How to choose the right tradie.
There is always an amount of doubt when engaging in a tradesman for renovations or repairs.
We want to give you some tips and advice on how to spot a good tradesman and what to watch out for. After all, we want to best for all AVL Electrical supporters hopefully this help ease your decision on who to go with.
We’re pretty lucky in Australia – tradespeople undergo extensive training and work to some of the highest standards in the world. Most of the tradies you meet will do a fantastic job and give you outstanding service and value for money.
As with all professions though, it’s still worth knowing how to spot a bad egg – and what you can do both to make tradespeople’s jobs easier and to save yourself money.
So how do you spot a keeper?
What makes a good tradie?
Everyone’s going to need the services of a tradesperson at some point, and if you’re building or renovating you’ll likely end up with an army of them all through the house.
The main things you should look for in a tradesperson are:
- Skills and qualifications– there’s no substitute for experience and training if you’re after a high standard of quality and workmanship. We like to work under the principle of “Do the job like it’s your own house”.
- Punctuality and commitment– the best tradespeople will keep disruption to a minimum by always turning up on time and finishing the job as soon as possible. Not always possible but a good tradie will keep you updated of any hiccups the entire way through the process.
- Attitude and professionalism– respect and personal responsibility are as important in construction trades as they are anywhere. When we see you at the local post office, gym or supermarket, we don’t want to be avoiding you because we know you weren’t happy with our service. We want to be able to greet you with a healthy “hello” and have a friendly chat! We can’t do that if you aren’t completely satisfied with us.
- References– a proven track record is a strong assurance. This also includes “word of mouth” reputation. Believe it or not, our work at AVL is 75% return customers or word of mouth recommendations! Word of mouth is certainly the best advertising tool we have. That is also why we created the recommendations page so you can share in who we deal with and who we recommend. Have a chat with your friends, family and workmates and see who they use and why. Probably the best assurance of a quality tradie you can get!
How to find tradies
Below are a few things you can do to make sure you’re hiring the best people for the job:
- Get a few quotes– The more quotes you get the better. Our quotes are free and better yet, can be booked online 24/7. Just click on the “request a quote” title, fill out the form and we will contact you within 24 hours to organise a convenient time to get a quote done. If you are unsure and what something should cost, get as many quotes from different companies and compare. Don’t just settle on the cheapest quote either, see what is included with all the quotes. The cheapest quote is not always the best value for money. Make sure that the companies you choose are fully licensed and insured.
- Get a written quote – When you’re requesting quotes, ask for a breakdown of the costs and use your head to decide who’s best. Before any work starts, make sure you get a written quote (i.e. a contract) specifically outlining what you need to be done, and when payment’s due. There’s no reason you can’t insist on it. For most of us, spending thousands of dollars is more than enough reason to be careful.
- Choose a local tradie– For smaller jobs, it makes far better sense to look for tradespeople who normally service your area and type of work. Make sure you use the right type of company. For example, don’t get a mining electrical company to come and install a light in your bathroom. There is a huge amount of legislation that governs our work and you should want to use a company that specialises in that category. This saves money and ensures your work is done safely, efficiently and to a high standard.
- Listen to word-of-mouth – There are millions of reviews and testimonials on the web, but we’d guess that at least half are secretly penned by friends and family… Get a genuine recommendation from someone you trust. Ask friends or colleagues, or see if anyone on Facebook can recommend someone. If you’re having a bigger job done, chances are the builder you’re dealing with already has a team of tradespeople they trust and work well with too.
- Ask to see qualifications– Asking to see qualifications or licenses might feel awkward, but that shouldn’t stop you. Qualifications and licenses exist for a reason. Tradespeople shouldn’t have any problem showing you – or with you politely checking their credentials with the local licensing authority. If they do have a problem with this, you may be best to look elsewhere.
- Get some samples of past work– If you’re getting a new bathroom done, a new parquetry floor put in or something similar, ask to see some examples of the tradesperson’s past work. If you can, tee something up so that you can see their work first hand.
- Confirm they have public liability insurance– Most trades involve a bit of risk, and accidents can happen no matter how careful or skilful a tradesperson is. Ensuring that the tradespeople you employ have public liability insurance means that they’ll be adequately covered in case they cause any damage to your property or injure anyone.
- Ask for references– This is important for big building and renovation jobs. If you’re trusting someone with your life savings (and overdraft), make sure you get some genuine references from past clients who are willing to vouch for your builder in writing. Ask them how much they went over their original budget.
- Get the right tradesperson for the brand– If you’re having something fixed or serviced (like a hot water unit, for example), you’ll probably void your warranty if the tradesperson you’re choosing isn’t officially authorised to service it. For any service job, contact the installer or manufacturer and ask them to recommend a trusted tradesperson.
How to be a good client
Tradie / client relationships are a two way street. If you’re not properly prepared, it’ll cost you more, frustrate the people you’re hiring and may unnecessarily sour the whole experience.
To uphold your end of the bargain, you should:
- Give a detailed briefing– Make sure you’re as clear and detailed as possible about the work that needs to be done when you’re getting a quote. If you’re thinking of particular fittings, colours, sizes or brands make sure you communicate this before a contract’s signed. Don’t be frightened to send a detailed scope of works to be done on an email – this is as good a discipline for you as it is for the tradie from a costing perspective.
- Be sure about what you want– If you change your mind about something when work’s already started or you ask for variations to the contract, expect to pay much more for it! Some tradies make a living out of initially costing low and charging exorbitant amounts for variations because they know the customer will change their mind during the project.
- Consider any other work you need done– Getting a plumber in? Get him to fix your leaky taps and check the sacrificial anode in your hot water service while he’s there. This will save you the expense of another callout.