Advice on hiring a reliable tradesperson
Advice on finding a reliable tradesman
Finding reliable tradesperson is the most important part of any home project whether it is a simple fix or a big renovation project. Everyone knows stories about renovations that ended up several times over quoted price or showers starting leaking few months after installation with little to no recourse. Unfortunately this not rare and that is why it is paramount to find the trades person who has right experience plus knowledge of modern techniques and materials. Here are some tips on how to avoid pitfalls when doing it.
1. Do your research and work out exactly who you need. Get knowledgeable about what you want. There are tradies who handle basic repairs and there are tradies who specialize in the installation of systems typically in brand new homes or remodelling projects. Before you start your search make sure you’re looking for the right kind.
2. Find a reputable tradie via word of mouth/Facebook or place an ad at one of services seeking websites. Expect to get quite a lot of quotes for less sophisticated jobs and very few ones for projects requiring experience. As a rule, the more complex your job is the less will be the number of quotes received.
3. All online/phone price estimates you receive will be general and not final until the tradie actually comes to your place and physically checks on what is to be done. Even after that you should budget for unexpected costs as the scope of the job may change during its course. Some tradies may request a fee for their visit so look for free quotes.
4. When you have the tradies come over to do written estimate on your project make sure to ask them about references. Online feedbacks can be a bit hit or miss, but they can be a better option than just picking out a trader at random. Be sure to check people who left them. If they left only one review then chances are that it is not genuine. Furthermore, some services seeking sites tend to hide negative feedbacks to look better than their competitors. After all, they get paid by tradies which brings certain degree of conflict of interest.
5. When searching for a tradesperson’s name online, be sure to check http://abr.business.gov.au/ . There are myriads of stories about people / companies leaving a trail of bankruptcies and unclaimable warranties so it is worthwhile to check who trading name may have belonged to before.
6. It is entirely reasonable to ask for a written, itemised quote, no matter what the value of the job is. This gives you recourse if things go wrong. Confirm with your tradesperson before work starts whether your quote is fixed or just an estimate, and whether or not he is registered for GST (this can be checked at http://abr.business.gov.au/ as well).
7. Ask about warranty.
8. Before awarding the job be sure to check that the tradie is licensed, insured and has valid ABN.
One of the first things is recommend doing is checking for a license. You can easily check for a license online by doing a search at LicensedTrades.com.au. It’s more important to verify the tradesmen’s license rather than qualifications, as the license can be revoked or disqualified by the governing body in the event of a breach.
An exception to that is sub-contractors, such as tilers or pool installers, who can work for someone that holds a license.
As a rule licensed trades person (electrician/plumber) is to have their own liability insurance, an unlicensed worker (gardener, cleaner, handyman) may not have any so you may need to check if your home insurance will cover any unexpected damages to your property. Public liability insurance gives liability protection against third party injuries and property damage caused by the contractor.
9. Before hiring watch out for tradies who:
– Offer very cheap quotes or estimates, as this could mean they’re not experienced enough to give accurate figures;
– Are unwilling to put a quote or estimate in writing;
– Are too keen to start the job straight away (depends, but normally good professionals are in high demand);
– Ask for money up front – a reliable tradie won’t ask you to do this, not even if they need materials;
– Show poor communication and regular tardiness;
– Are one-man-van claiming to do everything. It’s very unlikely one person is actually experienced and an expert in many areas.
10. Agree on progress payments and do not make the final one until the job is 100% complete.
11. Discuss working hours and if anything is to be cleaned at the end each working day or the job itself.
12. Get copies of receipts on goods/materials used. This may help you claim warranty in the future.
13. Request (tax) invoice and don’t forget to leave feedback once your job is finished. Make sure that warranty terms are specified on the invoice.