Finding a skilled tradespersonFinding a skilled tradesperson can be a challenge.  You need to be confident that the person you are letting into your home is an honest professional, well equipped to complete the job.  So what is the best approach to finding a skilled tradesperson at a competitive price? Builderscrack has some useful advice to help you.

Tips and tricks on finding a skilled tradesperson

Unless you are completing a small job, it is important to get three quotes to compare. The best source of recommendations is satisfied customers. Ask around your friends, or use Builderscrack where tradespeople respond when you post details of home renovation or maintenance work you need done.  You can see how customers who have previously used the tradesperson have reviewed and rated them.

When choosing a tradesperson based on their quotes, remember the best price is not always the best value. Take the time to get to know more about each tradesperson and the services they offer. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.

  • Firstly, check that they are established
  • Make sure you know their address and phone number
  • Ask them how long have they been in business?
  • Do they have insurance, which covers damage to your property?
  • Is their work guaranteed?
  • Will they do the work themselves or use sub-contractors?
  • If the trade is a licensed one (i.e. plumber or electrician), then ask to see a license.

If it is a big job, it is important to ask for references and names of previous clients where they have done similar work. Speak to those clients and if possible view the work the tradesperson has done. If you are looking to renovate your kitchen then read our guide on hiring a kitchen contractor.

Before you start, get a written contract!

finding a skilled tradesperson


Make sure you have a written record of any commitments made or assurances given (if you use Builderscrack, all online communications are kept for future reference). When you have finished with the process of finding a skilled tradesperson, make sure you write-up and sign an agreement with them. This should cover:

  • what they will and won’t do for you
  • when they will start and how long they will take
  • what materials are and are not included
  • the agreed final price, which should include GST

This agreement should be jargon-free so if there is anything you don’t understand, always ask questions.

Keeping an eye on your work

finding a skilled tradesperson


After the work has started, it is important to monitor progress – looking over small jobs immediately after completion and checking bigger projects daily, if possible.

Big projects

Hire a surveyor to make occasional checks can be a good idea.

A surveyor can advise on a builder’s claims that unforeseen extra work is necessary.  Any issues should be raised with the tradesperson as soon as they are identified – try not to procrastinate!

Making payment

Take care around how you pay.

Never pay a tradesperson either a large deposit or the full price up front.

On longer jobs, agree a schedule of payments and make sure that your payment at each stage reflects the progress made.  Always retain a proportion of the total payment until the job is fully completed.

finding a skilled tradesperson

Do be fair to the tradesperson and ensure that upon completion of the job to your satisfaction that they are paid in full promptly.  Ask for a signed tax invoice for every payment you make and keep all invoices and receipts.

Finally, a couple of things to be aware of.

  • Don’t use tradespeople who want to do cash jobs. While you may save a small amount, this is not only illegal, but you have limited recourse in the event something goes wrong.
  • A tradesperson who is willing to break one law is likely to be willing to break others.
  • Avoid the fast-talking tradesperson who approaches you at your home claiming to be ‘in your area’.
  • The standard trick involves offering to do a small job (like repair tiles), before “discovering” a larger job is critical (like a new roof is required).
  • Taking some time to post a job on Builderscrack and preview a tradespersons professional history, will save you both time and money in the long run.