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Choosing an Electrician

by reno on January 15, 2019

Almost any renovation is going to involve some electrical work, which means you’re going to need an electrician.

Many renovators love the DIY approach, but this is a big no-no for electrical work. Not only is it illegal, but it’s deadly!

So how do you choose the right electrician for your renovation job?

Electrician renovating a kitchen.

Finding an Electrician

There are plenty of different ways to find an electrician. There’s the old school methods such as word-of-mouth and Yellow Pages (is that still around?!)

But many people go online now. Not just the online Yellow Pages, but the many ‘find a tradie’ type websites which are around now.

Some of these sites just give you a phone number or an email address (just like an online directory) whilst some actually allow you to post your job and have tradies submit proposals for your job.

One of the most well known services of this type is hipages. Others that are less well known, but still big, include One Flare and Service Seeking.

Whether you should go with one of these options, or go with the more traditional methods, really depends on your preference.

If you like to speak with a tradie on the phone to explain your job and get a feel for them, then you might be better of finding an electrician via word-of-mouth or a directory.

But if like many people you’re now used to doing everything online and prefer not to initiate a phone call, then the online services which allow you to post your job might be more suitable.

Checking Their Licence

So once you’ve found an electrician you need to make sure they’re actually qualified.

In theory this is pretty easy, as most states in Australia require that electrical contractors are licensed, and in order to be licensed they need to be qualified.

So if your electrician can show you their licence, then you can be fairly sure they are trade qualified.

Are They Insured?

Things can go wrong during electrical work, so it’s important to ensure your sparky has the right insurance in place.

As the customer, the insurance you need to be most concerned about is public liability.

This form of electrician insurance will cover events were the tradie has caused property damage or personal injury to you or other third parties on your property.

Checking your electrician’s public liability insurance is easy. Just ask them for a copy of their certificate of currency. Any reputable sparky will have no issues providing this to you.

Checking Their Reviews

Unless you’re using an electrician that has been recommended to you by someone else, you might want to look into their reviews before using them.

There are plenty of ways for people to leave reviews for a business online, so that’s the first place to start looking.

Search for the electrician’s name or business name in Google and see what comes up. If anyone has left reviews via Google, they should show up here.

Next up find their profile on Facebook and any other social medial networks. These can also yield good (or bad) reviews about the business.

Some of the ‘find a tradie’ websites we listed above also show reviews and ratings for tradies. So even if you don’t want to use those websites, you might want to check them out anyway to view the reviews.

Best of luck in your search for an electrician for your renovation project!

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Making life easier when working with tradies

by reno on November 30, 2015

Renovating can be a very exciting time, but there will almost always be issues along the way.

One such issue is money between you and your tradies.

Budget Living Room Renovation

A common problem that I personally have run into is where the amount quoted does not match the final invoice.

What causes such problems?  Most of the time it comes down to poor communication between the parties, particularly at quote time.

Main issue

One of the major issues is where your understanding is different to the tradie’s understanding.

For example I had a paint & plaster business come out to quote on a range of works.  I specifically chose a business that did both plastering and painting as I wanted them to fix any little issues in the walls and ceilings before painting.

However when the tradies turned up to do the work, they had a totally different understanding of what the job was compared to what I thought the job was.

Personally I believe the issue here is that the tradie (who was also the business owner) who quoted the work did not take enough notice of what I actually wanted, or perhaps didn’t ask enough questions about the renovation work.

From my perspective, he is the expert, not me.  He should be asking in detail exactly what I want rather than just making assumptions.

Perhaps the issue is particularly prevalent with tradies who mostly deal with builders rather than the general public?  They may be used to builders explaining exactly what needs to be done, but when dealing with the general public they are not good enough at ‘discovering’ what the client actually wants.

Of course it’s the client’s job to tell the tradie what they want, but the tradie should still know the right discovery questions to ask to ensure the job is being quoted (and subsequently completed) as the client wanted.

And you know the crazy thing?  If the tradie did a better job of really understanding what I wanted, he would have been able to quote and charge higher, because I wanted a more comprehensive job done than what he simply assumed I wanted done…

Emails are good!

The second issue is where you tell the tradie exactly what you want done as part of your renovations, and for whatever reason he just doesn’t quote on it.

We also had this issue recently, but thankfully we confirmed via email before work started.

In this case we actually explained the additional work we wanted done, and the tradie seemed to understand it completely.

When the quote came through via email, it didn’t specifically mention this additional work.  I emailed back, and received a reply confirming that the extra work was included.

We accepted the quote, but when the tradie (not the same one who quoted us) turned up, he had no idea about the additional work and said it was not included in the quote.

Thank goodness we had the email, and it was agreed that the work should be completed as we had requested.

If we didn’t have that email, I bet we wouldn’t have had the same outcome!

So the big lesson here is that if you need to clarify anything in the quote, make sure it’s done in writing and not just a phone call with the tradesman.

The flip side

Of course tradies have a thousand stories from the other side, where the client has been at fault.

I have no doubt that plenty of clients do a poor job of explaining what they want, and end up with issues.

But if you explain everything as best you can, and the tradie doesn’t ask the right questions to clarify the job, then they have to take some responsibility.

My tips

  • Ask the tradie plenty of questions about what work they are going to undertake
  • Ask them exactly what they will be doing (and what they won’t be doing!)
  • Ask that the written quote is very clear on what is included
  • When seeking clarification on the quote, use email where possible

Getting the scope right for the work you want done is really the responsibility of both you and your builder/tradie, but in my opinion the more you can do yourself upfront, the more you’re going to save yourself down the track.


Get Renovation Quotes Online

April 12, 2013

If you’ve ever gone through a major renovation you’ll know how much of a chore it is to find good tradesmen. If you’re lucky you’ll have a friend or someone you know who can recommend a tradesman that they have used in the past.  If not, you’re on your own! But as with many things […]

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Checking a Tradie’s Insurance

December 6, 2012

If you’re planning on hiring a tradesman for renovation work on your home there a number of things you need to check before they start. Of course you’ll want to see examples of their past work and confirm that they hold the relevant qualifications and licenses, but there is one extra thing that many people […]

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Is The Renovators Coming Back In 2012?

June 19, 2012

Fans of The Revovators TV show are asking, is our favourite show coming back in 2012, or ever? There was plenty of speculation around in late 2011 / early 2012, but it’s now June and it’s probably safe to say that the show is not coming back this year. The official website hasn’t been updated since the […]

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Protective Equipment for Renovators

February 24, 2012

When renovating at home it’s easy to ignore some of the basic safety clothing that should be worn. It has happened to us all before.  We start looking at something that needs some work done, we start playing around with it, and before we know it we’re stuck into the job and still wearing thongs […]

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Removing or Replacing a Pool

December 8, 2011

Do you have a pool in your yard that no longer gets used? Generally when talking about renovating we are installing pools, but in today’s Renovators article we will be talking about the opposite – removing a pool. A pool is seen by many people as a great addition to their home, especially in the […]

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Asbestos Dangers When Renovating

November 10, 2011

DIY renovators have been warned of the dangers of asbestos in the wake of recent reality renovation TV shows such as The Renovators and The Block. Backed by asbestos campaigners, Senator Lisa Singh told Parliament: “These shows have an obligation to tell people that asbestos can be found in fibro sheeting, water, drain and flue pipes.” […]

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Budget Renovations

October 24, 2011

After watching the recent renovation reality TV shows like The Block and The Renovators it’s easy to think that to renovate you need a big budget, a team of tradies and the ability to knock down walls to transform a home. But the truth is that you can make fantastic improvements  to your home with […]

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The Renovators

September 28, 2011

Guest blog post. I’ve really been trying to get into The Renovators TV show this year, but it’s just not working for me! Whilst The Block was still on air I tried to catch The Renovators as often as possible, and I figured that when The Block finished I would happily switch to The Renovators […]

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