• Daniel Hooper


With the renovation craze running through Australia it is really important to know how to work well with your contractors because it will save you a lot of potential pain and issues on your next renovation!

Tradesmen and contractors often get a bad rap when people are talking about renovations or construction. Now it is true that, in general, plumbers/electricians etc are probably not well versed in the "Queens English" but most contractors are decent enough people just trying to do a good job and earn a living. As with any industry there are some bad people who will try to cheat you on price and service but these chaps can usually be spotted a mile away and thats exactly where they should stay.....a mile away from any properties you own!

However they are portrayed, working well with tradesmen is one of the most important skills you will have to master if you are going to complete a successful renovation. Without good contractors on your property you will have delays and poor finishing standards this in turn will give you disappointing sales prices and big issues down the road when your buyer wants to know why his balustrade has collapsed on the family pooch. On the other hand if you can find good trades that you work well with then you should finish your renovation on time and on budget, you will make some great profit when you sell and you will reduce your stress levels and enjoy the whole process a more!

Below are a few pointers for dealing with trades that can actually be used in all of your relationships to give you a happier and easier project and life.

1. Stay Calm And Be Polite

This is incredibly important in every day life but it is even more so when dealing with trades. It is a fact that many trades are big, burly blokes and if someone barks in their face they will puff their chest up and bark back. If there is an issue on your renovation site and you arrive get to your property ready to shout and scream and rip into someone, then you might feel a bit better after relieving your anger but there is every chance your tradesman will shout and scream back and potentially walk off site. If this happens you are in a situation where you are trying to find a trade on a days notice and chances are your renovation will be delayed and your finish quality will go down the drain.

If there is an issue during a renovation, even if it is someones fault, the only way to approach it is to vent to your wife/husband or sit in your car and shout at yourself for a bit (if you need to). Once you have removed the anger from your system you need to approach the issue with a calm head and discuss it with the trade and work out what the solution is. We have found that nine times out of ten if an issue is discussed with a contractor in a calm manner that there will be a fairly easy solution and that it will usually not cost anything extra. Most trades know when they have made a mistake but no-one likes to be called out or blamed. If you take the calm and calculated approach as opposed to angrily pointing fingers they will normally fix the mistake and everything can carry on as planned.

2. Always Think In Terms Of Solutions And Not Problems

There will always be a solution to any problem!

Any type of project are involved in, from a cosmetic renovation to a two hundred unit apartment build, will have problems and issues that come up. When you are looking at renovation specifically you have to remember that you are usually working with a very old house and there will be things that were not picked up during the planning stage. When these problems arise you need to sit down prior to meeting with the contractors and develop some potential solutions to fix the issue.

When you meet the trade discuss your solutions and his ideas with an open mind and you will almost always be able to come up with an easy way to fix the issue and then you can move on. Just make sure you are flexible and not rigid in what you want.... if you have to move the location of a sink or a faucet position don't let this stress you out.

3. Find Value In Their Work And Praise Them Openly

Humans like to be praised. It feels good to have people talk highly of our work and, in general, praise will make us work harder. Having said that sometimes it can feel strange to praise someones work, sometimes you might feel a little fake or over the top. The big difference here is sincerity. You need to be sincere about what you are saying and not just giving false compliments.

When you are reviewing completed work and you are happy with the work make sure to tell the trade. Give them specific compliments about the "beautiful tiling around the bath" or the "fantastic finishing on the window architraves." Giving someone sincere and open praise like this will win you big brownie points and will help build your relationship with your tradesmen moving forward.

4. ALWAYS Pay On Time!

The final and probably most important point is to ALWAYS pay your trades on time. When you are running a renovation project you should have at least one day per week where invoices are paid. Every single trade invoice must be paid within a week and we then usually send a little note to thank them and let them know the invoice has been paid. This is extremely important because nothing breeds bad blood like having to chase people up for late payments, especially if you are a small business and you really need the money for your own cash flow.

One point to note is that although you must always pay on time you should never pay a trade until the work is complete and you have checked to make sure everything is done and is up to standard. If you are withholding funds it is much easier to get a trade back in quickly to complete a job or fix an issue as opposed to trying after they have been paid!

Thank you so much for reading! As always this article is based on our experiences and point of view and should always be read as such!

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Have a great day!

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