It’s a common problem: property owners complaining about poor workmanship from tradespeople they have employed, resulting in costly legal battles, disruption, safety concerns and stress.

There are some simple solutions to help reduce these complaints:

All tradies should be licenced

Not all trades need to be licensed, which can certainly affect the quality of work. The solution here is to make all tradesmen licensed in their respective industry.

Clients need to shop around

Anyone engaging a tradesman should do their due diligence, ask for referrals and get at least three quotes to ensure that they are dealing with someone that has a proven record of delivering what’s promised.

Not having a contract in place

Always get a contract for all work done on a property and explain to the tradesman that if there is no contract, then there will be no payment. If there were a central source that all contracts for trades work were registered, in the event a contract goes into dispute, then fees should be charged to resolve the dispute 50/50 to each party, regardless who is at fault.

There are not enough government guidelines

Too many cowboys get away with shoddy work because there are insufficient government guidelines and regulations for all trades.

Tradesmen taking shortcuts

Tradesmen are taking shortcuts due to low rates of pay, yet the owners of large building companies gain most of the profits. In new construction, supervisors often run the construction process, and because they are not licensed or experience in a particular trade, for instance plumbing, they would be unaware if the plumber is taking shortcuts to save money. Likewise for property owners who rely on the tradie to do the right thing; they too can get caught out, so therefore document everything in writing and have both parties sign an agreement.

Tradesmen are supposed to be professionals, and when people are paying good money for a finished product, tradies owe it to them to put in an honest effort!

Lack of communication between the tradesman and the property owner

Clear communication is the key to a successful outcome when hiring a tradesperson. Both parties need to have an understanding of what is expected, even down to small details. Keep a notebook with and jot down all verbal conversations and document details in a signed contract.

The parties are not following the five elements of contract law

The Five Elements of Contract Law are:

  • Instruction
  • Offer
  • Valuable consideration
  • Acceptance
  • Acknowledgement

Not putting quotes and conversations in writing

Consumers should always request a detailed written quote from any tradesperson outlining exactly what is expected. Also, keep notes of conversations with tradespeople to refer back to should a dispute happen regarding a job.

Keeping a written log of the project can be used to offer evidence to support any claims of faulty workmanship.

Leaving unfinished work to start another job

This is a very common problem, and depending on the amount of work unfinished, could end up in a costly legal battle. For works under $10,000, Small Claims Court is the best solution.


Deceitfulness is ripe in the current market and in some case it comes from both parties, meaning the contractor is not truthful about when a project is to be completed and the homeowners are not truthful about where the funds are coming from.