
"Listen and learn!"
Listen to the response given. If the person seems to be evasive in answering questions, well this should be a warning sign. Have some prepared questions in front of you, so you are able to tick them off your list.
Here are a few examples, "How long has the contractor been in business," "Are they happy in supplying a contract," "How long is the work going to take?" "Can you go and see some previous work completed by them?" etc...
Follow up and make sure you check out the answers that are given. Just because someone tells you something, doesn't mean it's true. It is so easy to just get into a belief way of thinking. Belief means not knowing something.
"You have two ears and one mouth for a reason!"
So many people have said to me that the contractor sounded so nice and trustworthy and their friends have recommended someone, so they believed what they were being told. Again belief means not knowing something, so get to know.
If you have a recommendation from someone, go and speak to the contractor yourself, or get someone to do it for you. Also, go and see some of the previous work they have completed. Just because a friend has recommended someone, doesn't mean the quality will be good enough for you. Never assume anything.
There is no such thing as perfection when having work done for you. Compared to what and compared to who is the question to be asking yourself. Yes, there are required standards, but make sure that those standards are reasonable and acceptable to you.
I'm no Fraud or a psychoanalyst, but I know we all have felt pain and pleasure in one form or another. Wisdom comes from learning from life lessons in my humble opinion. I'm old school in some ways, especially when it comes down to things that seem to be too good to be true. Avoidance is better than cure, as they say.
Just because you go to a website, and it has the word trust in the description, ask yourself, "Why should I?" Yes, there may be good recommendations, endorsements, etc, but how do you know the person/s who have been recommended are for you? I'm not saying they are not trustworthy, or to avoid them, all I'm saying is it would be wise to find out for yourself.
If you don't have a plan of action in the first place, you are leaving yourself open to experiencing some form of pain. It may sound ridiculous, but make sure when you employ someone, you both know what needs to be done.
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!"
Let me tell you something. Even with a plan of action and a drawing in hand, make sure you and the contractor know exactly what is expected before starting the work. Understand what is represented on the drawing, by sitting down with the contractor and going over it together. If you don't know ask, or you may not know the answer until it is too late.
Get a Free copy of my book by clicking here How To Win When Dealing With Builders It is filled with fun-packed, real-life stories, that will amuse and educate you. I am also personally here to be of to help you, so please contact me anytime.