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If you’re looking to book a tradie in 2022, read this first.

This year will be the year of catch-22’s for home improvement: there’s heaps of demand, but not enough tradies, and there’s record consents, but not enough materials on hand.

This has resulted in overflowing workloads for tradies, and it presents a slightly different experience for getting work done on your home.

So, how can you get a great outcome for your project in these times?

We’ve got plenty of key takeaways that will help you get a great outcome for your project (and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved).

Let’s get stuck into it!

Tradies are facing material shortages, material price increases and a shortage of skilled labour.

1. They’re under the pump (and really feeling the pressure)

It’s less publicised, but tradies are putting a very real pressure on themselves to maintain their reputation whilst trying to manage things outside of their control.

Right now, their ability to meet clients’ expectations is being challenged by material shortages, material price increases and a shortage of skilled labour to carry out your job.

How to take some of the pressure off:

  • A little bit of kindness and understanding can go a long way.
  • Make it easy for them. This involves accommodating their availability to meet you on site and providing flexibility for when they can realistically start the job.

2. Job timeframes have changed

In this climate, you can expect a good tradie to be booked out for around one to three months. However, there’s always peaks and troughs between larger projects.

If you’ve got a small job (a couple of days’ work) you’ll likely find a tradie with the availability for your project sooner rather than later. As for larger jobs (e.g. a deck or house extension), the new norm is upwards of a month.

How to get your job in the pipeline:

  • Start by really selling your job to potential tradies. You can do this by providing pictures, measurements, and a detailed description with good grammar. Those kinds of details make a great impression, and the less unknowns, the more appealing your job will be to a tradie.
  • Don’t put pressure on them to meet your timeframe. Try asking them what is reasonable and achievable for them. This can prevent over-extending their schedules out of their willingness to always say ‘yes’ for clients.

2022 will be the year of alternative materials.

3. Some materials are hard to come by

It’s going to be the year of alternative materials, so expect to make some compromises. For example, timber fence palings are becoming increasingly difficult to source, according to a number of trades.

While it can be frustrating not getting your first preference, a good tradie will be able to suggest suitable, alternative materials for your project.

How to manage materials shortages:

  • Really lean into the tradesperson’s expertise on what is and isn’t available right now.
  • If you have the time, you can take initiative to ring suppliers to locate specific materials you want for your project.

4. Material prices have gone up

Over the past year, tradies have been absorbing a range of increasing costs, and continuing down this line means a race to the bottom for their business.

Job costs from two years ago compared to present day will be different, and this is largely due to materials.

What you can expect around pricing:

  • You may receive a quote that is valid for 7 days, compared to the traditional 30 days. This is to account for the regular fluctuations in material costs from trade suppliers.
  • If you’re on a budget, ask your tradie what kind of quality or finish you can expect from those materials within your budget. Oftentimes we say we want to spend as little as possible for the best result, but that often means compromising on quality.
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5. Tradies are running multiple threads, including communication with you

Running a successful trade business requires the owner-operator to wear many hats. They’re responsible for balancing their work pipeline which means managing multiple jobs on the go, organising their team, sourcing new work, and catering to client needs — communication being the big one.

It’s typical for a lot of owner-operators to work on the tools or project manage onsite during the day, and then pick up the business operations at night. So with this in mind, you likely won’t get an immediate response to your message.

How to adapt communication to the current climate:

  • In your first conversation with them, you can ask respectful questions like, ‘In what time frame are you responding to messages at the moment?’
  • Be responsive and don’t be afraid to follow up. Once you’ve heard from them, try and get back in touch with them with the details they need to progress.
  • Don’t take a non-response as an indication that they’re not interested in the job. Social messaging has set the precedent for immediate reply, so when it comes to messaging in the trade space, have a bit more patience and willingness to accommodate their daily schedule.

Show that you’re serious about getting the work done, and they’ll be more willing to quote your job.

6. Accurate quoting takes time

Quoting is part and parcel of getting new work — and it’s a necessity for homeowners to know what they can expect — but it remains to be a major pain point for trades.

If your job has stalled at the quote phase, it could be due to insufficient information on your behalf, a lack of time on the tradies behalf or, and perhaps most importantly, a lack of communication around your intentions for the job.

How to go about getting a quote:

  • Do your research on your project. This will make you a very informed client, and that can make all the difference for tradies quoting up your job. It implies you’re serious about getting the work done, and in turn, they’ll be more willing to put in the time and effort to quote your job.
  • Be very clear and honest with your intentions, like how many others you’re getting in to view and price the job. It shows good will, and it also means you’ll have the opportunity to get a good feel for who wants to do the job and who doesn’t.
  • Come back to those respectful questions, like, ‘In what kind of time frame should I expect you to return a quote?’

7. Tradies get stressed, too

No one is exempt from feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and at the end of the day, most tradies are doing their best to show up in life and do the work they’re really passionate about.

Running a business, managing a team and balancing home or family life is a hard-earned skill, and sometimes all we need is the reminder that we’re all only human.

Key takeaway: Balance consideration for the tradie, alongside your expectations.

To wrap up

Do these 7 things to get a great outcome for your job.

  • Accommodate their availability with site visits and be flexible with start dates.

  • In your job post, include pictures, measurements, and a detailed description.

  • Take initiative to ring suppliers to locate specific materials you want for your project.

  • If you’re on a budget, ask what kind of quality or finish you can expect.

  • Have a bit of patience with communication.

  • Be very clear and honest with your intentions around quoting, it shows good will.

  • Balance consideration for the tradie, alongside your expectations.