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  • Choosing the right contractor

Your home is your castle and it is imperative that you select the right contractor for any home improvement project.


Selecting the wrong company or choosing a tradesman without the correct accreditations and experience will invariably end in tears – not if, but when things go wrong.


In this blog, we will give you some tips as to the kind of companies and contractors you should be dealing with….and what to look for so you can weed out the ‘dodgy’ operators from the professionals.


All too often, television programs like A Current Affair on Channel Nine in Sydney have reports about unscrupulous contractors who have ‘ripped off’ unfortunate homeowners in a variety of ways.


By following the recommendations below, it will hopefully minimise the chances of you hiring a contractor who is unreliable and/or inexperienced and lacking the essential paperwork that you as a homeowner are entitled to see before he commences work:


  1. LICENCE: Only ever use a contractor who is licensed. Being licensed makes the tradesman accountable so if anything does go wrong, you are in a position to have something done about it. Fair Trading (the division of the NSW Government’s Department of Customer Service which focuses on a fair, safe and equitable marketplace) states that for jobs below $5,000, tradesmen don’t have to be licensed but if you want peace of mind, why would you go for an unlicensed tradie? You may save a few dollars now, but if something goes wrong, you won’t have a leg to stand on. Whereas if the contractor is licensed, Fair Trading can revoke his licence and put a black mark against his name so you know that he will be adversely impacted by your complaint. The licence is the first step towards protecting yourself against dodgy tradesmen and poor workmanship. Under NO circumstances should you use tilers, builders, carpenters, renderers or bricklayers (among others) who are unlicenced and we also recommend that you check that their licence is current. The electrical and plumbing trades both require four to six years of training, so again, never use a plumber or electrician who cannot show you his licence.
  2. INSURANCE: We cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is that the contractor has his insurances in order. At Yes I Can Project Group, we send out a copy of our current insurances as part of the quote. Be sure to check the expiry date, the level of cover ($20 million in the case of public liability) and make sure that all of the trades are covered.
  3.  WORKCOVER: WorkCover is also extremely important, especially when there is more than one person working on the site. WorkCover is more about protecting the workers and their families. This can affect lives, so please ensure that any contractors you hire have WorkCover in place.
  4. REVIEWS: There are certain websites which allow ‘dodgy’ or ‘easy’ reviews. It is important that customers look at a wide variety of Reviews. We recommend you check Google Reviews where is it very difficult for the contractor to ‘fake’ a review. Facebook is also very good as customers can speak their own minds and there is no way that the tradie can modify what has been posted. For building and construction, Houzz magazine is very good, as is Yellow Pages. Tradies who are doing a great job will have reviews across multiple platforms. At Yes I Can Project Group, we are proud to say that we have a perfect 5.0 star rating on Google Reviews while in January 2021, we received the “Best of Houzz Magazine award in customer service”.
  5. WORD OF MOUTH: Word of mouth is obviously impossible to fake as this is a direct referral to the customer from a relative, friend, neighbour or work colleague. However, it is still important to check that the contractor’s paperwork and other credentials are current, to be on the safe side. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of thoroughly checking the credentials of anybody who is potentially going to be hired to do some work in or around your home, before you sign on the dotted line.
  6. PREVIOUS WORK: You may be able to visit one or more of the contractor’s previous jobs if they provide the address and the homeowner is agreeable, but even if not, this website has a multitude of customer reviews (both video and written) as well as “before and after” photos and videos. Please visit the Projects section for all video and pictorial work and click on Testimonials for written reviews.
  7. TOOLS: It is important that the tradesman has the appropriate tools for the job. The job cannot be done correctly if he does not have a complete set of tools (which may result in rough finishes for example) and you as the customer will not be satisfied with the finished product if this is the case.
  8. DEPOSIT: The maximum deposit that contractors can ask for is 10 percent. This is the standard as set by Fair Trading here in New South Wales. Alarm bells should start ringing if the tradie asks for more than 10 percent ‘up front’. At Yes I Can Project Group, we charge a 10 percent deposit and put a progress payment system in place  so you only pay for what you see us do. With Yes I Can Project Group, a deposit will lock you into a start date which is very important as we have other projects going on at many different sites at the same time. If you change your mind, you will lose your 10 percent deposit as we have already invested a lot of time on quotes, organising tradesmen, ordering materials and the like.


We hope that this article has given you a ‘heads up’ about what to look forward to when choosing a contractor and we recommend you also check out our videos on similar topics: What To Look For When Hiring A Handyman, Why Do Tradesmen Cost So Much Money and How To Select The Right Contractor.


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