7 Things to know when hiring a gardener, landscaper or tree surgeon

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▪ Check the business has Public Liability Insurance, this is important as it covers the business against accidental damage or injury to yourself and your property. Accidents happen to the best of us but adequate P.L.I keeps everybody covered. Simply ask to see the business's insurance certificate; a legitimate business owner will be happy to show it.

▪ Any business that carries waste has to be registered with the Environment Agency and therefore hold a Waste Carriers License. This is important because if any tradesman removes waste from your property and it gets fly-tipped it is not only the business that gets prosecuted but also you could too. Ask to see the certificate also you can check the public register on the Environment Agency's website HERE

▪ Ask about the businesses health and safety policy regarding the job you require doing. A legitimate business should take health and safety seriously and have effective methods in place to carry out the job as safely as possible.

▪ Research the business using Google, look for testimonials and photo's of their previous work. A lot of businesses these days have their own websites but also look for reviews on other websites too. By doing this, it will mean you will get to know a bit about the tradesman that may be carrying out the work for you.

▪ Think about what you want doing and then obtain a written quote from the business. Make sure all the work is on the quote when you receive it. Remember though, if you decide to add work on after you have received the quote the business will charge you for that as extra. It is not fair to expect the tradesman to do extra work for free.

▪ Be careful of cold calling tradesmen, sometimes these can prove to be so called "rogue traders" with none of the insurances, qualifications or expertise that a legitimate tradesman would have in place. This could very well come back on you in many ways. Not all cold callers will be "rogue" but in my experience most legitimate businesses do not cold call, and if a tradesman is busy, take it as a good sign and just book in with them. It is better to wait than to get a bad tradesman at the drop of a hat that does a poor job.

▪ This point also relates to the previous one, be wary of tradesman that demand a cash in hand payment, a legitimate business will provide you with an invoice upon completion of the job, and you will know you have provided business to a legitimate tradesman and not just someone looking to make a quick buck.