How do I find a local craftsman
10 tips for a successful search
Recommendations from friends
Before you go looking for a craftsman, find out in your neighborhood and in your circle of friends whether someone has had good experiences and can recommend a craftsman's business. Another way to find a craftsman is through the business directories and local craft guilds. In addition, various online portals offer tradespeople services including price calculators and publish experience reports. Many companies also have their own website. Make sure that the craftsman there not only teases out his services, but also pay attention to references and qualifications such as master craftsmen or guilds.
If you have found the right craftsman, the craftsman will ask for an on-site appointment for more extensive orders (such as a window replacement) in order to be able to assess and calculate the size of the order.
Offers and estimates
Before placing an order, you should define exactly which services you want, and the craftsman should explain to you which work he has to carry out for this. If the windows are to be replaced, then, for example, glazing, frame type, burglary protection, design, etc. offer numerous options. Exactly these points should be listed in detail in the offer or in the cost estimate. It is also important whether all additional and ancillary services, such as scaffolding, are mentioned in an offer.
Written offers are essential
Do not only rely on verbal agreements, but ask for a written offer / a written cost estimate. Otherwise problems are inevitable at the latest when the invoice is higher than agreed or when improvements are necessary. Without a written offer, it is difficult to justify legal action. If a price increases by more than 15 to 20 percent compared to the amount in the offer or cost estimate, the craftsman should point this out during the work. As a client, you have the right to terminate a contract, because the companies are usually bound by the offer prices. In justified cases, the cost estimate may be exceeded by 15 to 20 percent.
Obtain comparison offers
In order to get a feel for the price-performance ratio of a craftsman, you should also obtain two to three comparison offers. Remember: the cheapest craftsman does not necessarily provide the same services as a more expensive colleague. Ask the craftsmen to list their services point by point so that the offers can be easily compared. In addition to the price, sympathy and trust also play an important role when choosing the right craftsman. Does the company and its employees make a tidy and tidy impression?
Agree on a fixed price
If possible, agree on a fixed price with the craftsman that must not be overdrawn. The fixed price offer should state exact material lists and properties and record the scope of the work to be performed in a binding manner. Otherwise, incomplete service descriptions can distort a fixed price agreement and drive up the invoice amount.
Default of the craftsman
There is talk of “delay” as soon as tradespeople fail to meet the fixed deadline. As a customer, you may then be entitled to compensation (if you suffer damage due to the time delay).
Examination by professionals
Once the craftsman has completed his work for you, you should examine it carefully. If you are unsure or if the work involved is complex, you can also ask experts to examine it. The expert navigation system of the chambers of crafts on the Internet, for example, offers help with the search for experts. If you or the external expert find defects, then take photos of them and submit photos and a description of the defects in writing to the craftsman's business as soon as possible.
Defects and improvements
In principle, in the event of faulty work, customers can withhold part of the due invoice amount until the defect has been remedied. To be on the safe side, at least double the cost of remedying the defects may be withheld. If the defect only appears after acceptance, the craftsman must be able to eliminate the defect within a reasonable period of time - free of charge, of course. If the craftsman does not meet the deadline or if the repair does not work out, you can lend a hand yourself or hire another company to remedy the defect. These costs are then borne by the original contract partner.
After completing all the craftsmen's work, settle the total amount
You should only pay the invoice amount in full when all work has been completed to your satisfaction (including any repairs that may be necessary). Ideally, all wage, travel and material costs are listed individually on the invoice, because you can deduct some items from your tax on a pro-rata basis.
tip: Only labor costs (and possibly travel and machine costs) are deductible, not material. Material costs have to be paid entirely out of your own pocket. An invoice that you submit with your tax return should therefore break down the remuneration between deductible wage and travel costs on the one hand and the material costs on the other. If there is a lump sum on the submitted invoice, the tax office will make an estimate of the labor costs.
Incidentally, the tax advantages do not only apply to real estate in Germany. Owners can deduct the costs for craftsmen or service providers proportionately from the tax payment even if the work is carried out in their self-used holiday property. To do this, however, the house must be within the EU or the European Economic Area.
Funding for home renovators
Does your house need new heating? Or new windows? Or do you want to completely renovate? Then you have the opportunity to apply for funding. The various subsidies from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) and the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW), but also from the federal states and municipalities, offer attractive financial injections. Since July 1, 2017, there has also been an individual renovation schedule (iSFP) with recommendations for renovations. Funding is provided both with cash and with loans: while Bafa, for example, only pays out cash, KfW primarily offers cheap loans. But cash payments in the form of grants or repayment waivers are also possible at KfW, provided that you raise the investment yourself. A combination of Bafa funding and KfW supplementary credit is also possible. Find out in good time (before you start working on your house) when you need to submit the funding application. Good craft businesses can advise you.
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