Joanita Wibowo

Retirement Income

5 tips to avoid getting ripped off by tradies

5 tips to avoid getting ripped off by tradies

Wary about hiring a tradie? You’re not alone. According to a 2018 survey, 55 per cent of Australians have been ripped off by a tradesperson at some point, with the biggest complaint being getting charged “surprise additional costs at the end of the job”. However, you can minimise the risk of running into dodgy tradies by following these tips.

1. Check their qualifications

Depending on the industry and the state you live in, tradies may be required to have a licence to practice their profession. You can check a tradie’s licence or registrations at websites like Licensed Trades.

Don’t forget to check their insurance coverage and compliance certificate. These will help you avoid further out-of-pocket costs that might be incurred from accidents on your site or any damage due to substandard or incomplete work.

2. Ask for quotes

Jeremy Levitt, co-founder of tradie website Seeking Service recommends getting at least five quotes before hiring a contractor. “Comparing a number of quotes at once ensures you get the best price possible and don’t overpay,” Levitt told

Comparing quotes can be a tricky art, but the key is to be as specific as possible about the work. The NSW Fair Trading recommended writing a job brief detailing all the work to be done (including cleanups and paint jobs, for example), the brand names and models of the materials required, and the design plans if they apply.

3. Talk to previous customers

Ask them for references from completed jobs that are similar to yours. You can also find their social media pages or look for online reviews to make sure other customers have satisfactory experience – the last thing you want to run into is their name on callout pages like this one.

4. Get things in writing

Ready to hire? Get a contract written up and signed by both parties. The contract should detail the tradie’s name or business name, ABN and contact details, along with the signing date and a breakdown of the costs (both material and labour).

5. Do not pay in cash

Not even if they offer discounts. If something goes wrong, you will have no payment evidence and may have no way of getting amends.