Friday, February 15, 2013

Top tips for dealing with trades people

Deciding on getting building, renovating or repair work done on your rental property is the easy part...selecting who to do it is a different matter.
The cheapest quote isn't necessarily the best, and inferior materials and workmanship can see you paying out far more in the long run.
To find the right trades people is trial and error, but when you find a good one, it is best to stay with them as you build up a relationship on how you both like to work. Build your own list and always have another two to cross compare or call on if your time frames are short and your regular supplier can’t do the work.

1. Check credentials, including registrations and endorsements
It is important to check that the trades person has the right credentials – just because they say they are a builder doesn't mean they are licensed.

Ask whether they have any quality endorsements i.e. ISO9000 or  Master Builders Association certifications.
Enquire if there are any registrations they must have i.e. if your trades person is installing any gas appliances, they must be Gas Safe registered.
Request them to identify any sub contractors they use, as they must comply with the same requirements as the contractor who is the lead on the job that you have the arrangement with.
2. Check they have insurance
Insurance is critical and often forgotten, especially to ask for yearly confirmation. Ensure that the cover is adequate for public liability.
3. Check referencesMake sure you get references. And ask to see previous work – iPhones have it easy to obtain photos and if you can personally inspect their work.
4. Ask for a detailed quoteYou need to be specific in what you want quoted and ask if the type of materials used changes the price and if so, make sure you know what materials are being quoted on.
The labor and parts should be separated out and any contingencies should be stated i.e., if it is a painting job and there is wall paper to remove, make sure it is quoted for if any difficulties arise in removing it.
5. Payment PlanRegardless of what invoicing timing the trades person gives you, ask for staged payments, so you can monitor the work as it is being competed. You can keep them coming back and they have to finish before the last payment is made.
6. Job versus a day rate
If you pay on a day rate then there is no incentive to get the job done in a timely manner, so you are better off getting a fixed rate for a job.
If you are not able to fix prices beforehand, ask the trades person to let you know of any cost over runs before going ahead with the job.
7. Get a written quote
For jobs that run into the hundreds of dollars and above, you should have a written contract with any clauses on pricing differentiation, timings and use of specific materials written in.
8. After the job check the quality
The job should be checked to ensure that the work has been competed to the required skill level and that suitable materials were used. Any supplied goods must be in working order.
If the work is faulty then the trades person needs to fix it before the final payment is made.
9. Payment
Confirm payment has been received and keep a copy of any invoices and receipts for work.

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