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

by reno on April 12, 2013

DIY Bathroom RenovationIf 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 today, finding workers for your renovation has become easier thanks to the internet.

There are directories which list builders and renovators companies, but many of the directories are of little assistance other than giving you some potential contacts.

Of more use are the new wave of websites that allow you to have multiple local companies quoting and competing for your job.

How do they work?

Each of these websites operate slightly differently, but their basic method of operation is much the same.

Basically you post the detail of the renovation or building job you have on one of these websites with as much detail as you wish to provide.

The website will then match up your location and requirements with local tradies who match your needs.  They will then contact you to arrange a time to quote on your work.

Additionally the better of these websites allow previous clients to post reviews and ratings of each company, which can help you to choose a better tradesman for your job.

Some of the sites also make the tradies provide proof of their trade insurance and their building licenses etc, which can provide further comfort to you when selecting a company.


There are plenty of these websites around and you should have no trouble finding a few via Google.

To make things easier we have put together a list of links to some of the more popular sites below:

I personally have had jobs completed via Service Central and found the experience to be fairly good.  I’ve also had contact with TradePlatform who also seem quite good.

Although these websites can make your job easier, it’s important to remember that they can’t do everything for you.  It is still up to you to choose the tradesman and to be comfortable with them working on your renovation project.


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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Glass Splashbacks

September 27, 2011

When it comes to kitchen renovations, one of my favourite features is the glass splashback. Coloured glass splashbacks are okay, but I’m a big fan of clear splashbacks that you can see through. Of course you need to have something worth looking at on the other side of your glass splashback, but generally anything such […]

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