Having a trusted tradie is like having a good hairdresser or GP – once you find one, you won’t want to let go. But how do you find the right tradesperson for the job?
1. Word of mouth is the word
Getting recommendations from family and friends is one of the most reliable ways to source a good tradie. If you have similar likes, dislikes and requirements to the person doing the recommending, it’s likely you will also be happy with the tradie’s service. If you’ve had a good experience with a tradesperson, you can also ask them to recommend a tradie for another job (if they were a builder, they will know a plumber etc.), as providing you with a reliable referral is a good way for them to secure your ongoing business.
2. Check if they’re legit
It’s in your rights to make sure your tradie has a current license to ensure they’re qualified and insured for the job you are hiring them for. High-quality contractors often undergo accreditation processes to become members of their peak organisation, so it’s a good sign if they have credentials. Associations such as the Master Plumbers and Master Builders Associations will be able to provide you with a list of association accredited tradespersons in a specific area or region.
3. Get a proper quote
A comprehensive quote is important to ensure you and your tradie are on the same page about exactly what’s going to get done and at what cost. Rather than getting a quote as a lump sum, try and get a detailed list of what services they are providing so there is no uncertainty going forward. For example, if you expected your plasterer to include clean up and removal of plaster as part of their service, but it wasn’t documented on your quote, they may hit you up for additional fees once the job has already started.
4. More is more
Shop around for more than one quote to get a better idea of what kind of cost is typical. Cheaper is not necessarily better – there may be inclusions and exclusions or differing quality of service (for example, some tradies may have a lower hourly rate, but will take twice as long) – but it’s important to feel confident that you are not paying lots more than the market rate.
5. Go local
For smaller ad-hoc jobs, choosing a tradie who services your area regularly can cut down on transportation costs, and ensure a speedier process if you require a call-back. It will also mean they know your area well, which means familiarity with local regulations and convenient spots to get supplies.
Aside from qualifications and reputation, actually just liking your tradie can go a long way. If it’s a big job, you’re likely to be spending a lot of time with your tradesperson, and it’s important that you feel comfortable with them and are able to communicate easily. Going with your gut feel is important – do they seem reliable, respectful, easy-going? If you like the person you are hiring, you will be more confident in trusting their judgement and experience.
7. What’s your reputation?
We expect a lot from our tradies, and it’s important that we play our part as well. Changing our mind all the time and being generally difficult to deal with can delay the process and make it harder for your tradesperson to work. Treat your tradie how you would like to be treated, and pay them on time. If you’re good to them, they will be more likely to work for you again.