The number of homeowners that feed unscrupulous tradies continues to escalate. Government agencies across the country like Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs are being inundated with thousands of complaints regarding poor workmanship from tradespeople.
In the 2011/2012 financial year Australian government agencies received over 40,000 complaints, with the most prevalent concern relating to residential building work. NSW Fair Trading received over 8,000 complaints during this time period.
Laorence Nohra, CEO of Tradebusters, who is a qualified Chartered Accountant, helps manage hundreds of home improvements jobs for homeowners each year. She said, "These statistics can be significantly reduced if due diligence is exercised when selecting a tradie. Homeowners continue to keep feeding jobs to dodgy tradies instead of using basic common sense before they start home improvements."
"It pays to get it right the first time. In many instances it can cost homeowners a lot more money to rectify poor quality workmanship or to complete unfinished jobs. In addition, the associated process of lodging formal complaints to government agencies as a fall back when things do go wrong is an added taxpayer cost, potentially running into the millions of dollars annually."
Ms Nohra continued, "Times are tough. Homeowners are looking for ways to save money. We have experienced several homeowners coming to Tradebusters to help rectify issues unqualified tradespeople have created. Interestingly, many will admit they made their selection on price alone and that they even felt suspicious about the tradie but went ahead anyway."
"The key is getting the selection process right from day one and saying ‘no' to the tradie that behaves in a suspicious manner, no matter how good the offer might seem. This in turn saves time, stress and money. In all my years of personally renovating and helping others with their home improvements I have never had a horror story. Homeowners need to take responsibility for their own decisions."
Tips to avoid dishonest tradies:
- Engage only known tradies who have the appropriate qualifications for the job they are undertaking.
- Ensure a stringent screening process is in place. Identify a set of strict criteria that must be adhered to.
- Personally review examples of the tradesperson's work especially for major projects. Don't rely on testimonials and pictures alone.
- Confirm, if there is a problem, that the chosen tradesperson will return to rectify the problem at their cost.
- Trust your instincts - if they look and behave in a dishonest manner, are offering a cash deal or promising to undercut any quote without even looking at the job - alarm bells should start to ring.
"We aim to bring credibility back to a profession that has lacked it for many years. Homeowners need to recognise that good well priced tradies do exist, and they are the best investment towards a stress free experience, and one that can add substantial value to a property," Ms Nohra concluded.
Tradebusters was established in 2006 and annually manages hundreds of jobs for homeowners running into the millions of dollars across Australia. Job requests have ranged from minor repairs to major renovation projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The company is run by a team of women who provide a free, professional co-ordination service. This includes organising tried and tested tradespeople based on availability and suitability, providing quotes and helping facilitate a stress-free process to managing any home improvement.
The business model is based on the trade businesses within the network paying a pre-negotiated commission to cover business development, marketing and administration services. Fees are competitive to ensure it is a viable option for the businesses without the high upfront costs that can often be associated with lead generation or franchise models.
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