If you’re looking to employ a builder to complete works at your home or business, you want to be sure you have the best builder possible.

One with a good reputation, strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and above all, experience and sound knowledge of the industry.

You’re putting your prized possession in the hands of a stranger and trusting them to complete the job in a safe, ethical and timely manner. There may be many builders in Mornington Peninsula and you want to be 100% sure you’re getting quality tradespeople for your project.

Here are a few tips on what to look for so you can steer well clear of Mr. Dodgy Builder.

9 Tactics Of Spotting A Dodgy Builder

1.  They often appear from nowhere, asking for work

I once had a friend who was approached at their local hardware store by a ‘builder’ asking if they wanted an extra set of hands. A bit of investigation discovered that the same person was turning up to work sites and local baseness offering his services.

Much like a phantom, he came, he talked, and then he disappeared back into the ether.

2.  No references, no portfolio

A good tradesperson takes pride in their work; in fact, it’s a selling point for them. A trusted and reputable company will be able to showcase your examples of their previous work and provide you with detailed explanations and information about their company, selves, and workers in a work-related capacity.

3. No ABN or fixed business address

They make themselves difficult to trace with no solid credentials or contact details. A reputable company will have a solid foundation with a work address, ABN, email, phone number, and website. My Dodgy is unlikely to have any of these.

Some examples of rationalizing the notion of not having any of these are that he may be in transition, has just moved to Australia, or works from overseas, and is just visiting to check on his ínvestments’.

dodgy business address

During your search, you may come across an assortment of characters.

4.  Their rates are so bargain-basement low

Mr. Dodgy might tell you he’s cutting you a very special deal, just because he likes you (he just met you, but you’re likable right?). The prices he offers or quotes may be low enough for you not to be suspicious, but just within the margin for him to be cheaper than other providers in the area.

Remember the age-old saying, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

A professional establishment will have fair and competitive prices, but they won’t always be super cheap. This is because you’re paying for a quality experience, staff, skills, and product.

This investment is likely to be one of the primary focus and priorities in your life, make sure you choose wisely and remember that cheaper isn’t always best.

5.  The price is low because he wants to keep it all hush-hush

Nudge nudge, wink wink, let’s just do a gentlemen’s agreement, no need for contracts or official agreements. My Dodgy may flat out refuse or delay the process by saying his printer doesn’t work or his administration staff has lost it.

Rather than pay tax and other utilities, this guy swears he’ll do the right thing by you, your family, and your business, and just accept cash, which he can only do without that golden written, traceable, accountable contract.

A creditable company will have contracts ready; they will work with you to create an individual tailored piece and will go through it with you to ensure all parties are aware of the responsibilities and obligations. Work is usually conducted in stages and these are explained and documented with a good builder.

6.  Speaking of money

Your charming dodgy builder will most likely either ask for cash up front or keep coming up with miraculous deals that you need to act on now or unfortunate mishaps and ‘misunderstandings’ with the original quote. It’ll seem money tends to magically disappear around this guy.

A respectable company will outlay all your expenses, all the costs involved with their works, as well as planning and building approvals (they are essential).

There are generally no hidden costs and anything unexpected is discussed. Payment, as with the works is generally done in installments and companies will vary on this.

Dodgy Builder spotting

A respectable company will outlay all your expenses…

7.  Once you’ve assigned him, he becomes a little harder to reach

With our friend Mr. Dodgy, he will rarely answer the phone once you’ve given him the job. There might be workers there doing aspects of the task, but they often don’t know much about the job, may have little experience, and may not know how to reach him either.

A decent builder will return calls, and emails and meet with you. They’ll explain who is attending the site and what they are doing and when to expect them.

Or in the unfortunate case where you’ve handed over all your cash, he disappears off into the sunset.

8.  The actual work is substandard

Much like his communication skills and regard for safety and adhering to local bylaws, the work is often below expectation or even appalling. In some situations, this may cause a lot of damage to buildings, potentially affecting their structural integrity.

A more trustworthy tradesperson knows what they’re doing. They will have a whole wealth of experience, knowledge, and skills to complete the job professionally, safely and within your budget. Their work speaks for itself, and when the final nail is in, you’ll be glad you chose them.

9. Your gut instinct

I’ll go back to the ‘builder’ at the hardware store. My friend talked him into a meeting with all of our potential clients. No business card (at a client meeting?), no company name, no phone, no references, just a list of tasks he could do and work he wanted to assign people to.

All our guts screamed no. Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, or just too unbelievably good to be true, just trust it.

Mr. Dodgy

With our friend Mr. Dodgy, he will rarely answer the phone once you’ve given him the job…


Mashum Mollah

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