Tradies' licenses and qualifications
Do tradies need to be registered/licensed?
Licence and registration requirements differ by trade and by state.
“Some trades require licences, and I would always recommend using a licensed tradie,” says Borg. “Other trades are not licensed and therefore there’s no real governing body.”
If you’re planning any major home improvement work, always look for licensed builders, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. Depending on the value of the job, you may also be legally required to engage a registered builder.
Check out the Victorian Building Authority website for more details.
What about membership bodies and industry associations?
Outside of relevant licences, one of the best places to start is with industry bodies – such as the Master Builders Association of Victoria, Master Plumbers Association, National Electrical and Communications Association and Housing Industry Association.
This can give you a level of confidence that a trade will be reputable, but also some support should things go wrong.
“Membership to these bodies is voluntary and there are membership costs involved,” says Borg.
“The general purpose of these bodies is to support and educate members to build a high-quality trade network. Trades who choose to associate with these bodies are generally motivated to provide a high-quality service and use their membership as a selling point.”
What qualifications do tradies need?
While some trades don’t necessarily need to be licensed, you do want your tradie to be qualified.
Borg says qualifications are different for each trade so do your research online. “If in doubt, call the relevant governing body, like the Master Plumbers Association, to find out what qualifications are required.”
Getting a quote from a tradie
How many quotes should you get for a job? Is three still the gold standard?
When it comes to quoting, Borg says while although there is no magic number, three is a pretty good rule of thumb.
“For a small job, two quotes might be sufficient, but for larger jobs, where there’s more to lose, always get at least three.”
Even if you’ve had a tradie referred by friends or family, it doesn’t hurt to get a comparison.
What should be included in a quote?
The more detail in a quote, the more it can be trusted.
“A single dollar value at the bottom of a page is nowhere near sufficient because it leaves room for a tradie to tell you post-job that some things weren’t included – such as waste removal,” says Borg.
“Insist the tradie breaks the job down, as far as inclusions go, as much as possible. This way you can refer to the quote if any questions around the scope arise once the job is complete,” he adds.
What about allowing for cost variations?
Ideally variations should be avoided, and the smaller the job the easier they are to avoid.
“Usually on domestic jobs, tradies will quote for a certain amount of work,” says Borg. “If things change and more work is required, the quote will be revised to suit.”
This revised price should always be discussed and agreed to before proceeding with the works.