If you’ve ever built, renovated or even had to do a few simple jobs around the home, you’ve probably come across a wide range of tradies.
We’ve had them all – from Dennis, the electrician who always arrived with a smile, and for whom nothing was a problem, to two other young sparkies who were within an inch of a punch-up in the garden over who was buying lunch.
Jokes about short fuses aside, finding good tradies can prove challenging. Problems over residential building work are the number one source of complaints to the NSW consumer body Fair Trading.
Of the 40,000-plus complaints that the government department receives each year, the number one gripe has to do with residential building work, including major renovations.
Nearly 60 per cent of building-related complaints are about builders, and almost two out of three complaints centre around the tradesperson’s workmanship.
In NSW, former chartered accountant Laorence Nohra thinks she has a solution to the problem of finding good tradies – a referral business that keeps a list of tried and tested tradespeople.
Home Building Complaints – By Cause © State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading 2012
"I grew up with tradies [in my family], so I pretty much always knew who to go to whenever I needed tradespeople around the home," she says.
"But in the corporate world, I found a lot of my colleagues really, really struggling when it came time to look for tradespeople. I was the go-to person in the office whenever someone needed tradespeople."
Nohra, who is 39 but started buying and renovating homes in her early twenties, says she was surprised to find there were virtually no trade-referral services.
Home Building Complaints – By Industry Type © State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading 2012
"You should be able to pick up a phone and just get a plumber, painter, electrician, whatever you want," she says. "It amazed me it didn’t actually exist."
Nohra’s business – Tradebusters – remains relatively small, servicing about 250 requests this financial year, 80 per cent of which have come from women.
Homeowners ring with a job request, and Tradebusters tees up the relevant trades and books in a time for them to visit the homeowner.
Homeowners don’t pay for the service, instead Nohra charges the tradespeople a commission.
Nohra is confident she’s tapping into a genuine need and plans to expand the service into Victoria later this year.
Whether or not this type of service will take off remains to be seen but if the need is as great as the Fair Trading figures indicate, then it certainly stands a chance.
Home Building Complaints – By Defect Type © State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading 2012
For most homeowners, once you’ve lived in your property for a while, you inevitably start building a list of good tradies – usually from desperately needing a plumber at such super convenient times as a Sunday morning after your toddler has flushed a full pack of nappy wipes down the loo.
However, if you are still looking for a good tradesperson, here are some ways to get started:
1. Ask friends and family if they can recommend anyone they have used before.
2. Ask other tradespeople for their recommendations.
3. Specialist stores, such as tile shops, often keep a list of relevant tradespeople, or may be able to recommend some they deal with regularly.
4. Local newspapers can be a good spot to find tradies in your area.
5. Always check whether tradespeople are licensed. You can do this by phoning the relevant licensing body in your state or looking at their online databases.
Story by:Carolyn Boyd a property journalist and keen follower of Australia’s housing market.
Story source: www.domain.com.au