Help & advice

How do I find good trades for my project?

Our top 5 tips for finding the right trades for your bathroom renovation project. Whether you are looking for a general building contractor or intend to hire and project manage all the individual trades like fitters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers, and decorators, follow these steps and set your project up for success.

1. Unlock the best trades through trusted local recommendations!

Getting recommendations from people you know and trust is THE most reliable way of finding quality trades. Ask local friends and family if there is anyone they would recommend. If you're new to the area, find local community forums, Facebook and Whatsapp groups to ask for recommendations.

Hiring local trades has practical advantages, knowing the area, suppliers, and regulations, while minimising commuting time. Beyond the practicalities, their vested interest in preserving a local reputation means there will be a higher likelihood of a job well done.

When someone recommends a trade, ask questions and dig into the details. Ask about the quality of the work, communication, collaboration, planning, and issue resolution. Work out their willingness to have regular progress updates, what their preferred communication methods are (WhatsApp, phone calls etc.), and how approachable they are.

2. Use the internet to find and verify your shortlist

Whether you are starting your search from scratch trying to find a shortlist of trades, or you have some recommendations as a starting point, a Google search or two is essential to find and vet your short list of trades.

Trade finder platforms that are a great place to start:

Make sure you pick one that independently vets every trade listed and reviews them annually to ensure they maintain appropriate standards.

When assessing a builder's suitability for your bathroom renovation project, check they have good knowledge of the building regulations around bathroom installations and ensure they can demonstrate a good understanding of the type of bathroom work you are undertaking, and have carried out similar projects in the past.

Before you talk to an architect, designer or tradesperson, note down what is important to you and think about what you can do in the process that can help reduce waste, emissions, and money. For example recycling your bathroom fixtures, using only wood from sustainable sources, heat and water recycling options, insulation, improving heating and ventilation. Ask questions!

Check out trades own websites to get an idea of who they are and the work they do. Remember, a simple website doesn't reflect their expertise; many quality trades rely on word of mouth rather than flashy sites.

Try and find customer reviews and testimonials and before you finalise your shortlist, take a look at their Companies House records for legitimacy and financial health.

3. Prepare a brief

Any renovation project is an investment of your hard earned money. Ensure your renovation project starts on the right foot by crafting a detailed brief before contacting your shortlisted trades to create a shared understanding of the work involved – this is where Reno comes in!

You don't have to know every minor detail up front, but capturing what you do already know, and what you don't yet, is helpful and will help you avoid mistakes that generate unnecessary waste. Think about things like your style preferences, furniture, fixtures, and layout. Specify what you want your trades to include in their quotes and identify any aspects you'll handle yourself.

Plan ahead on how you want waste to be managed.

  • Waste is created as a result of demolition and ordering too much or the wrong thing. Carefully measure what you need and look for buy back / longer period returns just in case

  • Request packaging be taken back on delivery, and look for recycling, reclamation yards and resale or reuse opportunities locally for anything that's left

  • If using a waste removal company, or a skip organised through your trade, make sure they provide a duty of care certificate or waste transfer note. This serves as legal proof that the business or owner disposes of their waste legally and responsibly. They will have an "environment agency" registration number

The shared understanding the brief creates ensures quotes are as accurate as possible and comparable across your shortlist. In turn the brief sets the foundation for a successful project, fostering transparency and effective management of inevitable changes during the project.

4. Get 3 quotes

When gathering quotes from your shortlist, aim for three. You won't always get a quote from everyone you ask, so asking four should ensure you get sufficient responses.

So that you can compare them, request a detailed breakdown of costs, broken down between materials and labour, and clarify whether the costs are inclusive or exclusive of VAT.

This is also a good time to ask about availability and potential start dates. Beware of immediate availability, as good trades typically have pre–booked projects ahead of their current job.

When assessing the quotes, pay attention to the quality of the quote itself considering detail, alignment with your brief, and clarity. This is your first insight into their communication style which is crucial for project success alongside expertise and craftsmanship.

5. Talk to previous customers and visit previous and current projects

Good trades have satisfied customers willing to recommend and showcase their beautifully renovated bathrooms to potential customers!

Even if the trade came from a personal recommendation, visiting previous projects is crucial as expectations and quality standards vary. Judge for yourself to ensure the quality of work aligns with your preferences.

When speaking to past customers, inquire not only about workmanship but also service quality and how they found working with them day to day. Assess communication, collaboration, approachability, and issue resolution.

Finally, ask about "the crew" – arrange to visit them at a current project or if that's not possible find some other way to meet the people that will be actually doing the work for you. Often with bigger firms running multiple projects, the senior experienced person that you agreed the project with won't be the person on site doing the work. You'll likely be sharing your home with these people for days / weeks / months, it makes sense to meet them and know what you're signing up for!

Reno today

The current Reno app

Reno, our home renovation app, is the missing link between Pinterest and Checkatrade.

Starting with kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, we've built our renovation design and planning tool to guide you through key decisions, from big ones like layout to little ones like how to edge your tiles. We turn this into a neat, sharable brief that homeowners and trades can use for more realistic quotes.

Best of all, you can try it for free for one room.

Reno tomorrow

The Reno wishlist

We've got big plans! You can see where we're going on our product roadmap, and see what's new on Instagram. Our top priorities:

Support for more room types

Full renovation process including payments and maintenance

Tools to discuss and track changes

Automatic estimates, shopping lists and invoices

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