Welcome to the world of online sourcing
You have just discovered your toilet is leaking, the kitchen tap needs fixing, the backyard decking needs a revamp or perhaps it’s time to put up that new carport? Oh, and those trees needs some serious trimming while we are at it! Until not so long ago other than asking friends and family for a referral, your next step would be to whip out the Yellow Pages and “let your fingers do the walking”. However, with the explosion of online sites, apps and an increasing trend to crowdsource information about anything and everything, the game has seriously changed.
As a consumer you are squarely in the drivers seat. Nowadays you can post more or less any task you need doing, nominate the timeframe you want it done by and many instances even set the price you are willing to pay up front. Then sit back and wait for the offers to come in. How times have changed! With the number of “tasking sites” rapidly increasing and gaining in popularity, we thought we would take a look at some of the most popular sites relevant to building and renovating tasks.
The difference with these sites is that they offer much more than a simply trade directory listing; they are designed to match your task to a service provider, either through a back end algorithm or via an open marketplace “I can do that job” approach.
Most tasking sites follow the basic principles of:
Step 1 Choose the site or sites you want to advertise on. Remember you are not limited to one.
Step 2 Post the task you need doing on the chosen sites. As a consumer you are able to post as many tasks as you wish at no cost.
Step 3 Review offers from the trades and service providers who respond.
Step 4 Check out their experience, qualifications, licensing, insurance and any ratings / feedback from previous customers.
Step 5 Choose the right person for the task, take the conversation offline and close off the task advertised.
Popular platforms to source building and renovation services:
Without doubt one of the most high profile sites in this space, Airtasker is an Australian company making a splash. With over 1 million tasks posted in 2017 this platform lays claim to being home to over 300,000 registered “taskers” and almost 800,000 community members. That’s a lot of choice! You can search for a wide range of tasks in different categories, including handyman services and trades. Carpentry, painting, plumbing, sink services, downpipes installation, brick paving, floor installation…the list goes on.
When you post a task, you are asked to set a budget to indicate how much you are willing to spend. Consider this a starting price, with some room for movement depending on the response from taskers. Each will respond and either accept your price or negotiate further. Remember, you are not obliged to accept any if you don’t find what you are looking for! To assist in figuring out what is a reasonable price, Airtasker provide a task price guide. If your task doesn’t fit into one of the categories, they suggest a starting price of $25per hour and then let the Airtasker market place take it from there.
Once you receive some quotes, take the time to review the tasker’s portfolio, skills, verifications on their profile, as well as reviews on tasks previously completed. If you decide on a tradie that fits the bill, you can choose to accept their quote and from that point continue via private messaging. You should use private messaging via the Airtasker platform to discuss any further task details while you get your task completed.
Payment happens via Airtasker Pay. Once you accept an offer on a task, the agreed upon amount is held secure with Airtasker Pay until the task is complete. Once complete, you simply need to release the payment. Airtasker will then transfer the task payment to the Tasker’s verified bank account.
Caution: It is important to remember that although “Airtaskers” may have had their identification verified, it is still up to you to confirm that they hold the required qualifications, registrations and insurance to do the task. The upside is that Airtasker does hold public liability insurance of up to $20million for third party property damage or personal claims, but certain tasks such as building, will fall outside this scope.
This is another Australian marketplace designed to match customers and businesses around specific tasks and tasks. It offers over 150 categories including a large range relevant to building and renovating, with carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofing expert, tilers, plasterer, builders etc all listed under specific subcategories. The site offers 100,000+ registered business to choose from across Australia.
Posting a job is free and done by simply answering a selection of key questions. As with any task, the more information you can add to your description of the job, the better match you are likely to get. The difference with Oneflare is that they match service requests with quotes submitted by tradies. You will only receive a maximum of 3 detailed quotes for any job posted. Again, you are able to compare quotes, check profiles and references, before deciding if any fit the bill. As part of their rating system, Oneflare has already verified the licensing, ABN and insurance details of service providers submitting quotes. Nevertheless, it’s best to double check this directly with the tradie before going ahead with the job!
Oneflare also offers a detailed cost guide centre which is handy to use in determining what the right price for a job may look like. Interestingly they have a breakdown of different prices across different states. Very handy!
Hipages is another local company playing in this space and in fact one of the older kids on the block. Founded back in 2004 this site was specifically created for two areas the founders were particularly passionate about – natural therapies and home improvements. Hipages in fact stands for “home improvement pages”. 14 years later their site boasts over 2 million monthly visitors, over 132,000 service providers and jobs apparently posted every 37 seconds. That’s a lot of home improvements!
This site again allows you to post your task, as well as being able to upload a photo relevant to the job you need done (very handy). You will then receive “multiple quotes” from prequalified tradies, with the choice once again up to you to make once you compare profiles and recommendations. The site boasts a screening process and systems to monitor the ABN, licences (exceptions do apply) and solvency information about the tradies using the platform. It is important to note that this site does not extend insurance to its users, so it is up to you to ensure the tradie you are hiring has the appropriate insurance.
Hipages also offers a cost guide centre for users to get a feel for what a task should cost. However this is formatted as an archive of articles which makes it somewhat less transparent and more cumbersome to sift through.
A competitor in the Australian market, service.com.au is creating another easy to use and free marketplace for you as the customer to find local businesses. With a heavy focus on trades and service businesses, this site claims to have connected 500,000+ Australians to over 30,000 local businesses to get jobs done.
Again, this site is free to use as a consumer, but you are limited to receiving only 3 quotes from service providers. Service.com.au will match the businesses best suited geographically to you. As with other platforms you retain the final decision as to who, if anyone, you want to do the work. Different to other sites, the platform uses a badge system to verify the businesses they connect consumers with, encouraging service providers to attain as many status badges as possible.
10 tips on finding a tradie using tasking platforms
Like with many things where there is a lot of choice in play, these open platforms create their own challenges. To help you maximise your chances of a good experience with any service provider, use these 10 rules to guide you
- Be very specific. Don’t assume any prior knowledge and offer a clear, honest description of what the job entails.
- You will get a better response if you are genuinely ready to have the task done sooner rather than later. Asking for a quote for a possible job in a couple of months’ time will not bring you much joy on these sites. They are rather intended for the “I need it done now” timeframe.
- Make sure you have ready access to your computer or mobile device to respond quickly to quotes offered and questions sent. This usually occurs within a relatively short time frame after posting the task. Be prepared for some back and forth before you are able to reach a final decision.
- Delete the post as soon as you have enough quotes. Otherwise you will keep on receiving unnecessary emails and postings to your task
- Don’t rush! You don’t have to accept the first quote offered. Review and compare multiple quotes; the cheapest is not always the best option. The joy with these platforms is that if you post on multiple sites you will quickly get a feel for what is a “fair and reasonable” price for the task. Finally, and importantly, you don’t have to accept any at all if you are not happy with the price quoted.
- Depending on the size of the job you are perfectly entitled (and for any significant tasks this is highly recommended) to arrange an on-site inspection before locking in the price and the provider. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that all factors can be taken into account in reaching an acceptable price.
- Make sure you sight and take a copy/photo of certificates of currency for insurance covers, as well as any trade registration licences the service provider holds. You can check the licence or registration with the appropriate licensing authority in each state.
- Ask for a detailed, written quote with start and finish times and agreed payment terms. Get a receipt for any deposit or money paid!
- As always, don’t forget about your own personal safety and be mindful of any private information you share online when posting the task description.
- Do your homework.
Remember, planning and having the right information on hand before you get started, is key to successfully renovating and building.
Our range of Build in Common Toolkits have been designed as go-to-guides to give you the questions you need to ask of the building professionals, trades and service providers. Asking the right questions gives you the answers you need to make informed decisions and take the guesswork out of building and renovating.
They will put you firmly back in control of your project, your home and your budget.