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How to choose a tradie for your renovation

09/04/2019

Top 5 questions to ask before hiring a tradie for your home, kitchen or bathroom renovation.

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Choosing the right tradies to complete your renovation can be key to a relatively stress-free remodel of your home. Here are the top 5 questions to ask when selecting your trades: 

1. How much will it be? 

The first step of selecting tradesmen for your renovation is to source at least three quotes and see if what they can deliver is within your budget. Make sure your quote is in writing, includes GST and details exactly what it includes or excludes, for example some painters may quote on one coat of paint instead of two to make their quote appear cheaper on the surface. 

It is also important to understand in this written quote if they will come back and fix any problems after the work has been completed. In most states a guarantee is a legal requirement, however if the trades will not give this guarantee in writing then this should be an alarm bell for you to avoid!

Finally once you are happy and ready to choose your final trades, ensure the quote and inclusions are in writing and signed as legal agreements. This is important as you will need this level of detail to help select the right tradie but also to use as a legally binding document if any questions or issues arise during the build. 

2. How will payments be made?

The written quote should outline the expectations for payments. These usually include a deposit to secure your builder and progress payments against milestones in the project. The Domestic Building Contracts Act of 2000 provides guidelines for upfront deposits stating. 

It is normal throughout the build for a tradie to request payment for materials such as timber or roofing etc. The final payment for the renovation should not be made until the work has been finished and you have inspected and are happy with the finished product. 

3. Timings 

The written agreement should also detail the timing of the renovation with a completion date. The completion date may move but this should only be due to unavoidable circumstances like bad weather, not because the builder took on another job that conflicted with yours.  

4. Experience & references 

When talking to tradies, ask them about their experiences working on jobs similar to yours. This way you know they have relevant experience and you can seek reviews of their relevant work. 

Online reviews are readily available, however some can be fake or give a distorted view because angry clients can be more likely to post a review than those who have had good experiences. Online reviews should considered, but it’s worth completing actual reference checks yourself. 

You should ask tradies for references for the last job they completed, potentially for a job they completed similar to yours or a reference from any repeat customers they may have. These references should give you clear insights into the tradesmen’s credibility and if they are right for your renovation. 

5. Licensing, accreditation and insurance 

Make sure your chosen tradies are licensed and accredited. You can check their licensing through their licensee name/number or business name by visiting Licensed Trades. Licences can be revoked for questionable behaviour, so it’s worth checking their’s is current. 

Some tradies put a lot of effort into their qualifications and accreditation and it’s worth asking if they belong to any industry associations such as the Master Builders Association or Housing Industry Association. 

It’s also wise to check that your tradie has public liability and property/personal insurance, as well as that their certificate is valid and current for the duration of the renovation. This can be a requirement of your construction loan with some lenders, and will protect you against any injuries sustained while renovating or for any damage done to the house. If their certificate expires part-way through your renovation your lender may ask for updated copies to ensure they’re compliant.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Before you act on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. Applications subject to credit approval and fees and charges are payable. Terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

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