HomeLifeHow to find a good tradie

How to find a good tradie

Your shower is leaking, the fence is wonky and you need a tree pruned. Have I made you stressed already just thinking about finding a tradie for all these jobs?

Getting a tradie to match your job and expectations is one of the worst things about owning a home. Let’s face it, unless you are a DIY expert, you are going to need a tradie at one point or other in your life, so how to go about finding the best for your situation?

In the know

Your first step should be to ask around. Friends and family will often have some great tips for who to call.

Someone who works in the industry can be a great resource. If a builder recommends a certain tradie, you can be almost certain they will do a good job.

If that doesn’t yield what you need, well, like most things, you are going to need to do a bit of research.

Are they the real deal?

If you require work that needs a qualified tradie such as a plumber, electrician or builder, check if they are registered.

Licence requirements differ by trade and state by state, so you may have to do a bit of online work to find the register.

Also, ask if they are a member of an industry body such as the Master Plumbers Association or a relevant organisation.

Membership is usually voluntary, but should add to your confidence about the quality of the work. And there is often support provided if something goes wrong.

You can also ask membership bodies what level of qualification is required for your job, which you can then check against your tradie’s qualifications.

Ask for examples

If it’s a big job such as a kitchen rebuild, ask to see some of their work. Good tradies can’t wait to whip out their phone and show you some recent jobs. If you can, arrange to see the work firsthand.

If the work is outside the house, such as landscaping or roofing, do a drive-by and check out the workmanship.

Online stalking

Check out if they have any online reviews. But don’t take these too seriously. If a tradie only has a few reviews, it’s not a big enough sample to base a decision on. Plus, they could just be a few mates helping them out.

A professional-looking website is often a good indication there is a decent business behind the name and usually provides you with an option to ask a few questions in the ‘contact us’ section before engaging a provider.

Three’s the charm

It’s recommended to always get three quotes for larger jobs.

The more detail in the quote the better. A raw figure provides the tradie with the opportunity to say that some things weren’t included such as rubbish removal or specific supplies.

The quote should specifically detail the job that needs to be done, when payment is due and if relevant, the time frame.

Insurance

Always check the tradie has public liability insurance.

Let’s face it, a job that requires a lot of cutting, drilling, power tools in combination with squishy human bodies and expensive housing is bound to end badly sometimes.

If you feel unsure about their assurances, ask to see evidence. You do not want to pay for any accidents or damage an uninsured tradie causes; it could quite easily cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ask the experts

You can contact the manufacturer of an item that needs repair or service and ask if they can recommend a tradie. This is especially relevant if the item that needs repair or replacement is still under warranty and you are considering making a claim.

Engaging a tradie who’s not qualified to fix your problem could void the warranty and quite possibly cause further damage that may not be covered.

What are your tips for hiring a tradie? Why not share your advice in the comments section below?

Also read: How to renovate safely when you run into unexpected bugs, mould and other nasties

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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