What do I look for when choosing a tradie?

Whether your hot water system is on the blink or you are planning a major home renovation, choosing the right tradesperson is one of the most critical decisions a homeowner will make.

Picking the right tradesperson can be daunting for many homeowners. So how do you find that unicorn plumber, electrician or builder who turns up on time, has the necessary qualifications and completes the job to the highest standard at an honest price?

Begin by doing your research. A little groundwork before construction begins can save plenty of time, money and unwanted headaches later. Start by asking family, friends and trusted colleagues for recommendations. Alternatively, websites such as airtasker.com.au, hipages.com.au and ServiceSeeking.com.au provide a network of qualified pros across a variety of trades.

The next step is to obtain a minimum of three quotes. Many plumbers, builders and electricians will follow unwritten industry pricing guidelines. However, labour costs can vary wildly. Obtain multiple estimates to avoid overpaying and better understand the prevailing market rate. Also, ensure you fully understand the scope of work included in each quote to accurately compare prices. Always ask for examples of previous work. Better still, seek honest feedback from family, friends or other previous customers you trust.

And before giving your preferred tradie the job, double-check his or her qualifications for peace of mind. For example, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission allows consumers to confirm the qualifications of their prospective tradesperson before making a final decision.

Also, check the tradesperson’s payment schedule to avoid any unwanted surprises down the track. Never pay your tradie in full before the work is completed. However, it is not unusual to provide a small deposit, while for bigger jobs it is also common to pay installments upon the completion of mutually agreed construction milestones.

Another handy hint is to verify the cost of any materials included in the quote. One phone call to a supplier to get a direct quote on materials could potentially save a homeowner hundreds of dollars or more.