How to Check a Tradesman is Legit

A smiling tradesman
December 7, 2023

Starting a home improvement project is an exciting journey, but it can also be daunting, especially when it comes to finding a tradesman.

There are a lot of tradesmen out there, which can make it hard to choose the right professional for you. Not only should you consider if a tradesman’s quote is within your budget, but you must also ensure that the tradesman you choose can be trusted with your vision. This is why finding a legitimate tradesman is key.

The market is teeming with skilled professionals, yet, separating the authentic professionals from the ‘dodgy’ companies can be tough, and a strategic approach is necessary.

We have taken a look at the tools and strategies you can use to check the legitimacy of a tradesman. From local council databases to online reviews and professional affiliations, checking a tradesman will provide you with the confidence to kickstart your building project with a reputable and trustworthy tradesman by your side.

Check On Your Local Council’s Website

Before you start looking deeper into tradespeople, check out your local council’s website and verify local professionals. Many councils maintain databases of registered and licensed tradesmen in the area, allowing you to confirm their legitimacy and compliance with local regulations.

You can verify a tradesman by searching the council’s website for approved traders or Trading Standards, which is a department that focuses on making sure companies abide by the law when it comes to selling services to customers.

Some local councils will have their own list of tradespeople that they have approved, whilst others might direct you to a third-party website.

A plumber fixing under the sink

Read Online Reviews

There are a lot of benefits that come with using a tradesman directory or online platform, but one advantage that really stands out is having the ability to read online reviews.

To check a tradesman is legit, immerse yourself in the world of online reviews. Platforms like Google, Yelp, Trustpilot and The Page can offer valuable insights into the experiences of previous clients. Instead of choosing a tradesman and hoping for the best, you can choose one that you know other people have been satisfied with.

It’s important to pay attention to good reviews and bad reviews, as this will give you a balanced overview of the service a tradesman is capable of providing.

Ask For References

If a tradesman is experienced, they should be able to provide references. You can ask them directly for references, and a professional tradesman should be more than happy to provide a list of previous customers.

You could contact them to inquire about their experiences, or you could read what they had to say in a testimonial or case study. A reputable tradesman should readily provide references, and the feedback you receive can be instrumental in your decision-making.

Ask For Certifications

In order to build a career as a recommended professional, tradesmen need to complete training and courses, which are proven with a certificate.

Legitimate tradesmen often possess certifications relevant to their field and trade, of which there are many. Whether it’s electrical work, plumbing or construction, consider asking about their certifications, and ask them to verify them.

This not only ensures their expertise but also indicates a commitment to professional development.

Check Companies House Registration

For tradesmen operating as a business, consider checking their Companies House registration, as this is a crucial sign that someone is working as a legit professional.

This official registry provides information on the company’s legal status, director, and financial history, offering a transparent view of its business operations. With information found on Companies House, you can determine if a tradesperson is a successful and thriving business, or if they have recently set things up and are just starting out.

A plumber fixing a radiator

TrustMark

If you see a tradesman with a TrustMark logo, it’s a sign of quality and endorsement from the government-approved scheme. TrustMark is a non-profit, government-endorsed scheme aimed at raising the standards among tradespeople in the UK.

TrustMark tradesmen undergo rigorous assessments to ensure they meet industry standards, providing you with added assurance and peace of mind.

Tradespeople backed by TrustMark have to sign up to a code of conduct and undergo background checks, to ensure they are who they say they are, and their business is legitimate. They will also undergo inspections at their place of business, and at a site where they have carried out work, to ensure standards are being met.

Buy with Confidence

Buy with Confidence is operated by Trading Standards and it identifies trustworthy businesses in the UK. Tradesmen affiliated with Buy with Confidence will have undergone thorough background checks and they must adhere to a code of conduct.

Only tradespeople who have been trading for at least six months can apply to be listed and the vetting process involves a Trading Standards officer auditing the business, background checks and financial checks. Buy with Confidence also selects previous customers at random to provide references.

Federation of Master Builders

A membership with the Federation of Master Builders is a positive sign that someone is a legit tradesman. FMB members are vetted and must adhere to strict standards, showcasing their commitment to professionalism and quality workmanship.

The FMB has a lot of vetted tradesmen as members, and although there are different levels of criteria and checks for different types of members, being part of the FMB is a good sign that someone is a trusted professional.

National Federation of Builders

Membership with the National Federation of Builders is another reputable association to consider when you are trying to find out if a tradesman is legit.

NFB members follow a code of conduct and benefit from resources that contribute to their professionalism, which highlights their dedication to the industry and their customers.

NFB members are vetted and have undergone a range of reference checks, with the aim of safeguarding clients and giving them peace of mind. With the NFB, you can search for verified tradesmen in your local area.

Trade Associations

Many tradesmen belong to a trade association group or trade body, which means that they are fully certified to offer a specific trade service.

Legitimate tradespeople usually belong to one or two established trade associations, which provides proof that they have been confirmed as being qualified, reliable and capable of providing the services that they advertise. Take the time to explore relevant trade associations linked to the specific service that you require.

Membership in these associations often signifies a commitment to industry standards and ongoing professional development.

Two tradesmen by their van

Which Trusted Trader

You can also check if a tradesman is legit by looking on White Trusted Trader, which provides verified reviews and endorsements from an independent source, giving you an insight into the service that a tradesperson can provide.

Ask About Public Liability Insurance

Though having public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, it’s something that is heavily recommended for tradesmen, and legit professionals tend to have their insurance in order. Public liability insurance protects both you and your chosen tradesman in the event of injury or property damage. It covers customers, clients and members of the public.

Despite not being a legal requirement, a lot of trade associations require tradesmen to have public liability insurance to be a member. If a tradesman has public liability insurance, it’s a good sign that they take their business seriously.

Get a Contract

Once you have selected a tradesman, it’s important to get a contract organised. Ensuring a detailed and legally binding contract is in place provides you with safety, security and guarantees of the work that’s due to commence.

A contract protects both you and your chosen tradespeople, outlining the scope of work, timelines, costs and any other important details. Without a signed contract, you will have nothing to fall back on legally should problems arise.

It’s also a great way to keep both parties working towards the same goal, as everyone knows what has been agreed and how the professional relationship will work.

Find a Tradesperson via The Page

The Page is a reliable, trusted and straightforward way of finding a tradesman. Once you have submitted an inquiry, detailing what you are looking for, The Page will pair with a personalised list of professional tradesmen, all of which will be precisely suited to your specific job requirements.

One of the main benefits of The Page is that all tradesmen undergo a rigorously vetted process, to ensure that they are experienced, legit and able to provide the services. They are personally met and their previous work is assessed to ensure a high standard of expertise and professionalism.

Not only does this streamline the process of finding a tradesman for you, but it also provides confidence and peace of mind. You can relax, knowing that the quality and reliability of the professionals has been checked.

At The Page, the focus is on providing a personalised and thorough way of connecting customers and tradesmen, with the aim of building trust and satisfaction for both parties.

In the world of home improvement, the significance of a trustworthy tradesman cannot be denied. From exploring local council databases to seeking references, certifications and online reviews, doing some research on a tradesman will equip you with a comprehensive insight into their professionalism, reliability and skill.

By choosing a tradesman with proof of legitimacy, you not only safeguard your property and investment but also ensure a smooth and confident journey toward the finished project.

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Our Promise

We started The Page because we both had terrible experiences with tradespeople in London and were adamant we would help others to avoid this.

We also know that things can go wrong sometimes, so our promise is to be here to sort things out when they do.

As a result, along with our strong relationships with all our tradespeople, we have our good deed piggy bank, which we give out at our discretion if something goes wrong.