How to Avoid the Cowboy Builders
September 10, 2021

When you are investing in an extension or conversion on your property, you will want to make sure that the work you have carried out and the materials used to build it are of the highest standard.  

You may think that every builder is trustworthy and can do what they say they can do for you; however, this is not always the case. So-called “cowboy builders”, as they are known, are builders who promise to complete work on your house to a high standard, only to deliver the complete opposite.  

Cowboy builders will often leave the work they have been paid for unfinished or even dangerous, and you are more likely to pay a higher premium for it.  

So, the question is, if they look like a reputable builder and they act like one, how do you avoid being caught up by a cowboy builder? Here are some of our top tips to help you.  

Get plenty of quotes 

When it comes to pricing, the only way you know that what you will be paying Is around the right figure is to compare several quotes from different builders. Of course, the cheapest one is often the most tempting, but it might be the best idea to stick to somewhere in the middle to protect yourself and your property.  

Ask for confirmation on what you are paying for 

Within a quote, it should be obvious what is included; if there are any grey areas, you should query them as this could be an issue further down the line—having a clear idea of what your cost includes can really help to ensure that you don’t get stung for a much higher bill in the end.  

Always sign a contract 

It is incredibly important to ensure that you get a contract drawn up between you and the builder; that way, you can be sure that you are getting what has been promised. This should be treated as a legal document, and you both should be signing it in agreement.  

When in doubt, be suspicious 

It may feel awkward being suspicious, but sometimes your gut feeling is the best thing that you have to protect you. If you don’t think that something is right or want to look at it in more detail, do it. A good quality builder will understand that you want to protect your investment and your property and will not take offence that you want to further check their credentials and qualifications. 

Seek recommendations and reviews 

There is a good chance that you will know someone who has needed to use a builder before, and there is also an equally good chance that the builder you hire will be a local one. This means that you can try to protect yourself is to ask for recommendations or reviews on your builder of choice.  

As you can see, there are lots of things that you can do to make sure that you avoid being caught in the trap of cowboy builders. The main thing to do is to ask plenty of questions and trust your own gut instinct; in most cases, it will turn out to be right.