Whether your hot water system has burst, the washing machine has died or your air conditioner has stopped working, finding a good tradesperson can be a difficult task. Here, we share how to spot a hopefully trustworthy tradie.
How to find a good tradie
There are certain trades where you must have a valid licence to practise. If you are looking for an electrician, plumber, gas fitter or air conditioner installer, they need to be licensed and certified. What’s more, they need to be licensed for the specific job they are doing – having a plumbing or electrical licence may not be enough for some installation and servicing work. If they aren’t properly licensed, your warranty protections will be limited.
Not all tradespeople are legally required to have insurance, but you want them to be insured if they’re coming into your home. This means that any accidental damage to your home, or to themselves, is covered.
Tradies normally work weekdays from early in the morning until around 5pm, so you may have to take time off work to be at home when they arrive. If the tradie turns up at the time you arranged, and at the right address, it’s a good start. Some tradies will also come over after hours if an emergency happens. And, as anyone who has ever had a plumbing emergency outside business hours will tell you, that can only be a good thing.
If you’re using the tradesperson for the first time ask for the contact details of previous clients, so you can check their work. They provide a written quote You must get a detailed written quote. If a tradesperson won’t give a quote on their company’s official letterhead, move on and keep searching. Any reputable tradie – contracted or self-employed – will offer a professional quote.
Never, ever pay for any work up front. Any tradesperson who tries to convince you to pay before the work is completed is questionable. There are times when you may need to pay a percentage up front in order to buy materials or to confirm the work, but never the full amount.
All good tradies explain what they’ve done, and they usually provide a written version as well. Make sure they provide a guarantee that lists any warranties for works or products. Plumbers and electricians may also need to provide Certificates of Compliance (COC) for the work they carry out.
How many times have you properly read the instructions for a new product – from beginning to end? Tradies know that as soon as they have installed an appliance or repaired equipment, most people ignore it until the next time something goes wrong. A good tradesperson talks you through how to care for your product, so that it lasts as long as possible. Keeping your appliances well-maintained can help save on your energy costs, so can making sure you're on the right energy plan.