Tips for Choosing The Right Tradesperson
01 May 2020
One of the toughest things about renovating is finding great tradespeople or builders. Unfortunately, problems with tradies and builders can range from not getting back to you on time to inflated quotes and everything in between.
And the problems don’t stop there; shoddy workmanship or jobs that go weeks over promised time frames can really put a dent in your budget. Finding the right team of tradies can be the difference between your renovation being a success or not.
Here are a few tips to help you make sure you get the right tradie working for you...
Finding the right professional
Your first port of call should be to ask friends and family for recommendations and feedback on tradies they’ve used. Negative feedback is as valuable as positive and it helps you sort the wheat from the chaff.
If you need a painter, consider asking your local paint supplier for a recommendation. Try the same approach with other trades; ask tile shops for tiler recommendations, lighting and electrical shops for a great electrician and architects or building supply shops for a reliable builder. Suppliers and consultants don’t want to be associated with tradies or builders who don’t perform well, so they usually only recommend those that can be relied upon.
The internet can also be a goldmine for finding tradies if you know where to look. Don’t rely solely on a Google search; the businesses listed on the first page aren’t necessarily the best, they’ve just got great SEO (meaning, they know how to get their website listed first in a Google search) or they are willing to pay a consequent amount of money in Google AdWord (to be on the first page).
A far better place to start is in property and renovation forums and Facebook communities. Ask members for recommendations, testimonials and feedback on tradies they’ve used. Chances are you’ll be able to narrow it down to a few well-priced, reliable tradies who would suit.
HiPages has been online for a while and has a good reputation. You can input the details of your job and they’ll get three trades to contact you for a quote. Make sure that you understand the difference between their products and their scope of work.
Get more than one quote for each job, but only if you’re not sure about how much to pay for it. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to get three quotes if the people you’re asking to quote come recommended and you have a fair idea of what the job should cost you.
If you need to get more than one quote, make sure you don’t have any scheduling conflicts. Having two tradies turn up at the same time isn’t a good look.
Communicating with your tradie
To ensure you can compare the quotes accurately, make sure you give exactly the same information to each tradie. You can’t compare oranges with bananas, so it’s no good giving three plumbers three different briefs and expecting them to quote on the same job. This brings me to my next point: communication.
Communication with tradies can be a challenge with most renovators relying on verbal communication. That’s fine, but what happens if you forget to mention a significant (or even minor) detail or the tradie/builder misunderstands some aspects of the job you want done? You need to be crystal clear in your communication to ensure they understand and execute exactly what you’re after.
Be sensitive to how the tradie is selling his products and services. Whether he is pushy or listening carefully to your needs and trying to guide you into the different products he would use.
Consulting a professional to help you prepare a renovating plan (known as a “renovation action plan” at Hotspace) at the beginning of your renovation project won’t break the budget, but it will definitely result in a more streamlined renovation with fewer hassles and minimal cost over-runs.
Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s leading home renovation and interior design experts. She is an award-winning interior designer with more than 25 years’ experience designing the interiors and exteriors of homes; specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces