Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Finding a Tradie in Adelaide

Tradies SA is website dedicated to helping homeowners in Adelaide and South Australia to find a qualified, skilled and dedicated tradesman.  Visit the Tradies SA Facebook page to find out more.  
Finding a skilled, reliable and helpful tradesman in Adelaide is not always a straightforward business.  There are of course a great number of dedicated and professional tradies out there, but there are, sadly, also those who do not have the appropriate training and qualifications to provide first-class workmanship.  So if you need the services of a plumber, an electrician, or a gas fitter, how do you decide who to use?  What can you do to make an informed decision?  How can you avoid being left high and dry by unfinished or inferior work?

The first step is to ensure that any tradie with whom you are even considering doing business is appropriately qualified and registered, and has an ABN (Australian Business Number).  Builders, plumbers, gas fitters and electricians in South Australia are all required to be licensed by the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs.  Registered tradies will have a licence number, which can be checked and verified by visiting the OCBA website.  On this site, you can enter a tradie’s licence number (or other details, such as their trade name) in order to ensure that their qualifications and authorisation to operate are up to date and that they are properly insured.  Licensing is also an indicator of a tradie’s professionalism - an unlicensed tradesman may have suitable skills, but if they haven’t bothered to become fully registered it suggests that they are not committed to their trade and the development of their business.  If you don’t already have a potential tradie in mind, you can also use the OCBA website to find qualified and licensed tradesmen in your area.

Once you have found some registered tradies, how do you go about working which one is the right person for the job?

Personal recommendations can be invaluable.  Ask friends and family who have had work done who they used, and how pleased they were with the work.  If they would be happy to use them again, then this is usually a very good indicator that the tradie will be up to the job.

Websites can also be a useful guide to getting a feel for the professionalism and reputation of a tradie.  A well-established and reputable tradesman should say on their site how long they have been in business, for instance; some will include a portfolio of their recent projects or the names of business with whom they have worked; you might also find a section on the site offering testimonials from satisfied customers.  These can help to give you confidence in the reliability of their work as well as the level of service they provide.  It is also useful to check out their affiliations with professional industry bodies (e.g., Plumbers Industry Association, etc.), as this helps you to know that they are professional and adhere to appropriate industry standards.

If you are dealing with a larger contractor, it will be useful to get an understanding of how the company is organised.  If you decide to deal with a small firm, or a sole trader, this isn’t necessarily an issue, but if you are looking at larger contractors, a useful question to ask is whether they will be undertaking the work themselves, or sub-contracting it out.  If the latter is the case, it will be important to know that the workers doing the job will be properly trained and supervised.  Enquire as to who will be signing off on the job and how much direct input they will have in ensuring that the work is done properly and to your satisfaction.  In the case of certain types of work, gas fitting or plumbing for instance, you should also make sure that you receive a certificate of compliance at the completion of the job.

Any reputable tradesman will be more than happy to offer you a free quote on any proposed work, and this is a service that you should certainly take advantage of.  If you are really serious about getting a professional job done at the right price, take the time to cast your net wide.  In an ideal world, you should try to get five quotes for a job, but at a push three will help you to get a better understanding of what should be a reasonable charge for the job.

Perhaps the most important point to remember, however, is that the cheapest option is not always the best option.  For instance, if there is a big difference in the quotes you receive, it may make sense to look at the ones in the middle first.  And, if there are significant variations between your quotes, don’t be afraid to ask why this might be the case.  You may discover, for instance, a major difference in the materials being used, or a greater standard of personal service (such as complete site clearance after the work is completed), that accounts for the variance in the quotations.  Break any quote down as far as you can, and make your decision based on value rather than simply cost.

In any discussions with a potential tradesman, you should also have in mind a clear budget for the job (you will often find that there is flexibility in any initial quote) and be clear about your expected timeframe.  Have clear expectations in mind as to how quickly you want the job completed, and make sure that any quote your receive takes this into account.

Finally, it is also important to get a sense that any tradie you seek to engage will be properly focussed on your needs and requirements.  This may well mean that, all other things being equal, your final decision rests on your judgement as to how reliable and efficient you think they will be.  Above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions - find out what a particular tradie thinks sets him apart form his competitors, why he is the right person for the job, or what he thinks his particular strengths and skills are.  This will help you to get as full a picture as possible of their approach to their work and how reliable and efficient you think they will be.  Some jobs are small, others represent a major investment, but in either case it is important that you do all you can to give yourself peace of mind that you have made the right choice in your tradie.

Tradies SA is website dedicated to helping homeowners in Adelaide and South Australia to find a qualified, skilled and dedicated tradesman