How to get the best from your Tradies

How to get the best from your Tradies

If you are planning a renovation friends and family will no doubt have relayed tales of building work gone wrong, large budget blowouts and shoddy workmanship. Invariably it is the poor old tradie that gets the blame, but is this fair?

In any profession you’ll find people operating at the top of their game and others who do the opposite.  So sometimes the answer to this question is yes.  More often than not though a disappointing result can be traced back to two key things – poor communication and ineffective project management.

Here are a few tips to help you manage your project, and tradies, more effectively to get the result you want.


What as your initial conversation like with your chosen tradie?  Did he come across as professional?  What about body language?  Were you comfortable talking with him?  Did he appear to be ‘on the same page’ as you?  Did he listen to you and talk through things with you in a way you could relate to?  If not, then this probably isn’t the tradie for you.

Project Management

Project management and people management are real skills, and ones that you will need to feel comfortable with in any renovation project.  Fortunately there are a number of apps available that can help you manage the hours your tradies work, work flow and order of work.  Asana and HomeZada seem to be the most highly recommended for DIY projects, but have a look at a few to see what suits you.

And don’t forget you will also need to put together a project plan which clearly identifies the scope of works for each of your tradies – what needs doing when, by whom, and a timeline, all of which you will need to agree with your tradies.

Budget Blowouts

The dreaded budget blow out.  Effective management of your tradies should mitigate against this, but remember, it is up to you to set the overall budget and manage it as part of your project management role.  Again, the app store can help here.  HomeZada in particular has a good user-friendly budgeting function.

The Work Site

To you, it might be your kitchen, living room or bathroom, but to your tradie, and in health and safety terms, it is a building site.  Talk to your tradies about what you need to do to create a safe and secure environment for them to work in.  And work with them to create this.  As the manager of the project this is your responsibility.  Tradies are like anybody else.  If they feel comfortable in their work environment, they will be able to work to the best of their ability.

The Simple Niceties

Who doesn’t like a bit of attention and praise?  I know I do.  Don’t underestimate the power of complementing your tradies on a job well done, providing them with tea and coffee and a bit of conversation at the right moment, or even turning up on site with a handful of pies from the local bakery every once and a while.  A little effort in this area can make a big difference to the motivation and attitude of your tradies.

If you can put a tick beside each of these boxes, you might just be well on your way to a successful renovation project, and a tradie you would be happy to recommend to friends in the future.

Happy renovating!

All the best, Martin

Categories: Home Repairs and Maintenance

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