Hiring an Unlicensed Tradesman is Playing Russian Roulette with your Home
Embarking on a home improvement project entails a huge financial outlay, and so it’s understandable why homeowners want to shave a few bucks off the bill whenever possible. But when the risks of a cost-cutting measure outweigh the benefits, it’s time to take a step back and re-assess priorities.
A new survey released by Fair Trading reveals the startling reality that far too many NSW residents are using the “I know a guy who knows a guy” mentality when contracting tradies for home repairs and renovations.
You wouldn’t hire a back alley surgeon to remove your appendix, so why would you take the same sort of risk with what is probably your biggest investment and/or nest egg? I’m talking, of course, about the family home.
Nevertheless, nearly 50% of those surveyed admitted that they would hire an unlicensed contractor, so long that they came recommended by a trusted source.
No offence but unless your neighbour or colleague is a construction professional, how are they to know whether or not a concreter or bricklayer are following building regulations?
Would you follow your mate’s advice on how to invest a million dollars? No way! So why would you with your home, which in Australia is certainly worth at the very least a large chunk of that same million dollars?
If a friends friend is such a skilled tradesman, why doesn’t he just go ahead and get a license?
According to David Bare, NSW Executive Director of the Housing Industry Association, the only way to fully ensure that the work done on your home is 100% up to scratch is to utilise the free license check available on the Fair Trading website.
Mr. Bare adds, “A valid licence ensures that the person carrying out the building or trade work is appropriately skilled and qualified to do so.”
And it’s not only the friend-of-a-friend tradies that aren’t having their credentials checked. Results from the survey show that nearly 90% of all homeowners don’t bother to run license numbers through the Fair Trading website prior to giving the go-ahead on a project.
It takes 2 minutes to run the numbers. Is it honestly not worth 2 minutes of your time to avoid risking damage to your property or substandard work performed by unskilled workers?
Don’t be a numbskull. Double-check your tradie’s license and protect your largest investment.
Cleaning up the mess left by unlicensed tradesmen can leave Australian homeowners with a hefty bill.
Last year 37 unlicensed tradesmen in NSW were prosecuted and fined in court. And during the same time frame, Fair Trading received hundreds more complaints related to tradies lying about their credentials.
There’s a simple reason why our government takes such a firm stance against unlicensed workers: to keep poor quality work out of the industry.
The bottom line is that any tradie worth his weight will want to become licensed in order to validate his abilities and attract more clients. It stands to reason that anyone who willfully chooses to skip the licensing process has got something to hide. This is a red flag that cannot be ignored.
It’s not a question of hiring unlicensed tradesmen at your own risk. You should never hire an unlicensed tradesman full stop. No matter how small the job is, if they muck it up you could wind up paying double to fix their mistakes, and any damage they do may not be covered by your insurance.
The risks are just not worth it!
It’s really not that complicated.
The Minister for Fair Trading offers these four golden rules to keep yourself and your home protected when hiring a tradie:
Double-check all licenses on the Fair Trading website,Seek out at least three written estimates from competing contractors,Ask to speak to references from previous projects, and draw up a written contract for any project that will bill for more than $1,000.