Negotiating Private Domestic Contracts to Ease City Living Challenges

City living can be the most invigorating, exciting and inspiring of experiences when launching yourself on the world. When you’re young, you have the energy to embrace it to the full. But over time it takes its toll on your physically and mentally. The older you get, and the more complicated your family set up, the more important it is to take advantage of as many local service to help you run your life as possible.

London is a city of villages. Each neighbourhood has its own community of service providers who are primed and ready to serve its local residents, understanding innately what is required by their clients in terms of reliability and quality.

But you will also have your own expectations and needs. So whether you are in need of dry cleaners in Chelsea, or babysitters in Battersea, our criteria guide will keep you on the safe and narrow when seeking out essential services to keep your city life running smoothly.

Trusted recommendations

Whether you are seeking out a business on Google, or have one recommended to you by friends, those third party testimonials are going to be a crucial part in your decision making process. Pity the poor company who has a few bad reviews, even I they have more good ones. Immediately it puts them at a disadvantage. 

While reviews are important, do take the time to do your own research as well. Too often disgruntled and unrealistic ex-clients will leave a bad review as an act of revenge. And if a company has nothing but rave reviews, take these with a pinch of salt too, as they might be falsified in some way.

As well as asking around, sometimes it is just a question of taking a punt on a business, and letting them prove to you themselves that they can offer you the best service.

The art of communication

How easy is the flow of communication between you and the business. While instant messaging and online booking is brilliant when it works, and when everything is put correctly through the system. But outside of the system there are many circumstances when you want to speak to a real person. Do they respond promptly? Are they open to your particular requirements? Are they friendly and accommodating? 

Finding a local supplier is not just about having the convenience on your doorstep – it’s about working in partnership with someone who is responsive to your individual needs. That relationship may take time to evolve, but once you get it the trust is strong.

Qualifications, insurance and indemnity

Can the local business you are considering demonstrate its knowledge, expertise and professional credentials. Do they have the right level of professional indemnity insurance? Do they pay their staff properly and treat them well? Do they have a programme of continuous professional development? Do they have an adequate returns or complaints procedure? 

While these are all elements that could make a business more expensive than its local, less compliant, competitors. It is crucial that you only work with proper, legitimate businesses.

Do the prices reflect the company’s quality of product and service? 

Don’t go for the cheapest prices simply for the sake of it. It could be that they have cut corners that are going to reflect in the overall service they provide for you. Often the cheapest option ends up costing you even more in the long term.

You would be better off trialing a company for a couple of weeks, to see if they deliver what they promise. On this basis you can renegotiate a fixed term contract with preferential pricing once everyone is happy with the relationship and overall service delivery. 

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