Looking at renovating and need some trade workers to help out? Here are some tips on how to pick a good one!
Price them up
Don’t plan on parting ways with potentially big sums of money without doing your research first. You wouldn’t buy a car without shopping around and the same approach should be taken when considering the services of a builder, plumber or sparky. Ask for detailed written quotes which spell out parts, labour and tax. Be assertive and make it clear that shady operators need not apply. Be mindful of choosing the cheapest option too – often good operators know their worth and charge accordingly.
Mr or Ms Congeniality
Depending on the size of the project you’re planning, you’ll likely spend a reasonable amount of time in this person’s presence and could also, potentially, face some tricky conversations about money. Make sure a tradie you choose is someone you can work and communicate with. Obviously you don’t need to be BFFs, but you do need to be able to raise areas of concern – be it budget, quality or scheduling – without fear of unpleasant conflict. My builder was easygoing and as keen to get a great result as I was – that made it so much easier to point out little details I was unsure of, and meant I increasingly trusted his judgment and experience.
Word of mouth
Every tradesman worth his or her salt knows that word of mouth is their invisible frenemy. A personal recommendation is a powerful tool, especially for smaller, independent operators. People generally love to share the details of a job well done but bear in mind they can be less forthcoming about a sub standard experience. Try and back up one good recommendation with another to be doubly sure you can give the tradesman the green light.
Tick tock they’re on the clock
Does that electrician hang about wagging his chin instead of wielding his tools? Bear in mind that when he’s on the job he’ll be on an hourly rate (unless you agree a fixed sum) so really you want less conversation and more motivation to get the job done. Time is money, for both the sparky and you. Set the tone during your initial consult by sticking to the topic at hand as much as possible.
Also, if a tradie says they’ll be at yours at a certain time, hold them to it. You may not always be around to await their arrival – you don’t want to be late to your own job because they didn’t turn up on time for theirs.