Six questions to ask an emergency tradie

Living Well | RACV | Posted on 03 July 2020

Even in a home emergency, these are six questions to ask your tradie.

Choosing an emergency tradie can be overwhelming. There are so many different companies out there, and you’re under a lot of pressure to make a quick decision.

To help ensure you have chosen a trustworthy, reliable tradie for your home emergency, there are a few questions you need to ask before any work is started.

Man trying to stop water bursting from tap in bathroom

Six questions to ask your emergency tradie

1. Are you licensed?

The most vital question you need to ask an emergency tradie is whether they hold a licence for the work they are about to do in your home. By law, tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers are required to possess and carry their licence with them, which verifies their qualifications. If your emergency tradie doesn’t hold a current licence, this should be a red flag, and you shouldn’t allow them to proceed with the job. If someone working on your property should be licensed and isn’t, you might not be covered by insurance for work done or damage incurred. Required licences vary between states so it can be tricky to know exactly what qualifications your tradesperson is required to have. 

2. Are you insured?

It is crucial that your emergency tradie has adequate insurance cover so that you are not liable for accidental damage to themselves, your home or any third party.

Ask to see a copy of your plumber’s VBA Licence or VBA registration card, or your electrician’s A-grade Electrical licence before they begin any work. At the very least, it should be current and include Public Liability Cover. Public Liability Cover is compulsory and protects against third party injuries and property damage caused by the tradie.

Even if your tradesperson assures you that they have not had any issues in the past, you need to ensure that you are covered for any future mistakes or accidents.

3. Can you provide a written quote?

It’s important to know upfront what you will be paying for the work completed by your emergency tradie. Ask your tradie to provide a written quote for their work before they begin – and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your written quote should include an itemised breakdown of all costs involved in the repair such as labour and material costs.

Be sure to check whether it includes GST or not, and if there are any other costs that are not included in the quote. You also need to check whether your quote is an estimate or fixed. Having a fixed quote means that there won’t be any ‘essential but unexpected’ charges added at the last minute.

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Washing machine repairs

4. Are there any additional charges?

Home emergencies can happen at any time – in the middle of the night, on the weekend or even on public holidays so it’s important to ask your emergency tradie if there will be any additional callout fees.

You should also discuss payment methods. Some tradies may require you to pay upfront, or on the spot once the job is finished, while others will provide an invoice once the job is done.

5. Is your work guaranteed?

By law, all Australian plumbers and electricians must provide a compliance certificate for work they do. They should provide this issued paperwork within 30 days of the job being completed and before you sign, however you should check these work guarantees before the job is started.

These written documents give you a guarantee of your tradesperson’s work such as warranties on parts or equipment installed and guarantees on workmanship for a period of time (up to eight years for plumbing). If the guarantee is backed by insurance, this is even better as you will have protection should they ever go out of business.

6. When will you get here?

When you’re in the middle of an at-home emergency that requires an emergency plumber for a burst pipe or a locksmith if you’re locked out, you need your emergency tradie to arrive ASAP.

When on the phone with your potential emergency tradie, it’s worthwhile asking how long they’ll be and if there’s anything you can do to minimise the damage while you’re waiting for them.

Take the stress out of home emergencies

Emergency home repairs can take an unexpected toll on your wallet. You never know when they’re going to happen or exactly how much repairs are going to cost. RACV Emergency Home Assist takes the stress out of selecting a trustworthy tradie for your home emergency by only connecting you to fully accredited and insured tradies. From burst pipes to power faults to forgetting your keys, RACV has you covered. Annual subscriptions offer up to eight emergency call-outs per year without any extra charges for after hours, weekends or public holidays.