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How to choose a suitable tradie?

20th Jul '20 • By Rohit Mankame

Choosing a suitable tradesman can be daunting. Learn how to choose the right tradesman for your project and how you can save you a fortune!

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Choosing a suitable tradie can be a daunting task and can often cost a fortune if not properly researched beforehand. Builders, carpenters, painters, electricians and many more are collectively called tradies. Finding the right team of tradies can be the difference between your renovation being a success or not. So, how do you go about choosing your tradie?

Steps in choosing a tradie

1. Find a professional 

Your first call will be to ask for advice and input from friends and family on the tradies they used. 

When choosing a professional tradie, acquaint yourself with their qualifications. A successful candidate will be trained and have useful experience in their industry. The person you should also have references for you to check.

If you need a painter consider asking for a recommendation from your local paint supplier. Take the same approach for other trades; ask tile shops for tiler tips, lighting and electrical shops for a fantastic electrician. Suppliers and contractors do not want to be affiliated with tradies or builders who are not doing well, so they generally recommend only those who can be counted on.

2. Get quotes

Start by giving each tradesman a detailed written description of the work to be carried out. To ensure that you can accurately compare the quotes, make sure that each tradie is given precisely the same detail. Get written estimates from at least three different Tradesmen. This ensures that each tradesman has the same instructions to work and estimate on. Some jobs require the use of a handyman and you should know how hiring a handyman can save you a bundle.


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3. Agree on a fixed budget

Before starting on your project, discuss the breakdown of all jobs included and get a budget for all of them. Each estimate must include price, including a breakdown of labour and materials, start time of job and a completion date, security and safety, catering and lavatory arrangements, disposal of waste materials and hours of working.

Ask each tradesman to provide at least three references and check them. Try to view their work, and use your intuition to try and tell if this is a true representation of their work, not a friend or relative showing work another tradesman did, ask lots of questions.

4. Sign a contract 

Always sign a contract with your tradesperson. This ensures that the costs and terms of the project are agreed upon before the commencement of the project and thus cannot be changed without the agreement of both parties.

If an expensive job is sought a written contract must be demanded by you covering all aspects of work to be undertaken, use of a solicitor is recommended.

tradie with orange jacket

5. Make sure that tradie has insurance 

Don't ever believe that your tradie has the insurance cover available because it may turn out to be a very costly mistake. Remember that even the best tradies can make mistakes or have accidents. Be sure the tradie is covered before beginning the work, and check for specifics of their insurance certificates.

Make sure the tradesman is adequately insured for any problems that could arise. Ask for their insurance certificate and take their details. If you’re still not happy call their insurance provider and check it up. They should have general liability insurance, which covers them from accidents and physical harm by third parties, and the expense of a court action.

6. Check their licences

It is actually compulsory for them to hold a licence for certain occupations, regardless of the merit of the job they do. That includes plumbers, builders, gasfitters and everybody who does the jobs of refrigeration and air conditioning. Many other vendors do require a licence to do business at home, although that differs from state to state, so it's wise to consult with the local licencing authority before you start getting quotes. 

A licence gives you peace of mind that they have the right certification and experience for your work, so get in the habit of asking the question. has quality management procedures in order to guarantee the integrity and qualification of all companies for their respective jobs.

7. Do not rush 

Avoid a cash deposit - in most cases it shouldn't be needed, if you do pay money up front or after each stage of a job, agree in advance how and when payment will be paid and keep to the agreement. Make sure you get a receipt for each payment.

Don't be hurried into a decision. If the tradesman isn't prepared to discuss your work, don’t use them, you need to be able to communicate with your tradesman to make sure you get what you’re paying for. If you feel that they are not carrying out your instructions stop them working and talk to them until you are satisfied they understand you.

tradie with red helmet and blue shirt

Tradie FAQs

Are you licensed for the job?

A licence gives you peace of mind that they have the right certification and experience for your work, so get in the habit of asking the question.

Do you have references I can follow up?

A good professional will be qualified in their field and have valuable experience. The person you choose should also have references.

Can you provide a quote?

Take the time to obtain more than one quote. Speak to your professional so you are able to familiarise yourself with them and their work. 

These questions will help you get rid of the bad eggs and enable you to recruit the right person for the job. 

For fast access to reputable local experts, just use the website and remove the risk out of your choices.

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