Finding a builder for the bathroom

Posted on 18 June 2009 in House, Internet (No comments yet - be the first!)

As I mentioned the other day, we've just had our bathroom done. It was, I must confess, something we'd put off for some time. That and the kitchen too.

Both really needed doing when we moved in back in 2004, however we didn't have the money at the time and over the months and years we just got too used to the way everything was. Eventually I put my foot down and decided that we just had to get at least one - and preferably both - done. I decided on the bathroom as technically it should be a simpler project (well one where there was less for us to decide�)

Then the BBC announced my role was moving to Salford and that there was the option of moving up this year.

So we stopped thinking about it for a bit cos if we were going to move up north in the autumn, there was absolutely no point doing anything.

Then we decided not to go so the bathroom got back on the agenda again. We went to our local branch of the Bathstore, got a catalogue and everything�.

Eventually we decided what we wanted, saw it was in the sale and decided it was time to get cracking. Just one problem. We needed someone to do it for us.

Having never hired a builder, this was a minefield for me. I had visions of getting the kind of builder that would feature on Watchdog, leaving a disaster zone and running off with our money.

Bathstore had a list of recommended people they give out, and whilst they don't run on any financial benefit for such things, I was keen that we got some quotes from somewhere else too. But how do you find a reliable builder?

I asked a friend who had recently had her bathroom done who she'd used - personal recommendations and all that - only to find that when she'd tried to get another quote from the same people they didn't respond. But she said she'd got them through ratedpeople.com.

At the risk of sounding like an advertorial, the idea is that they have a load of people on their books and ask them if they want to quote. The first three to reply to that process are then put in touch with the customer. As well as getting their details, you can read reviews of their previous work to help you decide.

And so it came to pass that we had a parade of builders in. One who had got in touch via Bathstore; the other three from ratedpeople.com.

The Bathstore bloke was the first and was very good and put us at ease, and promised us a detailed quote which came quickly in the form of an Excel spreadsheet.

Quote number two came from someone who came in, took a look around, just said it would cost about £1,200 and then ran off. He was barely in the house five minutes and his quote was a third of the first bloke which seemed an insane difference. We didn't even get anything in writing, and he was also slightly lacking in reviews (having had two). We weren't impressed.

Third bloke seemed really good and with a high attention to detail. I was really impressed and thought he'd be a good person to go with. Or would have been if he'd got round to actually sending a quote� We gave him extra time just in case he would, but it never did turn up�

Fourth people - Four Corners Builders - again seemed to put us at ease and went to great pains as well to mention that their reputation was very important to them. They also had an almost identical quote to the first people, which made choosing between them a very difficult thing to do. In the end we went with them mostly on the fact that there were plenty of reviews to suggest they were going to do a good job.

As it happened, they did a fantastic job. So that'll be another glowing review for them and another plus for the internet. Sites like ratedpeople.com are a great example of something the internet excells at - using the collective mind to help you get the best possible result.

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