How to Identify Trusted Builders From the Cowboy Builder

How to Identify Trusted Builders From the Cowboy Builder

The subject of less than reputable builders has to be one of the oldest and most worn of recent times. Thanks to better publicity, self-publishing and TV shows like Cowboy Builders, the spotlight really is on. Finding trusted builders is almost the holy grail of every homeowner in the country, and we’re going to offer our opinion here.

Trusted Builders

Unless you know the people you’re employing, it’s difficult to tell the good from the bad. One of the things that catches people out is that cowboys are great salesmen. It’s just a shame they aren’t such good tradesmen.

If you’re planning some home renovation or an extension, it can cost quite a lot of money. We still find it surprising that customers would spend hours choosing the right coat for £100, yet simply go for the first builder they meet when spending £20,000!

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When it comes to finding trusted builders, never rely on the honesty of other people. Take recommendations by all means, word of mouth is a very effective tool, but never rely on it alone.


Ask for references, or to be taken to a previous job. Most reputable builders won’t mind you checking up on them as it is part of doing business. If you collect references, phone them. Don’t just rely on the builder’s word.

Not checking up on references and/or previous work is what many cowboys count on. They provide the illusion of legitimacy by offering a raft of references knowing full well the majority of clients won’t check them.

Trade Bodies

Being a member of a trade body isn’t a guarantee that things will go well, but it is an indicator. Much like references, if you’re getting a quote from a builder, check they actually are a member of the body they say they are. Contacting the body about a builder helps you by giving you confidence and it helps the trade bodies by allowing them to weed out those who pretend to be a member.


Even if the work is for a few hundred pounds, you still need a contract. Most trusted builders will want you to have one as it protects them too. A contract works both ways. It shows both parties what is expected of them. A fixed schedule of work for a fixed amount of money. There may be slippage in either of these, but you both have a base from which to work.

Any builder who doesn’t want a contract, doesn’t deserve your money. My London Builders won’t do anything without one.


Most trusted builders will not ask for complete payment up front. They may ask for a deposit to buy materials, but that should be it. You can either negotiate payment throughout the job, or at the end. This will depend on the job itself and the builder. Never pay large amounts of money up front.

Finding a trusted builder isn’t hard as long as you’re prepared to do a little legwork. Considering the investment of money can be considerable, the investment in time is far less. Consider My London Builders the next time you need work. We won’t tell you to trust us, we’ll prove you can.