Choosing the right tradesperson

November 22, 2016

No matter how big or how small the job is, your renovation will be better if you can find the right tradesperson who is qualified, skilled and who understands what you want.

Follow these tips to find the right match for your next job:

Check the paperwork

It sounds like a bit of a hassle, but if you do your homework before getting a tradie on site you can save yourself from potential disaster. You don’t want someone building the place you are planning on living in if they don’t even have a license or the legal paperwork to allow them to do so. Besides it being dangerous for you and your family if things start falling apart or if the wiring is dodgy, it can also negate a lot of insurance policies, meaning you can be left in the red if anything goes wrong.

Check these things before working with anyone:

  • Their license. This is one of the most important things to check as it shows they are legally allowed to be carrying out the work they are doing for you. Do a quick search of which licenses are necessary for the state you live in first, as all states and territories in Australia have different requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask the tradie directly for their license information, anyone who is fully licensed and qualified to do the job will not have a problem with showing you the necessary paperwork.
  • Insurance policy. At a minimum, they will need to have public liability insurance. This means they are covered for damages, repairs or replacements to your property or anyone else’s that may be affected nearby. If they don’t have this insurance, you could be held responsible for these costs.
  • They don’t actually need this in order to work, but if they do have one it is quick and easy to find and it will show that they are a legitimate business.

Ask around

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find the right tradie for you. There are two reasons you should ask around before you hire someone; The first is to make sure they have a good reputation, and the second is to make sure they understand the style you are after.

With the first point, if you don’t know anyone personally who has used the tradie you are looking at hiring, go to their website to see if there are any testimonials online, or do a search for reviews of their work. This way, you’ll be able to find out if they are reliable and professional.

For the second point, if you see some renovation work that you really like the style of, ask the owner who did the work for them. Getting a good tradesman is great, but finding one who shares the same style as you is even better. Especially if the renovation you are planning is a big one, it really helps to have someone who has done the kind of style you want before.

Get on the same page

If you are looking for a builder to help with a major renovation, or even one who can help you install a small bathroom, it is good to both be on the same page with what it is you are after. When you are briefing them on the job, make sure you have taken some time to prepare before hand. Find and save photos of the exact style you are after, including colour options and types of tiles etc. That way, the tradie will understand what it is you want. If they have a website that shows pictures of jobs they’ve done before, let them know which styles and places you liked. You’ll be able to get a good feel of whether or not you could happily work with the tradie during your initial briefing sessions. If they don’t understand the style you’re after, haven’t had experience doing it before or if they try to talk you out of it, then you know you will end up butting heads throughout the whole build so it is best to just walk away now.

Get a thorough quote

Once you are at the stage of getting quotes in, make sure your tradie gives you a detailed line-by-line quote. This way, you’ll know up front exactly what you are paying for and what will be extra if you need it. Knowing all of this can save awkward conversations and potential arguments partway through the build.

Having the quote broken out can also help show the scope of work involved, and what the tradie will and will not cover. Take builders for example, one builder might quote on a renovation from start to finish – including the demolition, fencing, organising the bin for hire, through to clean up at the end. Whereas another one might only be quoting on the actual building work and everything else is an extra on top of that.

Be a good customer

The relationship with a tradesman goes both ways. If you find someone who is professional and reliable, you’ll want to continue working with them every time you have a job to do. Keep them happy by paying on time, being clear with your instructions from the beginning and by being at home at the agreed time for work to commence or for any other meetings.