Home Improvements Ratings
Home Improvements Standards
Garage Servicing Ratings
Garage Servicing Standards
Used Vehicle Sales Ratings
Used Vehicle Sales Standards
Repairs are effective if the problem goes away. Improvements are clear if something modern and shiny replaces what was old fashioned and worn. Maintenance is harder to judge, because there may be little to see. Boilers may work for a while even if service intervals are not respected. Roof repairs may be out of sight. So Quality may sometimes be hard to judge.
We all appreciate good service and this typically gets the highest ratings. We need businesses to be friendly and helpful in their dealings with us - and often with our family- as well as professional in "getting the job done"
When we let someone into our home we are "letting down the drawbridge" and many types of work can create dust, possible damage to decorations, or simply disruption to the family while people go to and fro. So it is important for businesses to consider how they can keep disruption to a minimum and leave things clear and tidy on completion.
It can be very hard for consumers to judge value for money and this may explain why it is often the lowest-rated element. The traditional advice is to get 3 quotes and while this might be sensible for the more expensive or complicated jobs, it is usually not realistic or practical for everyday work. So consumers may have no means to compare the price with anything else and value is therefore very subjective.
Of all 4 ratings, Value is often rated slightly less than Quality, Service and Tidy. We are all cost-conscious and the following chart shows in particular how Value ratings vary with Budget.
We all want a good deal and it is easiest to appreciate the value of quick fixes at minimal cost. As budgets increase - especially for repairs and maintenance which may be unwelcome - it becomes harder to "feel" the value. When it comes to improvements, we can appreciate the benefit of a new kitchen or loft conversion, so there may be higher ratings for value in spite of bigger budgets.
Ordering a service is very different from buying a product. For example, when you ask a plumber to come to your home to fix the boiler, you don't know what has to be done, what parts are needed or how long it will take. Neither does the plumber! But you should check whether they expect you to pay for the visit (a callout fee) and then ask for an estimate (a best guess) or a quote (a promise) before they start work. They should confirm this in writing and VAT must be included.
You may have to arrange for time off work to be at home and it may be disruptive to you and your family to have work carried out in the house, so it's important to have a clear idea of when the work will start and a reasonable idea of when it will finish (this may often be only an estimate).
When they give you their quote or estimate, they should also explain whether they expect you to pay anything before the work is finished A deposit may be reasonable if they have to order parts which can't be used elsewhere but should not be more than the value of the parts involved. Payment should otherwise be due after you are satisfied that the work has been completed as promised.
It's frustrating when appointments are missed or the dates of starting and completion are delayed. Any changes to the planned work and cost should be agreed with you and confirmed in writing, so there are no misunderstandings. So reliability matters, but it's no-one's fault when rain stops work or parts can't be found, so it's important to recognise when things are outside anyone's control, as long as you are kept informed.
When the work is finished, you should be given a receipt or invoice including any VAT. This should show the work that has been done so if you ever need to contact them with any questions or concerns, you have a clear record of what you have paid for. This should include specific mention of any parts supplied that are covered by a manufacturers guarantee, so you can show the date they were installed.
If the work is covered by a guarantee, make sure you have this in writing and keep it safety so you can find it if you have any problems at a later date. Any parts supplied may be covered by a manufacturers guarantee, so you may need to register directly with the manufacturer to have the full benefit of their cover.