Do your home-improvement-work

June 28, 2018

If you are getting work done in your home, whether it’s a small job like replacing taps or getting your dream extension, there are some important things you should consider.

Get recommendations

Ask family and friends to recommend people they have used and don’t be shy about asking someone you are thinking of hiring for references. Contact the referees and ask about reliability, standard of work and whether they stayed within budget.

Try and use companies or individuals that have a well-established track record and are registered with the Companies Registration Office or are a member of a trade association. You can also check social media and online forums for information but remember that some reviews may not be genuine.

Before any work begins it’s vital that you check they have valid public liability insurance and check what is covered under your own home insurance policy in case anything goes wrong.

Quotes and contracts

Look for a quote instead of an estimate. An estimate is an educated guess with no legal standing whereas a written quote is binding as long as you don’t make changes to the work. Look for as much detail as possible in the quote with a breakdown of the costs and VAT included.

Try to get a number of quotes but remember that the cheapest option is not automatically the best as things like standard of work and quality of materials that the tradesperson uses are important too.

Always use a contract for significant work as this protects you but make sure you read it carefully first, and that includes all the small print. If it is a large project like a renovation, conversion or extension it may be worth hiring an architect to draw up plans and verify the work has been done to a satisfactory standard before you hand over any money.


You should avoid paying with cash as this can’t be traced. Use debit or credit cards, cheques, bank drafts or pay through your online bank account as these can all be verified. Make sure you get a receipt.

If you are paying a deposit ask if it is refundable and if there are any terms and conditions you should know about before you hand over your money.

Agree a payment schedule at the start that details the amount to be paid at each stage, the work to be done and the total number of payments. An upfront payment may be required if they need to buy a large amount of materials.

Know your rights if things go wrong

When you hire a tradesperson you are buying a service and have certain consumer rights.

If things don’t turn out as planned check your contract and see where you stand. If the tradesperson did not provide the proper service, used faulty or inappropriate materials or didn’t complete the job as agreed try and get them to fix the issue first.

If they refuse to complete the work properly or to give you a refund or price reduction you can take legal action. The small claims procedure can be used for claims less than €2,000. For claims over this amount you can take further legal action but you may want to consult a solicitor.


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