How to Find and Keep Honest Tradesmen

by Kevin on November 10, 2009

Aren’t you tired of having to flip through the phone book (or Google) every time something breaks around the house? You never know what (namely who) you’re going to get.

Will the plumber show up on time? Will you be sitting at home all day after he misses your 8am to 12pm “window”?

Finding an Honest Plumber or Mechanic

It is common knowledge that finding a honest tradesman like a mechanic or plumber is hard to do. There are so many people who give half the effort at double the cost. Having someone you could trust would be much better, right?

The easiest way to find an honest tradesman? ASK!

Yes. Ask around. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask your co-workers.

You are bound to know someone that knows someone that knows a good mechanic (or plumber, or doctor, or…).

Don’t just ask for recommendations or names. Ask for what kind of work was performed.

Why is this important?

Well if your recommendation comes from someone that took their car to get an oil change and had a great experience… that isn’t as meaningful as the friend that had their transmission rebuilt and felt they received quality workmanship at a fair price.

Also ask how long they’ve known and/or used the tradesmen. The longer the relationship, the better.

How to Keep an Honest Tradesman

This seems like a odd question. How do you keep an honest tradesman?

Keep them in business!

I told you about the value and joy of finding a trustworthy mechanic. That’s the joy.

The worst part of finding a trustworthy mechanic? If they leave the area or close down their business due to lack of business.

How can you prevent this?

  • Become an advocate for them — share your expert with your network
  • Grab a stack of business cards and tell everyone you know about that business
  • Continue to give them your business

That’s the best part of finding a great tradesman — they’ll be there to help you out for years to come.


Megan November 10, 2009 at 8:38 am

Great points! I’d just add that the time to find a good, reliable mechanic/plumber/contractor/etc. is BEFORE you need them. I made that mistake – I didn’t ask around until my furnace broke down on a cold January evening. It was totally luck of the draw that I found “my guy” (and luckily, he’s good, too). But if I could do it over again, I’d ask my neighbors who they recommended within a month of moving in. The time to research these tradespeople is not when you need the service nownownow.

Kevin November 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Absolutely right. I should write on that, too!

Ashley November 11, 2009 at 11:24 am

I’m a big believer in spreading the word about those that offer good honest services without trying to price gouge. One of the best things you can do is to write reviews about them online. That can be on their website but also on listings they may not know they even have in various business directories.

Kevin November 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

The tough part about trying to promote them online is a.) knowing where to promote/thank them, and b.) there can be so much fraud online. I think person-to-person referrals are much more effective.

Golfing Girl November 13, 2009 at 9:01 am

Ironically, I was just sending an e-mail to a co-worker who was looking for a good tailor. While I was finding her address and phone number online, I posted a review for her as well.

I also mentioned in my referral that my auto mechanic was located near the same shopping center if he ever needed one.

I teach golf lessons but don’t sell clubs or do club repair so my students are always asking where to buy clubs or get them repaired. It’s important I send to someone who will treat them right since it will be a reflection on me. So (through word of mouth at my local course) I’ve found someone to send them to who will treat them right and not just try to sell them anything that’s on the rack. I’m sure after he receives a few sales from my referrals, he’ll send me business as well.

tradesmen September 12, 2012 at 3:10 am

I also keep a list of the names of the best tradesmen that work in our house. In case I need their help, I can contact them easily.

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