The story of the dodgy builder is something that you or someone you know may hear at least once in your lifetime. Dodgy builders or as I like to call them cowboy builders are all over. They bring shame to the construction industry and are responsible for thousands of complaints and customer losses each year.

When I say cowboy builders I mean scam artists that claim to be skilled at their trade yet know nothing. Such scammers are the type to build you a leaky roof and bill you for it. In my years of working in the construction industry, I have identified some telltale signs that you can use to identify a rogue builder, and I’m going to share them with you.

> How to identify a cowboy builder

– Cutting corners

Many of these people like to operate off the books. They ask you to pay cash upfront so that they don’t charge you for VAT. Now if you are greedy or keen to cut corners you may fall into this trap hoping to save some money. Bad Idea! They almost always end up doing shoddy work leaving you with egg on your face. The worst part about this is you are an accomplice to their fraud so how can you bust them? In this way, many people lose their hard earned money to these scam artists and can do nothing about it.

– Dodgy quotations and estimates

Dodgy builders works on simplifying things for you. How can they rob you if they stress you? So their angle is always to make it seem like they are saving you time and money. While a professional builder will give you a well-outlined quote, a dodgy builder will pluck a figure out of nowhere for you.

Most of the time the quote is cheap compared to the prices of other building professionals in the market. You end up feeling like it’s such a bargain when it’s simply a con. In such a state you are likely to give them as much money as they ask upfront only to find out they are thieves later. I’ve seen people lose money through such cons and then have to hire a professional builder to set things right.

> Tips to help you choose a professional builder

If you want to avoid falling dodgy builders, there are a couple of things you can do.

– Ask for references and cross check for authenticity

– Pick professional builders that have an office where you can find them during working hours

– Take your time and gather estimates from different builders

– Pick builders that are part of a recognized association of building professionals and confirm their membership

– Make sure you get everything in writing so that if anything goes wrong, you can at least sue

In my experience, people that do their due diligence in this manner rarely fall for cowboy builders. You owe it to yourself to avoid falling for the story of the dodgy builder. Follow my advice, and you won’t have to fall into their trap.

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