Tradies: The Key To Successful Property Renovation
What’s the key to successful property renovation? Naomi Findlay reveals it in this post.
Hands down! I owe a huge part of my renovation and house-flipping success to a fantastic team of ‘tradies’ (my very affectionate name for my entire super-skilled team of tradesmen and project partners). The team has everything from core elements such as builders, plumbers and electricians to surveyors, town planners, property developers, estate agents, stonemasons and great suppliers.
There are loads of mainstream ways to find tradies: the internet, new apps, advertising etc., and there is naturally an important due diligence process that you must follow that involves checking licences and insurance before you engage a tradie.
But today I am going to share with you my secrets to finding and keeping good tradies. Much of these things seem so common sense but it appears that we can sometimes overlook these items. So here we go.
HOW TO FIND AND SELECT TRADIES
It’s all about the feeling/sixth sense: if they look me in the eye, if they can shake my hand firmly and if they can hold a respectful conversation with me about the work they do, then we are off to a good start.
Meet with the tradies before you get them onsite. Offer to meet them on one of their job sites. This will allow you to get a feel for them and also get an idea of how they work.
Ask them the right questions: I generally ask them about what jobs they have on at the moment, who is in their team, what their lead times are and specifics about the task that I am keen to have them work on.
I also find out who they know in the industry, as cross checking them with other tradies is a great way to get honest feedback.
Ask the tradies you are working with for their recommendations: Like attracts like, so if you like the tradies you have, more than likely you will like the tradies they enjoy working with, too.
Brief them well: Using a tradie once does not mean they are yours forever. On the first job, make sure that you communicate extremely well through multiple mediums. Call them to tell them what you want done, meet them and on show them onsite and have the instructions and diagrams of what you want done written and stuck in the walls of the job.
Then leave them to it! Don’t micro-manage them or watch them work! That shows the absence of trust.
HOW TO KEEP TRADIES
This is all about respect; respect for their skill, their trade and, most importantly, them as people.
How do you do this?
I Make Them Feel They Are Important – only because they are!
When I go onsite, I greet every tradie with a handshake.
If I see someone onsite that I don’t know, I always introduce myself.
I also compliment them for a job well done. In cases where I’m not happy about something, I seek to understand before I seek to be understood.
I Make Them Feel They Are Well-Treated
If I arrive to site with a coffee I will always bring a coffee for the tradies on site as well.
I pay very quickly! What I do is to inspect the job as soon as it is complete and then I’ll have payment ready to go as soon as that invoice comes in. I never leave a tradie to wait for pay.
Plan well. Tradies are constantly being asked to do things at the drop of a hat. Be the stand out client and book them in as much in advance as you can.
I Make Them Enjoy Being a Team Member
I get dirty! When required, I join my tradies to demo and to clean up.
Show and interest in what they do and why. Most tradies are so keen to share their knowledge they are just waiting for someone to ask.
Involve the tradies in the project. Them feeling part of a team can make all the difference.
Enjoy your tradies, it is so great to be part of a great team of tradies and it can be such a joy to be onsite with a great team!
The greatest asset you can ever employ when it comes to choosing and retaining tradies is the human factor. This explains why the tips I offered above seem to be too ordinary. But guess what? It’s the ordinary things that we tend to overlook. Think about it!