Expensive lessons learned from doing home improvements
We're having the back of our house re-rendered and roof repairs done at the same time. Here are some things I wish I knew before we started.
Get a breakdown of the work to be done
If the job quoted for is more than £1000, insist on a breakdown of what work is to be done. It is not a breach of trust to ask for something that will be of use to both parties involved.
Don't use MyBuilder, RatedPeople or similar marketplaces
The contractors who do the actual work don't have the time or money to pay for leads, so the ones on those sites usually sub-contract, or work the lead generation costs into their fees. Customers may be too intimidated to post negative reviews, so you only see good reviews. Rather try to get recommendations via word-of-mouth.
Don't use builders with sub-contractors
While it may make things easier for you in terms of having a single point of contact, you may end up paying twice what you would've paid if you dealt with each contractor separately. There's no guarantee that the builder treats his sub-contractors well, and he's probably taking most of the profit for himself.