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Tips to find a good tradie

10 November, 2014 / Category: Blog

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If you’ve decided that it’s time to renovate your home, the search for a decent tradie can at times feel overwhelming. The truth is, many of us have had limited practice when it comes to hiring workmen, unsure of what to look for when finding the right man for the job. So, amid the horror stories we hear of crooked tradesman and their wily ways, how can you tell the good ones from the bad?

We’ve laid out a few tips to help you find the best tradie for the job.

Get a detailed quote

A detailed quote is key to making your arrangement run smoothly, and for weeding out the good tradies from the bad. A proper quote should entail exactly what the job is and what will be involved, as well as an accurate estimation of how much the work will cost. There is nothing worse than receiving an invoice at the end of your renovations that’s way out of your budget. To avoid miscommunication, be sure to request your quote in writing, outlining details of costs and time required.

Shop around

Unless the job is relatively small, it’s best to get at least three quotes for any work you’re considering having done. Doing it this way will allow you to get a better sense of the true price of the work, minimizing the risk that you’ll get ripped off. You’ll be astounded by how much the prices will vary. Shopping around will also give you practice at dealing with workmen. In time you’ll be better equipped to identify the honest ones, and to recognize the frauds.

Make sure they are registered, and insured

The person you hire should be more than just a man with a truck and a toolbox. To be on the safe side, check that your tradie has a registered business, and that their ABN is valid. It’s best to request the ABN number before you accept your quote. This way you can check it on ABN Lookup—a government website that provides access to the public. If your tradie is not registered and something goes wrong, things could turn ugly fast. Unregistered tradesmen could be uninsured and, technically speaking, may not be liable for any damages or mistakes made during renovations.

Check if they’re licensed

It may be obvious, but it’s important to ask a tradie for their particular qualifications. The last thing you want to do is hire somebody who is unable to deliver. It’s also wise to ask them for their current license, making sure that it is valid and that it’s relevant to the job that they’ve been hired to complete. Once you’ve viewed their license, you can check the details on the licensing authority website. If a tradie tries to dodge having to give you their license number, it’s best to trust your instinct and find someone else to do the job.

Ask for references

Don’t be shy about asking for references of the workman you’re about to hire. Once they are provided, you can call the referees and speak with them directly about the work and service of the tradie in question. Was their work timely? Was the result satisfactory? If a tradesman won’t provide references, ask why—it’s often a sign that something’s not quite right.

Make sure the contract is in writing

A sound contract makes it more likely that the job will be completed as described in your quote, both on budget and on time. When you are hiring a tradesman, make sure you have a detailed payment schedule that includes an expected completion date. It’s also wise to educate yourself on what penalties there are if the work goes over your deadline or your budget. For medium to large jobs especially, you should always insist on a legal written contract.

Be the best customer that you can be

The clearer you are about what you need, the easier it will be for your tradesman to deliver. If you’re unsure of what you want, you could end up with poor results. Being contactable while the work is being done will also minimise the likelihood of mistakes being made. When it comes to home renovation, a simple phone call could prevent a disaster. It’s also important to understand that changing your mind halfway through the job will likely add additional time and further costs to the project. All this can be avoided if you play your part; detailing what you need, and being on call for discussion.

Whether your job is big or small, it’s important to begin with a strong vision, to do a little homework, and to keep your wits about you.

Sincerely yours,


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