The secret to any successful design, renovating or building project is quality tradespeople.
Finding quality tradies can be easy at times and it can also be one of the hardest, most challenging parts of your project.
The financial implications of choosing the wrong tradie can be extreme and following the steps below should help you choose the right trade partners for your project.
1) Start with referrals
When you are looking for a new tradie the best way to find someone great, is to see if anyone you know can recommend someone they have used, that they would happily work with again for similar work.
You can ask your friends, family, colleagues or local hardware stores for tradies they recommend. Another source of referrals could be through business networking groups or your local chamber of commerce, as many professional tradies engage in these groups to grow their businesses.
If you cannot get any word of mouth referrals you can also look on sites such as Home Improvement Pages.
2) Check they are licenced
You should only work with licenced tradespeople. A licence confirms that their business is legitimate, that they are qualified & you can ask to see their qualifications. You need to ensure the people you hire are qualified to ensure their work will be completed in accordance with current legislation i.e. current building codes.
Any residential building work valued at more than $5,000 in labour and materials must be completed by a licenced tradesperson. Also, all specialist work must be completed by licenced tradespeople – which includes all electrical work, all plumbing, draining, gasfitting, airconditioning and refrigeration work.
For more information about licencing and your rights as a consumer you can visit Fair Trading and you can do a free licence check on their site. To check licences across Australia visit Licensed Trades.
3) Check they are insured
Public liability insurance is essential and they must have home warranty insurance in place before taking a deposit on any projects over $20,000.
4) Get feedback from past clients
Ask to speak with past clients and view past work on similar projects if you can. When you are talking to past clients ask them about any quote changes, timeliness, how issues were handled and whether they would use them again. Check for online reviews as well.
5) Get at least 3-5 written quotes
To get a realistic view of the cost of a project you need to see several quotes. It is important to give every person quoting the same brief so that quotes provided should be for the same scope of work.
In some regional areas it can be impossible to get this many quotes as they may only have one or two tradespeople in a specific field. In these cases you might be able to get some comparison quotes by phone, to confirm the prices you are being quoted are fair.
6) Check quotes carefully
It's essential to check quotes carefully as some tradespeople are much more detailed than others. If items are left off the quote and you didn't confirm they were definitely included in writing, you may be charged more than you expected later.
7) Assess professionalism
Use the quoting process to see how each tradesperson treats you as a potential client - you can see if they follow up your quote request promptly, whether they turn up on time and approach the quote professionally, how long it take them to provide you a written quote, did it have all the information requested and whether they answer any additional questions you have quickly.
7) Evaluate value
Whilst price in any project is key, the cheapest quote(s) may end up being the most expensive for a range of reasons, so it is important to consider the items below as you evaluate your options.
Did the quote include everything requested?
Will they turn up on time and complete the job by the agreed dates?
Do they have the level of experience you need, as you may need to pay a premium for skills and experience if you have a project needing high standards of quality workmanship?
Are you confident you will receive quality, professional service? You want to choose tradespeople that care about their work and demonstrate commitment to client satisfaction.
8) Choose local tradies
Wherever possible choose local tradies as they will find it easy to get to and from your project, they will not need to charge travel premiums, or get stuck in long commutes. It will be easy to speak with and possibly visit past clients. They will also know other local tradies to recommend and they should be aware of all local council regulations.
9) Choose brand authorised tradies
Where you are having items repaired or installed, you should make sure your tradie is authorised to install and/or service that brand, as you want to make sure you comply with all warranty requirements.