One thing I hear about time and time again in my line of work is just how hard people find it to source someone good to do the work on their property renovation.
BY ANA STANKOVIC
So the first question is, what constitutes “good’’ in the construction
industry? For most of us, it’s:
- Being on time and phoning when you say you will.
- Meeting all building, health and safety regulations.
- Being prepared to stand by the quality of your work.
- Cleaning up after yourself.
There’s also giving realistic quotes, so that there are no budget blowouts where possible. Sounds like something that would fit under normal expectations for most other industries, yet sadly that isn’t always the case with the construction industry. And if you manage to get someone who will meet most, if not all of those criteria, ‘wow’. Those trades are worth their weight in gold.
So where do you start looking?
Well the truth is that most of the time the place not to start looking for them is in the Yellow Pages? Why? Because in most cases those trades don’t need to advertise. They get most of their business through word of mouth and referrals and will be constantly busy. The clients will source them out rather then them having to go out looking for work. And they’ll most likely have a waiting list as well, so make sure you’re prepared in advance and can give them some lag time.
A good place to start looking for them is through your own networks of contacts. Has anyone else done similar renovations recently and how happy have they been with the people who did the work? Did they get all the relevant certificates from them at the end? Was the building inspector happy with the quality of the work? How expensive were they? Would they use them again? Your friends and acquaintances will be honest with you about their experiences so make sure you ask them and find out if there are people they’d recommend.
If none of your friends have renovated recently or don’t have people that they would be happy to recommend, than another good place to try is through specialist supply stores. All tradespeople have to get their tools and materials from somewhere, and if you go to a specialist store (i.e. plaster supplier) they will most likely be across who the people are that do the most work in the area and will also very likely know of the quality of their work through various sources. So that’s not a bad place to begin your search.
And don’t forget to chat to your other tradies. If you have someone who you’ve been happy to use, there’s a good chance that they’ve worked with various other tradespeople on other jobs and are likely to know other good tradies. Like attracts like. If they’re a methodical, hardworking individual with attention to detail and good work ethic they’ll most likely only want to recommend similar service providers. So don’t be afraid to chat to them and ask their opinion.
And if you get stuck, look up some forums. There are a lot of them around to do with property investing and renovation, and members are always happy to share their good and bad experiences.
And lastly don’t forget to look after the good tradesperson you do find. Pay them on time and pay them what they’re worth, especially if you want to have a chance to use them again. Just like stories get out about bad tradies, it’s the same for clients. Tradies get to know who the clients are that don’t treat them fairly and none of the good ones want to work for them.
If they go out of their way to work late or outside of normal working hours or help you out where they may not have needed to (such as recommending others) make sure you acknowledge that and let them know you appreciate it. We like giving our workers little gifts because then they know that we’re grateful for their effort and they’re more likely to make time for our jobs and go out of their way again if necessary.
Similarly we like having a barbecue at the end of our own renovations to which we invite everyone that helped make that deal happen from mortgage broker, to solicitor to tradesperson to real estate agent, etc. This not only says thank you from us, but also gives them a chance to get to know each other and work better together as a team with all future projects.
Ana Stankovic is well known as one of Australia’s leading renovating-for-profit specialists and is regularly featured in prominent industry publications, expos and continually educates investors. To find out more or sign up for Ana’s free newsletter, visit www.RenovateAndProfit.com.