What if something goes wrong?
How to resolve disputes
How can I get paid?
One of the most common problems, even for good tradespeople, is getting paid. How can you maximise your chances?
Always use a legal contract.
Verbal agreements are fraught with danger. Always put your quote in writing, even when working for friends, or people you trust. Its easy to misunderstand or forget what someone said, so its good policy to always put the deal on paper. What things should be included?
The written contract you sign should contain:
Work to Australian Standards
Always follow Australian Standards, or manufacturers directions. Use the right primers and undercoats. Cutting corners is not worth the risk, and will invalidate any insurance claims or warranties.
The Victorian Building Commission, in collaboration with the NSW Office of Fair Trading, the ACT Government and Tasmanian Government have produced a guide for builders and trades working in the building and construction industry. The Guide to Standards and Tolerances 2007 is a must have document if you work in the building industry, and is relevant on a national level.
The guide provides a technical outline of the tolerances that a builder or a painter may consider in working out whether painting work has been carried out to an acceptable standard.
Ask for a deposit, or progress payments.
If a client or builder declines or misses a payment, it should signal to you that something is wrong. Don't fall for the 'I'll pay you when I get paid' line, or 'Do you really need a deposit?'
Stick to your contract
If your client changes their mind about something half-way through the job, make sure they understand how this will affect the final price. Any changes are called 'variations', and they should be put in writing and signed by both parties.
Also, make sure you give the client what you agreed on. No-one likes a dishonest tradie, and if you cut corners it will eventually ruin your business.
Dealing With Difficult Customers
Your aim should always be to make the customer happy.
When dealing with difficult clients:
However, if you have fulfilled the requirements of your contract and it looks like your efforts are failing, and the client is being unreasonable, then you may need to engage the services of a dispute resolution professional. The government usually has affordable methods that don't involve expensive legal bills. Don't delay.
In NSW the Department of Fair Trading has a free service:
Call 13 32 20