How to make sure you don’t hire cowboy builders

According to, “Repeating flawed work done by shoddy builders is costing homeowners £1.9bn a year.” That’s a billion, with a ‘b’. And mostly because they’re failing to do enough research on their own or falling prey to scams. How can you make sure you don’t hire cowboy builders? Here are some tips:

Do your research

  1. Ask for photos and testimonials. Don’t be afraid to contact the homeowner or building manager.
  2. Ask for full business details including registered company number and look them up on companies house.
  3. Check out their website and see what independent reviewers like Trustpilot have to say about them.
  4. Insist all work is carried out under contract and have that contract reviewed by a solicitor.
  5. Consider a construction consultancy in London like Optimal Development. They’ll have vetted tradespeople on their books that you can trust.
  6. Get a second or third quote. Never accept a quote just because it’s the cheapest.

Protect yourself

  1. Never contract anyone who arrives unannounced to say they’ve noticed a problem or is selling their services door to door. If you’re concerned about an issue, hire an independent 3rd party to confirm.
  2. Decline any request to be paid upfront for materials or paid in cash. Deposits should be via bank transfer, tracked, under contract and around 10-20% of the contract value.
  3. Don’t let a contractor rush you. Agree on a start date once all the appropriate quotes have been made and the contract is prepared.
  4. If you’re a vulnerable person, perhaps look to a friend or loved one to help you manage the project.
  5. Don’t just do a Google search for London Construction Company or London Construction Contractor and hire whoever comes up in the first result. The top few results of almost any Google search are paid ads. (Look for the black ‘ad’ box by the title.)
If you want to make sure you hire good building contractors in London, why not check out our approach. We’re happy to share our credentials and success stories so you know you’re in safe hands.