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6 Tips When Selecting a Contractor

The cheapest Contractor may not always be the right Contractor.

We have all heard a horror story about a nightmare Contractor haven’t we. Botched works, hidden charges and poor Health and Safety standards. You can often see some prime examples on Rogue Traders, so how can you sort the good from the bad?

We have put some helpful tips and guidance below on some actions you can take when looking to appoint a Contractor which go above and beyond price point. Whether it be for works on your home or if you are a Contractor yourself looking to outsource work packages, these tips may just help prevent more than one headache.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but can be used to give you ideas on what questions you can ask and places you can look to learn more about the Contractors you may potentially appoint in the future.

Always follow up on references

References give you first hand information on how the Contractor performed on previous works. Although it is doubtful that a Contractor would ever give you the details of a project where things didn’t go quite to plan, it is still always worth having a conversation with some previous customers if you get the chance.

Checking Competency and Capability

Checking competency is common with Contractors to make sure they have the right skills to undertake the work safely and to the required standards. Items you may check include –

  • Relevant training and qualifications – this could be in the form of training certificates or competency card schemes like CSCS
  • Memberships to relevant trade associations – such as Gas Safe for heating engineers or NICEIC approval for Electricians
  • Experience/time within the industry (this can also be highlighted by references and reviews)

Checking reviews online

In the digital age, it has never been easier to find details about a company and learn peoples experiences. There are an abundance of sites that offer reviews, such as –

  • Social Media (Facebook and LinkedIn)
  • Google Reviews
  • Trust Pilot
  • CheckaTrade
  • FreeIndex

Always take a open view on what people have written and judge it on face value. 1 negative review in 100 doesn’t mean you should write a Contractor off, but if you find more negative than good then it may be wise to look elsewhere.

Checking Health and Safety History with the HSE

Did you know that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publish enforcement action taken against companies in the UK when they breach Health and Safety? Enforcement notices are issued when a company commits a material breach of Health and Safety that requires the HSE to issue a formal improvement or prohibition notice.

Having had enforcement action previously doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t use a Contractor, but dependant on the severity and when the notice was issued, it is advisable to follow up and enquire about the circumstances and how the Contractor plan to prevent re-occurrence.

If you have asked the Contractor to complete a tender/application process and they have failed to disclose information about enforcement where asked may also raise a red flag about the accuracy of other information provided.

Look for accreditations and awards

There are many accreditation’s and awards which showcase business achievements, health and safety and quality around today. Some of the most common include –

  • Safety Schemes In Procurement (SSIP) – e.g. CHAS, Safecontractor or Constructionline
  • ISO Systems – e.g 9001 (Quality), 14001 (Environment) or 45001 (Health and Safety – previously OHAS 18001)
  • ROSPA safety awards
  • Annual business awards (such as LLoyds Bank or Federation of Small Businesses (FSB))

Not all Contractors will apply for these as it depends on their business activities, size and client requirements, but having one of these will show that their systems will have likely been subject to monitoring and assessment.

Check insurances

Our final point is to check that a Contractor is suitably insured, such as with Public Liability or Professional Indemnity where required.

Having the correct insurance cover protects the interests of both the client and the Contractor in case of any accidental injury or damage which is caused out of the work being undertaken.

If you think you need some additional help with Health and Safety, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Orchard Compliance Solutions team on 0800 118 1674 or You can find more information on our range of services here.

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