Do you need some help with house repairs, but don’t know any reliable builders yet? Almost everyone needs the help of a builder at some time and, unless you’re a builder yourself, you will need to get to know a little about how builders operate.

It’s tempting to take the easy way out and consult your copy of the Yellow Pages or the advertising section of your local newspaper, but think for a moment before you do that.

House repair services are in a category of their own. You’re asking someone with knowledge and experience of building and repairing buildings to repair some part of your home – something that affects you and your family intimately and every day. The results of that activity are likely to be felt for many years.

If that builder fails to do a satisfactory job then you may be left with an expensive bill and be no better off in having a problem-free home to live in. You could even get caught up in expensive and time-consuming litigation.

So it’s vital to start off on the right foot. The first thing is to select someone who can provide a specialist service. So, for example, if you have blocked drains then this means someone specialising in finding the cause of blocked drains and clearing them. This could be either a small firm or even an individual who does that work and nothing else, or a larger building company providing several specialist services.

It’s better to rely on word-of-mouth personal recommendations from people who are satisfied customers than anything else. Since the dawn of the internet it’s so much easier to do this because, even if you don’t have any friends or family who can recommend anyone, you can go online and search forums and builders’ web sites and blogs.

Go to Google or any search engine and enter, for example, “plumber Leicester” and check out the local listings, especially any with recommendations. Or enter “forums plumber Leicester” for opinions and reviews of Leicester plumbers.

Make a short-list and whittle it down to three. Then telephone all three in turn and ask them to visit so they can give you a quotation. Don’t necessarily select the cheapest. It’s more important to select the person who will actually be doing or supervising the job and base it on how you feel about him – his honesty and integrity as well as his ability.

You have to feel free to ask questions about what the problem may be and how they intend to deal with it. Choose the person you feel the most comfortable with. The trust factor should outweigh anything else in your selection criteria. And it will probably be cheaper in the long run even if the quotation isn’t the cheapest.

Bear all this in mind when you need help with house repairs.