Finding the Right Maintenance Contractor for your Static Caravan
As well as being a condition of your static caravan insurance policy, regular maintenance of your static caravan will help to ensure that it remains safe and comfortable.
You may be able to do many of the maintenance jobs yourself, but some of the larger ones, such as roof repairs, windows, gas or electrical work will need specialist contractors. Here’s a checklist to help you find the right maintenance contractor to provide a good service.
- Define the Job
The first step is to decide what the job actually is. You may want to talk to your partner or other family member so that you can be clear about this. You might not know the technicalities of what needs to be done, but you’ll need to know the objective of the job and the scope of what’s involved. Also, if you’re not an expert in plumbing, for example, then be prepared to take advice from some of the trades people who come out to quote for the job.
- Ask for Recommendations
Personal recommendations from people you trust, especially fellow static caravan owners, are a good way to find the right trades people. This is particularly helpful if you can see some of the work that they have done.
Also, check online review sites such as Feefo or TrustPilot, which have independent reviews from real customers. In addition, directories such as Which? Trusted Trader or TrustMark (a Government-endorsed scheme) only list contractors that have demonstrated they have the required skills, competence and quality standards to do the job.
- Check Quality Certifications
Check whether the contractor is a member of a trade association or a registered installer. This will demonstrate that they have been independently assessed and reached the required level of competence and safety.
An engineer must be Gas Safe registered in order to carry out any gas work, and the NICEIC is the electrical contracting industry’s quality assessment body. There is also a body that is responsible for work with solid fuel heating systems (HETAS) as well as a body for renewable energy systems (MCS). The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors is the leading trade association for the plumbing and heating industry in England and Wales
- Choose a Specialist
Static caravans have a very different construction to bricks and mortar properties, so choose a contractor who either specialises in working in or on static caravans, or who has experience of work in static caravans. Ask to see customer testimonials if you don’t have a specific recommendation.
- Get Several Quotes
Depending on the size of the job, you may want to get a couple of quotes. For larger projects, a general rule of thumb is to get at least three quotes. Actually meeting the tradespeople face to face will give you an idea of what they can do for you, and whether you’d be happy for them to work inside your caravan. They may also be able to advise you on ways to do the job that will give additional benefits that you hadn’t thought about previously.
- Look for Value, Not Price
Obviously, your budget is very important. However, the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ is usually true. Be wary of a price that looks too cheap, as they could be cutting corners on quality or safety. Value means getting a quality service at a good price – judging whether something is good value, rather than cheap, is a more important consideration.
- Check Their Credentials
Even if a tradesperson is recommended by a friend. It’s still a good idea to check their credentials. How long has they been trading? Do they publish a business address? If they are a registered company, check their listing on Companies House. There may be warning signs if they are in financial difficulty, which could cause you problems if they are unable to complete the job.
- Get Your Quote in Writing
Make sure that you have a written quote. You’ll need to know:
- Cost of materials
- Cost of labour
- Payment schedule, if applicable
- Estimated time frame
Having everything in writing means that there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises or misunderstandings regarding the cost or the scope of the work. Make sure you keep all the paperwork relating to the job. This could help you if you need to make an insurance claim later on.
- Be Prepared
Any type of maintenance or refurbishment work in your static caravan is likely to cause some disruption, so it’s best to be prepared for this. Clear the working space, where possible, and cover up carpets and furnishings to avoid dust and dirt.
- Check your Static Caravan Insurance Policy
General maintenance and refurbishment won’t affect your static caravan insurance – your insurance does not cover you for deterioration or wear and tear, so it’s important to keep on top of this. However, if you are having some unusual alterations made to your static caravan, then check with your insurer that this won’t affect your cover.
For information about insurance for static caravans, leisure homes, holiday lodges and holiday homes call our Northampton office and speak to one of our specialist insurance advisers on freephone 0800 988 0890.