5 Ways to Identify Inflated Tradesmen Costs and How to Avoid It

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Getting the best tradesman to do our building and fixing can be a tedious process, and with many tradesmen around, it can be hard to find one to do the perfect job in a pocket-friendly manner. No wonder Property reporters reveal that 13 million homeowners fear hiring a tradesman due to the rigours involved in finding a reliable one.

It has become a noticeable trend for some tradesmen to quote inflated costs while billing for a job, and this type of tradesmen should be avoided. Spotting them may not be easy, and you may have fallen into their hands at one point or the other, costing you some hard-earned money.

In this article, I’ll be sharing some tips for spotting and avoiding tradesmen who deliberately inflate costs. 

  1. Upfront Payment: When the tradesman usually requests to be paid all their charges upfront, even before starting the without any cogent explanation. Such tradesmen are already exhibiting traces of greed and should be avoided. For large scale jobs, you may be required to pay a deposit upfront, but a reliable tradesman will never ask you to pay the entire price from the outset.

 Ideally, you are to pay for segments of work as they are completed. Look out for those who try to charge a daily rate, rather than a fixed rate for the entire job as this could be an incentive for stretching the job to overrun, so you’ll have to pay extra charges. These kinds of tradesmen are phoney, and you should refuse to be deceived by their enticing words or put under pressure to make a decision on the spot.

  1. No Association Backing: Many trustworthy and professional tradesmen belong to a trade body, group or association. A tradesman belonging to a reputable trade body is likely to be more reliable than one who avoids all forms of professional associations (usually to avoid being found out). 

Although part-time or small scale tradesmen could be an exception, most tradesmen should belong to a trade body.  You could also do some background research on the tradesman through customer review websites, which can help in spotting these bad eggs easily. A tradesman quoting an inflated price to you is likely to have done the same to someone else in the past. Ask the tradesman you wish to hire if he belongs to a trade body or association. If the answer is No? Be sure to ask why not.

  1. They Refuse To Put Quotes In Writing: Before making the final decision on the tradesman to hire, you’re advised to compare several quotes from different tradesmen, and then select the one which works best for you. Don’t settle for a mere verbal assurance that your work will cost a certain price. The quotation must be a breakdown and documentation of material sourcing and labour costs, showing in detail how much will be required for the entire job. A tradesman who names his quote without a detailed outline is a big red flag. 
  2. Secrecy and Inconsistency: Tradesmen who inflate prices do not want to be found out, wishing to stay unnoticed for as long as possible. They would not reveal much information about themselves and may even avoid answering important questions. Trying as much as possible to be untraceable, they may be weary in giving you their phone number, landline or office address. You should always ask for references and the addresses or telephone numbers of those references.  Do not employ a tradesman until you have spoken to at least two people he has worked for in the past, and who gave good reviews. You should also think twice if you notice certain inconsistencies in the information they give you as regards themselves, prices and materials.
  3. Cash Only: A tradesman telling you he only accepts cash gives you enough reason to be suspicious. In most cases, a cash deal means you won’t get a receipt or contract. A lot of them have a cash-only policy just to avoid being traceable, it could also be to avoid paying VAT and other obligatory charges, and this says a lot about the moral character of the tradesperson. They are most likely trying to hide their full earnings and revenue. 

A spokesperson from HM Revenue and Customs stated “Tax evasion is an indication of a lack of honesty and integrity, so why should customers suppose that it is only HMRC that tradespeople will cheat. They, too, might find themselves short-changed…” 

Do not employ anyone you have reasons to distrust. Only employ a person who receives payment in a traceable manner i.e. by cheque or credit card, as paying in cash (in cases of assisting the tradesman to avoid taxes) could get you wound up in a tax evasion case.

How to Avoid Inflated Tradesmen Costs

Inflated tradesmen costs are easy to spot when comparing quotes with other tradesmen. If a tradesman’s price is the odd one out in the midst of other quotations, he is likely to be listing an inflated price. You can also use labour cost websites that could give you a fair idea of how much a job should cost. Labour costs websites provide an unbiased quote based on the average tradesmen costs in your country. (source: https://tradesmencosts.co.uk)


Hiring the right tradesman will save us extra costs and also guarantee quality services. Have you had any experience with an overpricing tradesman? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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