You probably don’t need to look very far to find a story about a dodgy tradie.
Whether it’s simply that they never turned up, or a horror story where they left the place worse than before, unfortunately, the cliché of the dodgy tradie is a little too real.
On the other side of things, if you were to talk to some tradies, they would probably reveal equally horrific stories of clients constantly changing their minds or never paying. Clients can be just as much of a nightmare as those that they hire.
The point is that if you’re getting some work done on or around your house you want to make sure that you’re getting a quality job at a reasonable price, and the materials don’t build themselves. Finding a good tradie is the difference between a pleasurable experience with a satisfying outcome and a horror story that will remain with you for some time.
Here are some things to think about to give yourself the best chance of finding a good tradie, and then how to hold on to them!
Ask your friends
One of the best ways to know if a tradie is going to bring the goods, so to speak, or not is to have some inside information from someone who has hired them before. Word of mouth is invaluable. It’s worth asking questions such as:
Did they finish the job on time? How was the quality of the work? How close to the budget were they? Anything you think is worth knowing?
If you don’t know anyone personally, it could be worth asking to talk to previous clients. While no one loves to have their past investigated too intensely if they’re overly reticent to give you details of anyone they’ve worked with, perhaps it would be normal for your eyebrows to be raised in suspicion somewhat.
This is particularly pertinent for bigger jobs. If you’re hiring someone to change a lightbulb there’s probably not a whole lot that can go wrong. If you’re renovating a bathroom or building a new deck then it’s definitely worth being prudent with your insurance checks.
Do some research
The more you’re involved and the more you know, the better chance you’ll find a tradie sent from heaven. Making sure they’re licensed is a simple and obvious first check.
At Licensed Trades, you can easily check if your prospective tradie is licensed, and holds the right license for the work they’re about to do. It’s not uncommon that a carpenter, say, is trying to get some work that actually requires a building license, for example.
Do your due diligence. It could save you all sorts of headaches and horror stories!
Don’t just get one, get at least three. Quotes can vary from extremely low to way too high. Don’t be fooled by the extremely low quote – there’s every chance that it’s just a desperate bid for the job and there’s no way it can get done to the level of their proposal. If you have at least three quotes you’ll have a true idea of what a reasonable price is (Hint: it will probably be the one closest to the middle)
While negotiation is always possible, trying to grind your tradie down to their lowest price is not necessarily going to end up in your favour. Paying a fair price for good work means whoever you hire will want to do the best work they can. If you push them too low don’t be surprised if next time you’re looking to hire a tradie no one returns your calls!
Get it in writing
Make sure everything is in a written contract. When difficulties arise, which is more likely the rule rather than the exception, you want things to be literally in black and white on paper.
Keeping your tradie
Let’s say you’ve found a good tradie and they’re doing or have done excellent work. This is a relationship you want to keep strong. There are a few simple rules of thumb.
First, pay on time. This work can get expensive, and you can just as easily make a tradies’ life hell as they can yours.
Second, don’t change your mind too much. Sure, things change, but drastic and regular changes of mind will only make things more expensive and more frustrating for everyone involved. Get a clear picture of what you want in your mind, and stick to it as much as you can.
That’s it! Here’s to many more future fruitful client-tradie relationships!