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Advice when dealing with tradesmen

Age Action is Ireland’s leading campaign organisation for older people and on ageing issues.

We want to make Ireland the best country in the world in which to grow old and every year our services help tens of thousands of older people. 

Care & Repair is one of our major programmes where volunteers do small odd-jobs and DIY work for older people in their homes free of charge. Regular befriending visits are also provided to older people who may suffer from loneliness or isolation. 

Our volunteers are not meant to replace the professional tradespersons, but to carry out tasks that are too small for professional tradespersons. 

Our Trade Referral Service maintains a register of local tradespersons for older people who need repairs that are too large or difficult for our volunteers. We will supply names from our register to older people who contact the tradesperson to ask for a quotation for the work required. 

The purpose these guidelines is to help to older people when they are dealing with tradesmen, whether the tradesmen’s details have been provided by Age Action or not. 

Guidelines for Dealing with Tradesmen

  • Try and employ tradesmen whose details have been provided to you by a reliable source. Phone Age Action for a referral or ask a trusted family member or friend.
  • Remember that when you are dealing with a reliable tradesman, you can feel comfortable that he will do a good job. An honest tradesman will not cause you problems. You should follow these guidelines and be firm in your dealings with tradesmen, but you should not be worried or afraid. Be polite and treat tradesmen with the same respect with which you would like them to treat you.
  • Make an appointment with the tradesman over the phone so you know when he will be coming. Ask him to phone you in advance if he cannot call at the agreed time. 
  • Ask the tradesman to give you a written quotation for the work, including a description of work to be done and a price including labour, materials and VAT.
  • Seek quotations from two or three tradesmen to ensure that you get the best price, particularly for larger jobs. 
  • If you are happy with the price and the person, go ahead with the job. If you are worried about whether a quotation is too high or have any other concerns, tell the tradesman that you will get back to them to confirm if you want to proceed, then phone Age Action or discuss it with a trusted family member or friend.
  • Do not allow a tradesman to start work unless the full price for completion of the work has been agreed. If the tradesman starts work without permission ask him to stop immediately. If he does not stop call the Gardaí.
  • Do not pay any money to a tradesman before all of the work has been completed in full. If a tradesman asks for payment before completion of the work, tell him that you need to consult with Age Action or with your family before paying any money. 
  • If a tradesman is rude or abusive to you or does not respect your property, ask him to stop work immediately and advise him that you will call the Gardaí if he does not leave.
  • When the work has been completed and you pay the tradesman, ask for a receipt for the money paid.
  • Call Age Action for advice about any aspect of your dealings with tradesmen.