Trusted tradespeople

Finding a trusted tradesperson

Making changes in your home can range from small adaptations to big projects. There is a range of changes you can make to your home to help reduce bills and your carbon emissions. Some ‘do it yourself’ ideas are available on our DIY hints and tips page. If the work you want to carry out is bigger or you are not confident in your DIY ability you can arrange for a tradesperson to do the work for you.

How do I find a trusted tradesperson?

Be wary of traders who knock on your front door unexpectedly looking to get work – don’t feel pressured to hire them. If in doubt, always say no, close the door, and if necessary, contact the police.

You can find a trusted tradesperson by:

  • asking family and friends for personal recommendations. This is often the easiest and safest way to find a tradesperson who will give a quality service
  • using the TrustMark tool to find tradespeople. TrustMark is the only government-endorsed scheme for all trades in and around the home. The TrustMark tool allows you to search for reputable organisations and reliable tradespeople using your postcode.

What should I do before I hire a tradesperson?

Once you have a shortlist of tradespeople you’re considering, contact them and check:

  • their prices – get at least three quotes so that you can compare. Check exactly what is covered by the price (e.g. labour and material costs) so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
  • the tradesperson’s credentials and trade licence. For example, boiler engineers must be Gas Safe registered. (see the table below for different trades’ quality marks)
  • ask about 2 or 3 recent examples of similar work they’ve done and for contact details for the people they did the work for – it’s best to get in touch because written references aren’t always genuine
  • how long they’ve been trading for
  • their contact details including office address and landline phone number.

How can I avoid problems with tradespeople?

Unfortunately, home improvements and repairs don’t always go to plan. Follow these tips to minimise problems and unwanted additional costs.

Give the tradesperson a clear brief. Be specific and set out a clear, detailed description of the work (except for very small jobs). The brief should describe what work needs to be done in the greatest detail possible.

Things to consider include:

  • the materials the tradesperson will use and what you will supply
  • whether subcontractors such as plumbers are included in the cost and cleaning up and disposal of waste.
  • get a written contract
  • for any medium or large jobs, you should insist on a full legal written contract as it offers you protection if anything does go wrong. Agree on any stage and final payments before work starts.
  • is there adequate insurance to cover the work? This is often linked to quality marks and guarantees see the table below.
  • don’t make advance payments.

Only pay for work that has been done and don’t pay by advance payments. However, where materials need to be bought in advance, it is reasonable for the trader to ask you to pay a fair percentage of these costs as the job progresses.

Check building regulations with your local authority

For certain types of work (e.g. installation of a new or replacement heating system or boiler, regardless of fuel type or installation of a new or replacement oil tank) you may need to get a building regulations compliance certificate from your local authority.

This certificate proves that the work is safe and has been done to the right standard. If your tradesperson is a member of a Competent Persons Scheme, a government-run accreditation programme, they can provide your certificate for you.

Visit the Competent Person Register website, or for electrical work you can visit the Registered Competent Person Electrical website, and enter your postcode or the name of the installer in the relevant search box.

What do I do if I have problems with a tradesperson?

You should discuss your problem with Citizens Advice who will pass your information to Trading Standards who may contact you for further information.

Quality marks and guarantees for works

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Cavity Wall Insulation

Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA)

Help finding an installer

Information and advice about looking after your property after cavity wall insulation has been installed

Help if there are any issues following installation

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Dwelling & Non-Dwelling replacement windows, doors, roof lights and roof windows.

External, Internal, Hybrid Wall Insulation.

Cavity Wall Insulation.

Energy efficient glazing & draught proofing.

External & Internal Wall Insulation.

Loft & Floor insulation.

Building Repair, Maintenance & Improvement, from multi-trade extensions to individual
building fabric trade certification.

Conservatories and Conservatory Warm Roofs.

Cavity Clearance.


Protection of any deposit taken
A guarantee covering the completed installation
An insurance policy to cover this guarantee should the contractor cease trading
Suitably qualified and assessed site operatives

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Replacement of windows

Replacement of Door

Roof windows and roof lights

Independent Network

Support in the event of an issue with FENSA certified work

Insured guarantee scheme

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Solid fuel, wood, biomass heating, systems, fuels & services


Installer search

Retailer search

Information for consumers

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Full and partial electrical installations

Oil Heating (including storage tanks, pipework, boilers and other appliances)

Solid Fuel Heating (including non-masonry chimney systems but excluding biomass, see below)

Heating and hot water systems (including electric boilers for central heating, underfloor electrical heating, vented and unvented hot water storage, heat recovery systems)

Insulation (cavity wall, internal or external solid wall systems)

Replacement doors, windows and roof-lights

Renewable energy small scale electricity generation (photovoltaics, wind turbines

water turbines, micro-CHP)

Renewable energy small scale heat generation (biomass, heat pumps, solar thermal, micro-CHP)

Ventilation systems and air-conditioning


Work guarantee
Dispute resolution

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Oil heating systems


Find an approved technician
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Installation or measure

Guarantee scheme

What does the scheme offer?

Renewable or low-carbon technologies:
Air Source Heat Pump
Exhaust Air Heat Pump
Gas Absorption Heat Pump
Ground/Water Heat Pump
Micro CHP (Micro Combined Heat and Power)
Pitched Roof Installation Kit
Solar Assisted Heat Pump
Solar Photovoltaics
Solar Thermal
Wind Turbine

Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

Registered installers
Consumer information
Complaints process

Guidance developed by local SHINE partners 

Top tips

Find out our Top Tips to keep warm and well at home.

DIY draught busting

There are lots of small “Do it Yourself” tasks you can do at home to keep warm. Find out more here

Warm Home Check

Our free Warm Home Check Service can help you get ready for winter. Get in contact now.

ESCC logo
This website has been developed by the East Sussex Energy Partnership, funded by East Sussex County Council and is managed by Hastings Borough Council © 2022