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  • Michelle Lewis

Working with the Tradies

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

Doing the renovation work yourself can be fun and empowering, however being hands-on slows down the process and time equals money. Inevitably it is best to turn to the use professionals.


If you want to get a reno project done efficiently get in the professionals – even if it means multiple tradies on site at the same time. I think my time is better utilised as a project manager – and then I can still be mum too.

However, that means spending a considerable amount of time finding likely tradies, getting quotes and comparing quotes.

Don't be put off by looking for tradies on Gumtree and in the back of the local papers and then makes multiple phone calls. I can recommend looking for semiretired tradies as I find that they are reliable, highly skilled, helpful, and know how to get things done on, or under, budget.


Sometimes I will make as many as 10 calls per trade to find the right person for the job. I just keep going till I get a price in the right area. This can save you thousands of dollars because the difference in quotes you receive is often massive.

I always try to meet with tradies face to face if you can manage it. It allows you to get a feeling for them and how they communicate. If they don’t fit, just move on to the next option.


A couple of tips to ensure good experiences with tradies:

  • Watch what your tradies are doing carefully. Make sure you are on site daily – or even several times a day if a critical piece of work is taking place or if you have a new tradie on site.

  • Provide each of your tradies with a clear and specific list of what you want them to do and keep tabs on it. A chart with a checklist can also be useful.

  • Treat your tradies well – buy them lunch, bring in homemade treats, have music for them to listen to while they work, create a positive and happy environment for them.

  • Communicate with your tradies and make sure they know you are there and can help. For example: let them know you can go and get things offsite for them so that they don’t need to leave the job


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