How to find a good tradie

Article by Homes to Love

A good tradie is an invaluable renovation resource as they’ll save you time and money in the long-run with their building expertise. It’s imperative to set aside some time before the renovation starts to source a good tradie. Here’s how…


First things first

  1. Ask around. If you can’t find a referral through your network, ask a reputable industry body like Master Builders or a major retailer like Resene or Plumbing World who deal with tradies every day. Certified Builders is the only building trade association in New Zealand that requires its members to be trade-qualified for membership.“Thus using a Certified Builder for your alterations ensures they carry a trade qualification,” says chief executive Grant Florence. “Certified Builders also has the market leading Homefirst Guarantee, which means if your builder can’t finish the job we’ll find someone who can. It’s run by an independent insurer – unlike others that run their own in-house schemes.”
  2. When recruiting your renovation team, it’s a good idea to employ locally. (You’ll pay travel time even if it doesn’t appear on the quote.)
  3. The cost of a tradie is job specific. But for general hourly rates by profession is a good resource.


 What to ask when hiring a tradie

  • How many staff do you have? (So you can tell whether they can scale up if necessary due to time pressures.)
  • Who would do the job and who would manage the subtrades?
  • What kinds of guarantees do you give, both for workmanship or products, and for how long?
  • Do you give fixed price quoting?
  • What’s your payment schedule? And deposit required?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • Would I be paying a business or an individual? It is important to understand the position of the person you’re dealing with and what protection you have if you are paying an individual not a company. Also it will clarify the GST position.
  • Ask them to show you some of their work or call some of their past clients, so you can check on their workmanship.
  • One-man band or full gang? If it’s a small job, less is more. Having too many people climbing over each other is counterproductive. If it’s a large job, using a gang of people means you will progress faster. It also means they have the ability to scale up as required.

How to keep your tradies happy

A roof shout and the odd beverage to show your appreciation goes a long way. It’ll benefit you to pay your people well – what they’re worth and more. Remember, you need these people on side. Without them, you won’t get quotes lined up or a renovation completed in the time you want. Your relationships with builders and tradespeople is pivotal to accomplishing a successful, timely renovation. You need to learn their language. To ensure healthy interaction, remember:

  • Do be precise. Know exactly what you want and communicate this in short sentences, without waffle. Most tradespeople have a book of pictures of their work. Use these to communicate your requirements, or show them pictures you’ve ripped out of magazines.
  • Don’t have all your tradespeople at the property together. They hate it and it’s an inefficient use of time.
  • Make sure only one of you (you or your partner) is responsible for communicating with the contractors. This will stop any confusion or double-up.


✔ Hire your builder; project manager; electrician; tiler; plumber and kitchen maker

Words by: Debbie Harrison and Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room. Photography by:

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