Finding Cheap Builders, Plumbers, Painters and Other Tradesmen: Tips for Saving

Tradesmen often don’t come cheap, but the jobs they do can be utterly essential.

From repairing emergency plumbing leaks to building an extension on your home, we all need the assistance of a tradesman from time to time. Many dread the cost, but there are ways to find cheap builders, plumbers, car mechanics and other service providers. You just need to know what you are doing.

Here are some top tips for finding cheaper professional labour:

Compare Local Companies

There is a reason comparison sites have risen to prominence in recent years. They are an unparalleled platform for acquiring cheap deals on goods and services. Comparing tradesmen is no different. If you want the best price, you need to shop around. Everyone will offer different rates based on numerous factors.

Being able to lay those figures out and make a decision, instead of simply going to your nearest provider and accepting the fees they give you, is crucial to finding cheap builders, mechanics, painters, etc.

Industry-specific websites exist to allow you to find a tradesman in your local area, comparing their rates and reputation at the same time, similar to how you would compare car insurance. You can then make decisions based on these figures, allowing you to find the best price point for the work you need done.

Take Advantage of Referral Deals

Plenty of tradesmen offer programs such as referral deals to their customers, as a way of incentivising them to spread the word and bring in more work. These may be discounts, vouchers or lower rates.

Taking advantage of referral deals is simply about canvassing your local community — talking to friends and neighbours — about traders they’ve used in the past. It may not always be possible to find a deal, but it’s worth a shot. Speak to those in your local area and see if you can source a referral deal to lower the price of work.

Negotiate Your Position 

Unless you are a large business, looking for extensive work done, you are unlikely to be working with anyone other than a small local business comprised of a few individuals — or even just a lone trader.

Who sets their prices and fees? They do.

There is no governing authority that manages tradesmen costs. Fees for parts and materials obviously depend on how they are sourced, but labour is all down to individual discretion. The result is that prices are negotiable. Common practice is to get a quotation for work done. Following that quotation, you do have the opportunity to discuss lowering the fee. The majority of people won’t haggle and instead simply pay the asking price. But this is unnecessary.

When looking for a cheap builder, electrician, or any other type of trader, don’t be afraid to attempt price negotiations. The worst that will happen is your provider won’t budge; the best is you can get a considerable reduction in fees.

Source Supplies Yourself

As mentioned, the cost of work done will depend not only on tradesmen fees, but also supplies. But are you aware it is common practice for labour professionals to place a markup on items sourced? This is not dodgy practice and is considered to be part of industry standards, but it does increase how much you pay for your work.

However, if you were to source your own materials, you wouldn’t have to foot the bill for this markup.

Of course, in order to buy the supplies, you must know what you need. This is easier for decorating and basic build jobs, getting more complicated the larger the project or the more technical it becomes. However, if you are able, it is worth considering finding the parts or resources you need yourself and hiring a professional simply for skills and labour.

Note that, although it is common practice for tradesman to place a markup on items bought, some may overcharge. It’s always worth discussing markups to avoid high costs. 

Offer Repeat Business or Bulk Jobs

Small businesses spend money on customer acquisition. This means downtime can be expensive for them. If you can ensure regular or long-standing work, then you’ll be saving them cash by not having to seek out new clients.

This is something you can capitalise on when seeking out cheap builders and other types of traders. If you have numerous projects lined up, find labourers that can manage them all. By doing so and offering bulk work, it is likely you’ll be able to work out better terms with your service provider.

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