Are you too afraid to hire a builder? You’re not alone!

Hiring a builder and taking the plunge to start a home improvement project can be an incredibly daunting process. The horror stories we hear about in the media give the impression that if you hire a builder, your home may will be left in turmoil while a cowboy builder gallops into the sunset with all your money. 


If you’re under this impression, you are not alone. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) recently surveyed 2,000 home owners across the UK research and found that a third are so anxious about the possibility of choosing a bad builder, they don’t commission any building work whatsoever.

There is a significant minority of rogue traders out there giving the whole construction industry a bad name. In reality, of course, hiring a builder is not like this in most cases. It is essential that we do not brand the whole construction industry poor quality and unprofessional because of the actions of a few.  

So what can you do if you’re looking to hire a builder and don’t want to get stung by the cowboys?

This handy guide pulled together by the FMB runs through the precautions you should take to identify rogue traders and help make sure that your dream build does not turn into a nightmare.

In short, your first point of call is to ask for a recommendation from family or friends. You should then look at the building firm’s history and do some research into them.


If you can’t get a recommendation, you should use a professional trade association like the FMB, which can put them in touch with a vetted and inspected building firm. You can use our Find a Builder service to find a reliable tradesperson.

Once you have decided on your builder, make sure you don’t pay all the money up front. You should set up an agreed payment schedule and only pay the final amount when you are satisfied that all of the work that has been completed to a good standard.

One of the most crucial things you need to do before you start is to have everything in writing with a contract. Get it written down and signed – costs, scope, responsibilities, timeframe – everything!

Whatever home improvement project you have planned, we hope these basic tips, as well as our handy guide, will stop you feeling anxious about the possibility of choosing a bad builder.