Finding a tradie for your bathroom reno means checking off some boxes. You may think it’s the tradie’s responsibility if they aren't insured or licenced. But, if something goes wrong, chances are it’ll be you who’s legally responsible to cover the cost. If a job seems too cheap or was quoted too quickly, there’s a pretty good chance they may not be licenced or insured.
You need to make sure the tradie is licenced for the work you want them to do. You can easily check the category of work they’re licensed to perform by typing in their licence number at the NSW Fair Trading website.
NSW Fair Trading also shows you any public warnings about the licensee and whether Fair Trading has finalised any disciplinary action against them. Check whether Home Building Compensation Fund or other insurance claims have been paid in respect to the tradies’s work. Most importantly, find out if their licence has been suspended or cancelled.
Belinda and Adam found a cheap plumber through a friend. After he plumbed their bathroom, Belinda noticed the toilet started to smell. After further questioning, they realised the plumber wasn’t licenced. They had to pay a licenced plumber to repair the work the original plumber performed, costing more money.
Ask your tradie if they have public liability insurance. This insurance is essential because it protects the tradie if they cause property damage or injury while working at a job site. They may damage the neighbours property or someone may be injured on the worksite.
Without public liability insurance, they may not be able to pay for the damage, replacement or repair. If they can’t pay for the damage they cause, it’s you who foots the bill.
Workers Compensation Insurance is important for tradies who have employees. This insurance is mandatory in Australia because tradies are often injured on the job. If there’s an accident, someone has to pay for the injuries.
Oliver and Tabby found a cheap bathroom tiler to tile a small floor in their bathroom. While working in their house, the tiler damaged a water pipe and flooded the downstairs area of the house. The timber flooring needed to be replaced, at a cost of $15 000. The tiler wasn’t insured and couldn’t pay for the damages, so Oliver and Tabby had to replace the flooring themselves.
There are many places online where you should be able to see images of the tradie’s work. At the very least, they should have a Facebook page where they have a portfolio of work. Some tradies also put images on Instagram or Houzz. The before and after images and photos showing the progress of a job are great for social media and give you a good impression of what they can realistically achieve.
Serious tradies have a website and a Google My Business page. The website is a fantastic place to check their portfolio and what work the tradie can perform. If a tradie regularly updates their Google My Business page with the quality work they’re building, that’s a sure sign they take their work seriously.
Sarah and Jamie are looking for a bathroom builder for their 1950’s Eastern Suburbs unit. They want to find someone who is experienced with working within strata laws and can modernise a small, dated bathroom.
They searched on Facebook for ‘bathroom renovations’ and then clicked on ‘Explore Pages’. They could easily compare images of bathroom renovations from companies within their area.
Past clients often leave reviews of tradies online, and are easy to find. Simply Google the company and ‘reviews’. Most clients leave reviews on the Facebook page, Google My Business or Houzz. Read the reviews and look for trends. You may notice a lot of the reviews mention professionalism, knowledgeable or clean. Be wary of one negative review and focus instead on a common theme that most of the reviews are touching on.
Jeanine and Nathan want to check online for reviews of a bathroom builder.
The one they’re considering has an average of 4.8 stars out of 5 from 35 reviews. Most of the reviews are saying the builder is helpful and knowledgeable on Google My Business. They decide to hire the builder.
In NSW, your tradie must give you a written contract if the contract price is over $5,000 (including GST). If the price isn’t known, but labour and materials cost more than $5,000 (including GST), then again, a contract must be signed. This is for your protection, as well as the tradie’s.
Jobs worth between $5,000 and $20,000require a small job contract with basic information. A contract usually covers the work to be undertaken, contractor licence number, timeframes, price, responsibilities and payment schedules.
More detailed written contracts are needed for building jobs worth more than $20,000.
NSW Fair Trading has more information on what needs to be outlined on a contract.
Always sign a contract for works over$5,000. This ensures you’re covered under law if anything does go wrong. Also, you need to show your contract if you need help from fair trading NSW.
Lani and Tommy want to renovate their bathroom. The total cost is $15 000 to be paid to the builder.
In this case, the job is under $20 000,so Lani and Tommy will need to sign a ‘Small Jobs’ contract.
Vivid Bathroom Renovations are experienced builders specialising in complete bathroom renovations. They pride themselves on being fully insured, licenced, well reviewed and with great images of their work. If you’d like to discuss this or a project you’re considering, contact them here.