nuke – friends of ours have used Cooper Homes, we are having them around for a quote on a garage conversion.
In addition we used aalexander builders for some internal renovations. He proved very good on the first job, very good communication and reasonably priced. However it all turned sour on the 2nd job we used him on.
Basically we spoke to houses down the road and friends etc. But we’ve been burnt a couple of times and just loathe to the whole process and lack of professionalism.
Our kids school Facebook page is used almost exclusively for recommending builders. As above, people with young families are always building. If people aren’t getting back to you, they are either really busy, or don’t think you are serious about what you want doing. You even say as much in your post. Tendering for a job is time consuming and a builder will want to tender on well described and scheduled works.