Short cuts to good tradies

Finding good home improvement trades and labourers can be difficult at times. There can be times when you find yourself in a pickle needing to find someone quickly. It could be that you have been let down or you are just not as organised as you could be. Whatever the reason it can be stressful but it doesn’t need to be.

The good news is that there are several online communities that make this an easy problem to solve and can even help you find excellent contacts for ongoing projects.

Getting into the right headspace

Before you let your mouse do the home improvement walking, it’s important to first adjust your thinking. Most people will tell you that any decent worker will be booked up for months so it is a waste of time even trying at short notice.

While technically this can be true, good trades have gaps in their workflow too. In the same way that renovators find themselves in a spot without a worker, so can the workers find that their project is not ready for their input at the scheduled time leaving them twiddling their thumbs.

As Henry Ford said: “If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.”  So enter into this task believing that you will find the perfect person and you will be halfway there.

Getting organised

If you haven’t prepared a scope of work, write out a detailed description of the task you are needing help with. Include your budget and desired start date. This will assist the applicants in pricing and planning for your work accurately. It will also help you compare apples with apples.

Once you have done that, try one or all of my favourite go-to sites for labour, particularly at short notice.

HI pages

HI pages 200 x 200

I love HIP. It is such a rich and reliable source of local trades and contractors.  It is a powerful tool because it sources verified trades in your area by postcode.  It works in both metropolitan and rural locations. It has a comprehensive feedback system to help sort out the good trades from the cowboys.

It is very responsive – you can post a job and have applicants within minutes. If you don’t find a suitable person, your HIP support person will assist and send you more applicants until you do. It is free for you. Contractors are usually charged a lead fee by HIP to put them in touch with you.



Airtasker 200 x 200

Airtasker is another very responsive site but more for less skilled workers. It is particularly good for flat pack installers, cleaners, labourers, painters and handymen.

Workers are called ‘runners’ and will respond to your posting within minutes. Airtasker manages the money, holding it in trust until the task is complete and you have approved the payment. The site also has an effective feedback system.

On the down side, it’s not available in rural areas and you are less likely to find a licensed tradesman. It’s free for you to use but Airtasker charges the runner a 3% fee.



gumtree 200 x 200

This is a more open source of home improvement contractors and labourers, but is less reliable in terms of the quality as there is not the same feedback / review system. You are able to contact the person directly either by email, text or call.

I find  it’s good for finding local labourers for all those general dogs-body jobs. I don’t worry so much about feedback. I prefer to try them out because you can usually tell within a half an hour whether a labourer is going to be any good or not. Gumtree is free for both parties.



The finer details

Once you have identified potential people, it’s important that you follow through with the normal trade due diligence.  That is, protect yourself legally by using a simple contract and provide your trade or labourer with adequate support and supervision. This way you can be confident of a job you will both be proud of.

Additional Information: 7 Tips For Finding Awesome Tradesmen

In summary

When you get left high and dry without a suitable home improvement trade or labourer, don’t despair. Instead, prepare a simple scope of work to help with the quoting process. Post a job on one or all of my three favourite online communities for sourcing workers and watch the responses roll in.  When you have identified a suitable candidate, follow through on the due diligence process, use a simple contract and support and monitor the work.

Now I have a question for you: Do you have a go-to solution for finding home improvement trades and labour at short notice?

About the author

Bernadette Scaled-pic-for-website-150x150

Bernadette Janson loves renovating and shares generously the wealth of knowledge and ‘tricks of the trade’ she has developed over 20 years. If you would like to stay in the loop, sign up for her free newsletter.




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