10 Top Traits of a Great Tradie

If you’re a renovator AND a sparkie, tiler, plumber and can fix anything, you probably don’t need to read any further.

However, if you’re a wannabe renovator and none of those other things, searching for the perfect tradie, then read on!

It’s fair to say (like any occupation), tradies sometimes get a bad wrap. Why do dinner parties always seem to feature a tale or two about some rogue tradie?

As someone who’s worked with hundreds of tradies in my 30-year renovation career, I can honestly say, I’ve only had run-ins with a handful. You’re not so lucky? Maybe you haven’t done your homework? You wouldn’t go on a first date without sussing out your potential partner, nor should you when finding a tradie.

Not sure how to find the one? Start by looking at their character traits. Here’s just a few to get you started.


1. Honesty

If you’re doing a reno, you’ll be spending your hard-earned cash and trying to stick to a budget. One thing that negatively impacts both, is someone overcharging for their services. A good way to avoid these pricey outcomes is by getting 3 quotes from 3 different tradies. One may try to overcharge you, but there’s a slim chance all 3 will have a go. Do they seem legit or out to make a quick buck? Use your intuition.

2. Flexibility

I’m not talking about touching toes here. There are certain things you can’t control when doing a renovation: unexpected house dramas, sudden illness, Mother Nature. Timelines can blow out because of these disruptions, but a good tradie will keep their cool. Don’t be afraid to ask him or her how adaptable they are to change.

3. Being helpful

Yes, I know. This is Kindness 101, but not all people have taken that intro life course. It’s nice to find a tradie who has. When renovating on a budget, you’ll try to do a lot of things on your own, but sometimes plasterboard sheets require four arms to get them out of the car and you only seem to have two. A helpful tradie will never sit back and watch you wrestle with large items. Say thank you.


4. Thinks outside the toolbox

You want a tradesperson who eat problems for breakfast. Things will invariably go wrong during a reno and, in order to keep other things going right, it’s so nice to have a tradie whose hard hat also doubles as a thinking cap. Solutions and suggestions from experienced tradesmen are way better than solutions and suggestions from your cat.

5. Great communicator

You need a tradie who can communicate well, whether it be in person, via email, a text or even just listening. Being able to communicate is such an important skill, so make sure you and your tradie are compatible in the chat department. Having meaningful (but not deep) conversations will help ensure the design you’re envisioning in your head is the same exact one you’re making in your house.

6. Organisation

Renovating a home is messy. Don’t hire a tradie who makes it messier. Red flags of a disorganised tradie: changing times, unanswered texts, poor time management.

(If this blog had sound effects, I’d insert alarm bells here.)

7. Solid tradie crew

No tradie is an island. They all come with their people and some of their people are fresh out of TAFE. And that’s fine, because everyone has to learn somewhere, but sometimes the head tradie will give you the quote and their apprentice will turn up to do the job. This reverse could be bad or, if their protégé is just as competent, be great, because you may pay just apprentice rates. My advice: meet & greet everyone & ask that hard question, right up front.

8. Well-connected

Doctors know doctors. Mums know mums. And, yep, tradies know tradies! Any good, experienced tradie will have a phone full of contacts and will be happy to call one, on your behalf, when X breaks or Y leaks.

Spoiler: X will break and Y will leak. But that’s okay. Tradies know tradies!


9. The Care Factor

Pardon my French, but you want to hire someone who gives a shit. Is that French? Probably not. The point is, you want a tradie who cares. About your reno. About their trade. About you. Believe it or not, they do exist. You can tell if your tradie has this quality if he or she invests time in your discussions, asks questions, offers solutions. A good tradie should act like your house is his or her house and give a merde.

For the record, that last word was definitely French.

10. Relationship-for-life mentality

That “wham, bam, thank you ma’am (or sir)” feeling isn’t fun. Whether it be from a one-night stand (I’ve heard stories) or a one-project tradie. If a tradie thinks you’re a 1-hit wonder, someone likely to only renovate once in their lifetime, they may be inclined to up their price. One way to avoid that is to dress like you’ve done a million reno’s before – think your daggy old clothes, covered in paint. Ideally you want tradies that you can call on, time and time again. Everyone likes a repeat customer.

The bottom line is, we love tradies. And we all need them.

I mean, imagine life without them. We’d all live in caves or cardboard boxes. In the dark. With no running hot water. Everyone would be cranky. No thank you.

So, this little checklist might help remind you what traits are important when trying to find a good tradie. Your renovation soulmate, …. “The One.”

If you can find someone with most of these traits, high five.

If you find a tradie with ALL of these traits, congratulations! You’ve just won the lottery. Buy yourself something nice from your local bottle shop. And then buy something even nicer for your honest, flexible, helpful, problem-solving, communicative, well-connected, caring tradie who has a good crew and would never say “wham” or “bam”.

Lastly, true renovation love can exist, if you spend the time looking.

And to all the ladies out there, reading this, this blog is not about marrying a hot tradie! 😉

ENROL NOW in my “Create Your Perfect Kitchen” course to receive your early bird offer.


  1. Hi Cherie, great blog. Being a tradie myself its comforting to know that there is a standard to reach and that the closer you are to meeting these standards the more enjoyable and rewarding the job can be. Taking the extra time to solve little problems can be a big thing to a customer and being rewarded with a friendly smile is fuel to keep doing it again and again.

    However Sometimes us Tradies come across really difficult customers who, no matter how far you bend backwards, always complain and generally go out of their way to blame us for their problems. These customers are hard to spot and i was wondering if there was a place where Tradies could post a warning to other Tradies about dealing with problem customers. a score card of some sort. a place where Tradies could do a search for problem customers who are difficult to deal with.

    It would help us Tradies keep smiling and going the extra mile if we could spot the takers of trust.


  2. Hey Cherie, as a tradie I must say that you have offered some excellent advice. May I add some thoughts?
    If it is a licensed trade (plumbing, air-conditioning or electrical) ask to see their licence. Write down the licence number and the authority that issued it. or better still keep a scanner/copier (they are cheap) on site. A licensed tradie will proudly and promptly produce their licence.
    Insist on a certificate of compliance for the work that has been completed. The certificate should state who completed the work, the nature of the work and the applicable Australian Standard. Express this requirement in your contract. Do not pay the tradie until he has provided the certificate.
    Beware of the air-conditioning contractor who sends a team of “sparkies” to do air-conditioning work or a team of “fridgies” to do the electrical work. A new installation will require a qualified supervisor (electrical) to perform the work at the main switch board (or to supervise an apprentice performing the work) and a qualified supervisor (air-conditioning) to perform the work between the indoor unit and the outdoor unit (or to supervise an apprentice performing the work)
    Lastly, don’t pay cash (currency) to your tradie. You will have no recourse when a problem arises. If a tradie is a professional running a business he will accept this. Be cheeky, ask for a 1% discount for paying by internet banking before your tradie leaves.
    Be nice to your tradie. Offer him a glass of water, a cuppa at morning tea. He will reward you ten-fold.

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