How to make sure you hire the best tradie for the job

Adam Smith 10 April 2017

tools1Make sure the tradie you hire doesn’t leave you in the lurch.

Whether you’re undertaking a major renovation of just need a few things fixed up, you may find yourself needing the services of a tradesperson.

The right tradie can make repairs and renovations a trouble-free process that improves the value of your home. The wrong one can cost you money and cause problems that take months or years to resolve.

Dan Kerr, chief executive of service.com.au, shares with us how to hire a tradie without being burned.

Do your research

There are a number of important factors to determine when choosing a tradesperson. Kerr says homeowners looking to hire a tradie should first and foremost make sure the person they’re considering is licensed and has the relevant insurance. Insurance is crucial, as Australian Workers’ Compensation statistics show that tradespeople are some of the workers most likely to face serious injury, at a rate of 15.4 per 1,000.

Licensing is also crucial. Much of the work undertaken by tradespeople requires special training and licensing. The majority of electrical work, for example, must be undertaken by a licensed electrician, and homeowners can face serious fines for undertaking such work themselves. With this in mind, it’s essential to make sure any tradesperson you hired is properly licensed for the job they’re being hired to do.

Cheapest isn’t always best

According to Kerr, focusing solely on price could end up being a costly mistake. While a tradie may appear to be a good deal, if they don’t have the proper qualifications or aren’t reliable,

“Sometimes the focus can solely be on who is the cheapest. I don’t believe that tells the whole story. The cheapest can be someone who is unqualified, or not insured or who has a poor reputation,” Kerr says. “I may want the cheapest guy, but if the cheapest guy doesn’t turn up that can end up costing me more in the long run.”

Shoddy workmanship or half-finished jobs not only lead to stress and heartache. They can also cost much more to repair than the initial problem they were attempting to address.

While you shouldn’t focus on cost alone, you should ensure that any tradesperson you choose gives you a detailed quote. Get a contract in writing detailing the total cost and the timeline in which work is to be completed. The tradesperson you select may not give you the least expensive quote, but if they stick to the budget they’ve provided you and do quality work, you’ll save money in the long run.

“If it’s a large renovation, look at all the information. It’s not just price driven. Do a bit of due diligence around whether they are properly insured and properly licensed. It’s good to have choice and the ability to look at a few different options. The first business you find online may not be the one suited to you,” Kerr says.

Rely on referrals

The best way to determine if a tradesperson is reliable is to get referrals from previous customers. If you have friends or family members who have had renovation or repair work done, ask them who they used and if they were satisfied with the experience.

Failing this, you can also ask a tradesperson you’re considering to provide written references. A good tradesperson should have a track record of satisfied clients, so shouldn’t be put off by asking for a referral.

Kerr says this is an area in which service.com.au can be helpful. The site aggregates reviews for tradespeople, so you can easily see which candidates have satisfied customers who are willing to offer an endorsement. He explains how service.com.au sorts through tradespeople to separate the quality businesses from dodgy operators.

“We have a three-tier system. The first is that they are a registered business with a verified ABN, that they have license details and the relevant insurance. From there, level two looks at their reviews. The final tier is recommended. When a user comes on and says they’re looking for a plumber, we tender it out and order the results in terms of the tier system,” he says.

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