Online directories narrow search for trustworthy tradies

Find out what others say before you hire your next tradesman.

Online directories narrow search for trustworthy tradies

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, service.com.au, 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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    COMMENTS

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    Macca
    21st Jun 2017
    10:54am
    The problem with using online directories is that the service people recommended are only those willing to pay the service directory their fees. Every job they quote for costs them money and guess who ends up paying for that – including the jobs they don’t get. The first best way is by word of mouth and even better being told about service supplier that stuffed up or at least took the responsibility for a perceived stuff up and then did something about it to the customer’s complete satisfaction.
    Most trades have associations and some need licensing, so don't use an unlicensed trades person and at least look to see if the association has a website with a member listed in your area.
    KSS
    21st Jun 2017
    12:44pm
    Even the trade associations are no guarantee Macca. My building is in dispute with painters licensed with Dept of Fair Trading and registered with the Painter Association as Master Painters.

    Licensing and registration with associations has no bearing on the competency of the tradie. The former is based on education (have you done your Certificate III) and the latter means you paid membership fees.
    Rosret
    21st Jun 2017
    12:05pm
    An ABC reporter recently suggested that you should always go for the Yellow pages Tradie. Chances are they are older because they are using old methods of advertising and therefore more experienced and more inclined to charge less than a young Tradie with a huge mortgage to payoff.
    Macca
    21st Jun 2017
    12:27pm
    I agree, with two caveats - 1. give Sensis enough money and they will advertise your business online as being your local tradie no matter where you really trade from; 2. what one charges if you are a legitimate business and not a FBN, is of course based on your business plan, you have to charge enough to stay in business. If the customer can't afford it your business can't afford it.
    Kathleen
    21st Jun 2017
    8:26pm
    We use hipages and find it very good. You get at least three quotes. I ask for hourly rate and no phone calls so we are not bothered. It works for us.
    Chris B T
    21st Jun 2017
    8:27pm
    As with Doctor Google for health issues you could Google the Problem.
    Some times after watching a demonstration "Some" tasks are not so difficult and might be achiveable by yourself. Not All but some.
    Most hardware stores have most items need. Leave Electrical And Plumbing to Licensed Tradies.


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