How to find a reliable tradesman to help you when building or renovating your home is kind of like finding a good mechanic.

Home Building and Renovation Tips: How to find a reliable tradesman

Never do anything to make your reliable tradesman cross because he might not work for you again. And whatever you do, don’t give his name to many of your friends (especially the ones who pay really well) because he might be too busy working for them to work for you).

Just kidding – a good tradesman won’t stop working for you for small reasons, and they would love to be referred to your friends for more work.

But they are rare as hen’s teeth, and should be treasured and treated with great respect.

Okay, when I find a reliable tradesman I will treat him wonderfully. But how do I find one to start with?

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth referrals are a method as old as the hills for finding the right professional for the job. Since the beginning of time humans have asked family, friends or neighbours for recommendations for everything from babysitters to dentists to wedding photographers to the guy who gets the possums out of the roof.

Because of the wonder that is social media, word of mouth has never been so sophisticated and so globally spread as it is now. You don’t have to hang over your back fence anymore to ask for recommendations, you can jump on Facebook.

But having the entire world of referral possibilities at your fingertips can make looking for the right reliable tradesmen more complicated than before, rather than easier.

Here’s a few reasons why

  • You can always ask people you know on social media, but what if you are new to a regional area and don’t know people yet to ask?
  • How do you get recommendations for local tradesmen and not those on the other side of the world?
  • Online reviews can (and often are) faked. How can you tell a real honest review from one the tradesman has just paid someone to write?

Property Unravelled has some resources to help with this, and narrowing down your online search to some honest, real and relevant reviews.

Location based Facebook groups can be a fantastic way to get recommendations. Property Unravelled has established a range of location-based groups perfect for getting building and reno advice, and for seeking good quality local referrals.

Simply join the most relevant group to you (we have started in the main major cities – but if you are from a different location and we don’t yet a group to suit you, just let us know – we might be able to get one started!) Use the groups to find reviews and to ask for recommendations.

Asking is easy, and everybody loves to answer, so don’t feel shy!

Location based groups like ours can be awesome sources of information. You could ask questions like:

  • For local trades recommendations such as builders, sparkies, plumbers and more
  • For specialists and creatives such as furniture makers and landscape gardeners
  • For local knowledge about dealing with the council, rates, hard rubbish collection etc.
  • For advice on native plants or strange bugs that have turned up in the yard, and how to deal with them

If you don’t have an appropriate Property Unravelled group close to home, you can join other Facebook groups based in your location or local council region; they are usually called a community noticeboard.

Join our facebook group

Find small business wonders

Local Facebook groups are wonderful for recommending those small businesses that keep Australia going. Little independent businesses can’t compete with big companies and chains in terms of advertising, but are so often the best source of honest, good value work and incredible craftsmanship.

Plus, they so often go that extra step to please their customers, and they can live and die by word of mouth on these sorts of sites.

These are the professionals that are the diamonds in the rough, and that you will be so overjoyed about discovering.

Online reviews: how to spot a fake

There are unfortunately always some fake reviews online, and it pays to be able to spot one that the tradesman popped in there himself or paid someone to write.

Here are some red flags for reviews, that might be a sign of a fakie:

  • Reviews that are overly glowing may not be real (although they often can be). Real reviews tend to be more moderate and realistic in their praise.
  • Fake reviews can use jargon, proper names for tools and equipment, and may also be overly grammatically correct. Real reviews tend to read a bit more like someone is speaking, and will often have spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Check dates and times when reviews went up; real ones will be all over the place, whereas if several fake ones have been put up they may all be dated the same time.

The best thing to do is use online reviews and recommendations as a starting point. For any considerably-sized job you should get several quotes from different tradies anyway – use the online reviews and recommendations as a place to start your contacts, then call a few to your home and have a chat. Hire the one you get the best feeling from; recommendations are a great way to narrow your searching time, but at the end of the day you should hire from your gut.

Builders License Check – How to check a local tradesman’s licence

You should always check if your tradesman is licensed, registered and covered by insurance. Licensed builders and other tradies are governed by state law, so you can check if their registration is current and that they are licensed for the type of work you have hired them for.

Any building work over $5000 and any specialist work at all (such as electrics, plumbing, refrigeration etc) should be undertaken by a licensed professional.

If you search under Builders License Check you should be able to access your particular state’s home building licence check.  Here is the list below:

There is also another website called Licensed Trades which has over 1,500,000 trades listed on it.

If you are undertaking a building job or renovation, you probably have more than a few balls in the air. We love the app Rapid Reno Mate for organising all of your reno info including tracking your projects, budget, appointments, materials, paint colours, measurements and styling products. You can also use the app to shop directly for things like tiles and carpet.  Here are our Top 5 Home Renovation Tips if you are starting out.  If you are looking for a builder specifically check out our tips on choosing a builder.


A little heads up for you: certain products and links on our site are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase through one of these links our site earns a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that we are 100% behind any products we recommend and only promote what we use and love ourselves.



Jacqui Morgan is the author of this article and the founder of Property Unravelled.She is a passionate property blogger and brand ambassador, but her most important job is being a mum!Property Unravelled helps take the stress out of finding tradies and services for your home project.The website hosts a directory of builders, interior designers, tradies to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.


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