One of the toughest things about renovating is finding great tradespeople or builders. Unfortunately, problems with tradies and builders can range from not getting back to you on time to inflated quotes and everything in between.
And the problems don’t stop there; shoddy workmanship or jobs that go weeks over promised time frames can really put a dent in your budget. Finding the right team of tradies can be the difference between your renovation being a success or not.
Here’s a few tips to help you make sure you get the right crew working for you.
One of the toughest things about renovating is finding the right tradespeople. Photo: istock
Tip #1: Finding the right professional
Your first port of call should be to ask friends and family for recommendations and feedback on tradies they’ve used. Negative feedback is as valuable as positive and it helps you sort the wheat from the chaff.
If you need a painter, consider asking your local paint supplier for a recommendation. Try the same approach with other trades; ask tile shops for tiler recommendations, lighting and electrical shops for a great electrician and architects or building supply shops for a reliable builder. Suppliers and consultants don’t want to be associated with tradies or builders who don’t perform well, so they usually only recommend those that can be relied upon.
The internet can also be a goldmine for finding tradies if you know where to look. Don’t rely solely on a Google search; the businesses listed on the first page aren’t necessarily the best, they’ve just got great SEO (meaning, they know how to get their website listed first in a Google search).
Best way to find the right tradie? Ask friends and family for recommendations. Photo: Simon Potter
A far better place to start is in property and renovation forums and Facebook communities. Ask members for recommendations, testimonials and feedback on tradies they’ve used. Chances are you’ll be able to narrow it down to a few well-priced, reliable tradies who would suit.
Another online resource is womo – a review-based website where you can search for tradies in your area. HiPages has also been around for a while and has a good reputation. You can input the details of your job and they’ll get three trades to contact you for a quote.
If you haven’t looked at Airtasker before, it’s worth considering for some of the smaller jobs. A lot of tradies will be up to do a job for less money during their quiet periods in the hope that it will lead to more work.
The internet can also be a goldmine for finding tradies if you know where to look. Photo: Jodi Jacobson
Tip #2: Getting quotes
Get more than one quote for each job, but only if you’re not sure about how much to pay for it. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to get three quotes if the people you’re asking to quote come recommended and you have a fair idea of what the job should cost you.
If you need to get more than one quote, make sure you don’t have any scheduling conflicts. Having two tradies turn up at the same time isn’t a good look.
Tip #3: Communicating with your tradie
To ensure you can compare the quotes accurately, make sure you give exactly the same information to each tradie. You can’t compare oranges with bananas, so it’s no good giving three plumbers three different briefs and expecting them to quote on the same job. Which brings me to my next point – communication.
Communication with tradies can be a challenge with most renovators relying on verbal communication. That’s fine, but what happens if you forget to mention a significant (or even minor) detail or the tradie/builder misunderstands some aspects of the job you want done? You need to be crystal clear in your communication to ensure they understand and execute exactly what you’re after.
This is where a detailed renovating plan can be a lifesaver. Include descriptions and items required for every area and phase of the renovation so there are no if’s, buts or maybes during any part of the renovation process.
Consulting a professional to help you prepare a renovating plan (known as a “renovation action plan” at Hotspace) at the beginning of your renovation project won’t break the budget, but it will definitely result in a more streamlined renovation with fewer hassles and minimal cost over-runs.