6 questions to ask a tradie before you hire them

Top tips on what, when and how much?
Getty images

Outsourcing jobs around the home to specialty tradespeople can be nerve-wracking – where to start and what questions are OK to ask? Follow this simple checklist to get to the nuts and bolts of deciding who to call, how long it will take and what you can expect to pay.

Whether it’s a full-scale renovation you’re undertaking or you are employing a tradesperson for the first time, you may not be confident in what to ask, or how to make sure you will get the best outcome. We spoke to Ben Cole, Director at NewGen Solar & Heat Pumps and leading Sanden Eco Plus Dealer, who shared six questions you need to have answers to before working with a tradesperson.

6 questions to ask a tradie before you hire them
(Credit: Getty images)

1. Are they a registered practitioner and will you receive the appropriate compliance certificate(s) for the completed works?

“It is very important to check that the tradesperson is fully qualified and a registered practitioner with the relevant authority/industry body,” says Ben. “In most states plumbers and electricians are required to lodge and provide you with a compliance certificate for their completed work.”

“A tradesperson seeking to avoid a compliance certificate is a red flag – their work may not be compliant, could be unsafe for your family and fail an audit.”

Ben Cole, Director at NewGen Solar & Heat Pumps

2. Are they insured?

“This is one of the most important questions you can ask before working with a tradesperson,” says Ben. “If they are not insured and something goes wrong, you could be held liable. Never work with an uninsured tradesperson, regardless of possible cost savings or promises of quality work.”

6 questions to ask a tradie before you hire them

3. What is their timeline?

Ben suggests establishing a starting date and finishing date before your tradesperson begins work. “Authority/industry will prevent them dragging out the work and costing you more money than you budgeted for,” he says. “Do they return your phone calls and respond to emails in a timely manner? Are they professional in their communication and customer service? The level of their administration is often proportional to the reliability and professionalism of a tradesperson. These are important things to consider.”

4. Do they have good reviews?

“These days one of the best ways to determine whether a tradesperson is reliable and good to work with is by reading their online reviews,” says Ben. “Look up their reviews on Google, Trust Pilot and Word of Mouth and see what other people’s experiences have been when working with them.”

6 questions to ask a tradie before you hire them
(Credit: Getty images)

5. Are they providing a fixed quote? 

“When accepting a quote it’s wise to confirm whether this a ‘fixed quote’ or merely the tradesperson estimate of costs,” says Ben. “While a ‘fixed quote’ (i.e. no extra costs to be incurred by you, the customer, for agreed works) is highly preferable, the nature of some projects is that additional work and/or materials might be appropriate to give you the best outcome.”

“Check with the tradesperson on the likelihood of any additional costs and ensure you will be made aware of these costs before they carry out the additional works.”

Ben Cole, Sanden Eco Plus Dealer

6. What savings/improvements can you expect?

Home improvements and updating appliances can not only make your home more comfortable they can also save you big dollars on energy bills. When it comes to your hot water energy costs for instance, the Sanden Eco Plus Hot Water Heat Pump can save you up to 80% on your bills when compared with a conventional electric storage hot water system, a cost saving which can be put back into the home for future projects.  Of course, for savings to really count the installed product has to be reliable and long-lasting, so look for products that have long warranties in their class.

6 questions to ask a tradie before you hire them
(Credit: Simon Whitbread)

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