Ways to find a tradesperson online
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you may recall that we recently wrote about the online marketplaces you can use to help you find a tradie. One of the more popular online marketplaces to find tradies is Service Seeking, which provides free quotes from businesses based on the description you give of your job or project. But it also provides you with the option to purchase a ‘Workmanship Guarantee’ for $19.95. We decided to look into what this is and whether you should take it out.
An insurance policy against no shows and poor work
The Service Seeking ‘Workmanship Guarantee’ is, essentially, an insurance policy against faulty workmanship, property damage or a tradesperson who, after getting your deposit (which you pay online by credit card, PayPal, etc, to secure the tradie before they come out to work for you), doesn’t show up. For a one-off payment of $19.95, you’ll get up to $3000 worth of cover.
Hiring a tradesperson to do any job always comes with risks, so it’s good that Service Seeking are willing to come to the party and help out. Traditionally, if a tradie or contractor you hired makes off with your deposit or causes damage to your property, you’d have to go through a lawyer (there are some no win, no fee lawyers who take on this work), or see if you’re covered by the NSW Department of Fair Trading’s Home Building Compensation Fund (or the relevant licensing body in your state) to try and seek compensation.
Isn’t Service Seeking meant to protect you against dodgy tradies, anyway?
Having said that, a lot of people choose to go through online marketplaces like Service Seeking, because they believe that the businesses and tradespeople using the service have been properly vetted. Indeed, Service Seeking promises that all the businesses using their service have been ‘Service Seeking Certified’, “[to safeguard] our marketplace from dodgy businesses”.
The truth, though, is that ‘Service Seeking Certified’ businesses have an ABN, and have taken the service’s online course, which teaches them “how to quote, follow up, be polite and respond to your needs”. There’s no mention as to whether these businesses have been properly vetted by Service Seeking, to ensure their licenses are current and valid for the jobs their pitching for.
A cheaper option would be to do the legwork yourself before accepting any of the quotes you receive. Ask each of the tradies who contact you if they’re licensed and get their license number and check it in your state’s licensing department. Find out what people who haven’t used Service Seeking have said about each tradie, by looking for reviews on other websites they haven’t paid to deliver them leads.
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