How to choose the right tradie/home improvement professional

Hiring the right tradie or home improvement professional is important if you want your project to proceed smoothly.

There is nothing worse than delays, disputes, shoddy workmanship and expensive remedial works - all scenarios that could play out if you donít ask the right questions or vet them thoroughly beforehand.

But who is the right tradie?

The right candidate should be reputable - that means appropriately qualified, licensed and with a reputation for conducting themselves professionally.

Letís break it down to the critical facts you need to know about your tradie up front.


Many professions in the building sector require a licence to perform work in your home. A tradie will typically have to hold a qualification to be awarded a licence. Licensing of trades is done on a state-by-state basis, with slightly different requirements between each. Some, such as builders, plumbers, electricians and gas fitters are licenced nationwide. Others, such as painters, are not required to hold a licence in evert state. An online search can very quickly tell you if your tiler/carpenter/landscaper needs a licence where you live. You can also conduct an online check to see if it is valid or simply ask them to see it yourself.


Your tradie should be covered by an appropriate insurance policy. Public liability insurance gives liability protection against third party injuries and property damage caused by the contractor. This will protect you should anything go wrong with your home improvement project. Insurance certificates need to be current and valid for the duration of the project works.


Word of mouth counts for a lot, especially when it comes to the reputation, workmanship and professionalism of those in the home improvement sector. Checking to see if a business has a positive reputation with past clients is a great way of establishing their bona fides. This may be in the form of testimonials or online recommendations - and actually checking to see if they are genuine also makes sense.


An ABN or Australian Business Number is issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and helps businesses to identify one another. And while it is not mandatory for a tradie to have an ABN, it makes it easy for anyone to verify their business. A quick search on the ATO database will enable you to see when the business was registered and whether the registration is still valid.

Questions to ask

The key to hiring a reputable tradie is asking the right questions up front. Here are some to get you started:

If they push back on providing any of the above then your alarm bells should really be ringing.

Top tip: It is also worth asking tradies you have used, and trust, for recommendations. If they are professional, chances are they are likely to know others with the same approach as themselves.