Desperately seeking trusty tradie

Winter weather can lead to many of your house’s flaws bubbling up to the surface, from doors jamming in the damp, leaves clogging gutters or electrical meltdowns because everyone has a heater on at once.

Whether it is a qualified tradie or a regular handyman who is needed for a repair, the thought of doing the due diligence to find one who can be trusted often fills people with dread.

The once go-to bible for finding a Mr or Mrs Fix It, the Yellow Pages printed directory is hardly helpful when it comes to ascertaining the credentials of a tradie. But short of word-of-mouth recommendations, referring to online directories is a good way of getting a feel for whether or not a repairman is likely to be trustworthy. Digital directories such as hipages (home improvement pages), True Local or even the online version of Yellow Pages, post reviews by customers about their experiences with businesses that advertise on their sites.

It is worth reading the reviews of those with fewer than the maximum star-rating, as often you will find candid disaster stories recounted about unreliable tradies, expensive or shoddy work, and worse. These are the businesses to avoid.

On hipages, however, you will only read good reviews because the directory deals with customer complaints internally. “You will not see any businesses listed with a lot of negative feedback,’’ a hipages customer officer told YourLifeChoices. “Our Trust and Quality team [makes sure that] once a business has received one complaint, it will be removed from our website.”

The portal’s vetting extends to verifying all positive recommendations lodged before they are published. Additionally, hipages monitors any licensing and solvency information relating to the more than 89,000 businesses registered with it nationwide. Searching on the free directory begins when you answer a few online questions about the required job. Hipages then alerts its tradesmen and you can expect a few of them will contact you with quotes or requests for more details. From there, the directory encourages prospective customers to compare the profiles of tradies and verify any references before making a selection.

Hipages is not the only online tradesmen directory – others are etradesman,, tradeslocator and more – but it claims to have more listings than its rivals.

Alternative web-based portals such as Airtasker are also emerging to add even further competition to the home maintenance scene. On this platform, a bidding process among Airtasker workers gets under way as soon as you post details about the job, including how much you will pay for it to be done. The workers are not necessarily tradies, but you can peruse their profiles to get an idea of what they are skilled at and what previous customers have said about them.

They are fully insured by the organisation and employing them is usually cheaper than hiring a qualified tradesman, making them ideal for small jobs around the house. After accepting a bid, you transfer the money to the Airtasker organisation, which will only release funds once you have confirmed that the job is complete.

Do you have a terrible tradie tale to tell? How did you find a repairman you could trust?

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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