It would certainly be nice if all tradespeople delivered great results for a great price - but we all know that's not the case. So, how do you get what you are after?
Your top priority - quality or price?
First thing to consider is how much quality matters for the particular job. For some jobs, there is little or no risk if the job is not done too well. Good examples are rubbish removal, simple cleaning jobs or even lawn moving. There is not so much that can go wrong and the lowest price can win the day.
However, get your toilet fixed by a shabby operator and you might find your basement flooded with... the point is, if there is a risk that things can go wrong, you need to find the Craftsman. You need somebody capable, licensed and insured.
There are still people around saying they are licensed for the job when they are not. Fortunately, checking licenses is quick and easy, so you should always do it. Many licences can be checked online. Go to
- Service NSW for all NSW Builder or tradesperson's licences.
- Energy Save Victoria for electricity tradespeople, plumbers or gasfitters in VIC
- the website of the licensing body and give them a quick call.
The same applies to insurance - make sure you sight all insurance certificates before signing any contract. If something doesn't look right, make the quick call to the insurance company. Even if you trust a tradie 100%, bad things outside of their control can happen (i.e. they can die - sorry for being harsh, but it happens), so insist on insurance for all but the simplest of jobs. In some cases insurance is compulsory (public liability and home warranty insurance).
Where to search
1. Word of mouth
This is the best option, right? Your friend will recommend you a top bloke who will charge you mates rates and you are onto a winner! Or, things will go wrong, and you will end up with a shabby job and one friend poorer.
Just because somebody did a good job once doesn't mean that they can do everything well. So, don't skip your due diligence. How much does your friend really know the tradie? Do they have the skills and experience to do what you need well?
2. Advertisements in your local newspaper
Careful here. Anybody can buy an ad in a paper. There is a particular group of over-charging tradesmen who place cunning ads designed to catch the trusting customer in a time of need.
You sit at the computer, insert a short description of the job in the browser and off you go on your journey - paved with a zillion of websites, advertising, photo galleries, long texts, promises and offers.
This option requires some computing power, lot of time and patience. You embark on a quest of ringing around only finding out that they have retired or they are too busy to accept the job or they cannot be bothered returning your call or... Moreover, as with the option #2, there is no way to check the tradesmen reputation (apart from reviews on their websites - and nobody should trust those).
4. Tasking websites
Why bother finding tradies - make them find you! Post your job on one of the tasking websites such as ServiceSeeeking, Oneflare, Airtasker or Hipages and let tradies contact you. Tradies are basically competing for your job, sending you quotes or, in case of AirTasker, they are accepting price offered by you.
Go for it, if quality doesn't matter (Still remember the beginning of this article?). What can go wrong with a demolition? The catch is in the jobs that require some level of expertise. Don't be swayed by a cheap quote - you might get what you pay for.
From a tradie's perspective, using tasking websites is time consuming and over-the-top competitive. Most tradies won't use them unless they really need work badly - and good, qualified tradies with a track record rarely get that desperate for jobs. So, yes, will end up with your 3, 5 or 7 quotes - but from tradies ranging from fraud to average.
5. Somewhere special
Lastly, let's promote ourselves a little. HERO.WORK aims to bring a fair and efficient system to everyone involved - customers and tradies. It has features that tradesmen and tradeswomen benefit from even if they don't need work. It tries to save everybody's time.
We don't force our service providers to quote over and over. Tell the website what you need and price estimates from up to 5 member tradies will be generated. Book with who looks best to get an accurate quote. If things don't work out, pick somebody else.
Is it really easiest for all? You won't know if you don't try!