Cowboy Tradesmen, Rogue traders, cowboy traders - Serviceteam
by Steve Macrie firstname.lastname@example.org
It doesn't happen very often, thankfully, but every so often we at Serviceteam have to deal with a rogue trader. A trader who has sometimes gone 'rogue'. It happens. We've been in the business long enough to know that it does go on. But this does mean that we are pretty good at spotting cowboy traders, rogue traders, cowbow tradesman or whatever you want to call them.
At Serviceteam we are 100% commmitted to stamping out rogue traders. We work with well over 100 tradespeople and we like to think that they are all honest. We have to believe that or we couldn't work with them on a daily basis. But our customers never have to worry about a rogue trader at Serviceteam. Because Serviceteam guarantees all the work we do, whatever problems we have with the contractor we will try our very hardest to keep it internal. If we have a major problem then we can swap that contractor or trader out and use another. We want to ensure minimum fuss for our customers and provide an excellent service, so we'll take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that our customers get what they have come to expect from us.
The only way a customer will fall foul of a trades person that they have met through Serviceteam is if they make a seperate agreement with that tradesman. It generally goes like this. A customer calls up for a service, maybe they want some landscape gardening. We go through our usual procedure, take details and requirements and send a qualified tradesman who we think will best match the customer's requirements.
A meeting is set. The customer meets the contractor, discusses their likes and dislikes and a plan is put together. The trades person sends the requirements to Serviceteam and we prepare a quote which is sent to the customer. And then Serviceteam never hears anything from the customer again or we call the customer and they have decided not to do the work or have chosen someone else. Now most of the time it is genuine and the customer maybe has chosen another company to do the work or they've had a change of heart or they don't have the budget for the project. We're never happy about losing a quote because we put a lot of effort into each and every one of them, but that's life! You can't win them all.
However, sometimes at some stage of the process, the customer colludes with the contractor or tradesman to bypass Serviceteam and do the job with them directly. Sometimes the customer suggests it but usually the contractor will suggest that if they remove Serviceteam from the equation they will do the job for less money. And they are right. They probably can do the job for less money because we have to advertise, pay office staff, insurance, office rent, tax and all the other things that go with a successful, reputable business. You didn't find us by accident! We spent a lot of money to be there when you were looking!
For the customer it seems like they are getting a good deal - the job will be done by same tradesman after all. Where's the harm in it? Sometimes the rogue trader will tell you tales of woe to make you feel justified in this approach. But beware - because people don't work for companies that don't pay them or they are not happy with - you may be about to be conned! The tradesman will ask for a deposit for materials - and then you may not see him ever again. He will hope that you won't call us because you're embarrassed and he knows that the Police aren't very interested in these sort of cases.
The chances are you will not see your money again. A one man band generally does not have the money to pay you back even if you do successfully sue him in court. This type of sting usually happens on high value jobs where a large deposit is needed.
Serviceteam will not be able to help you. After all you are not a customer of Serviceteam. People have called us about these incidents and we will share any information we can to enable you to take them to court but only information that we are legally allowed to provide - which is not much.
We are very good at spotting and removing these cowboy traders before they ever get to see any more of our customers. We have only had three that we know of and we have completed thousands of projects. All of these traders started off very well, two worked brilliantly with us for over 2 years, all of them were bright, articulate and they seemed so honest. In fact, two of them probably are genuinely nice people, we all liked them - they came to the Christmas parties! But we know that they got themselves into a cash flow pickle and they needed money fast - this made them very dangerous to the dishonest homeowners who employed them (all three lost several thousand pounds).
So, if a contractor or tradesperson we have sent you offers to do the job privately then call us. And this is sensible advice to all homeowners - whatever company you're employing if one of their workmen offers to 'do a foreigner' as it's called - especially if it involves giving over a large deposit, tell their employer about it. Help the legitimate companies like Serviceteam remove rogue traders from the market. In the end everyone benefits.
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