Don't you hate that whistling noise builders make as they suck air between their teeth after you've asked: "How much will it cost?"
That shock can be a thing of the past, and so can waiting for a tradesman (or woman) who doesn't turn up.
The virtually failsafe way to find a decent tradesman is to use Builderscrack.co.nz. You post your job and tradespeople reply. A rating system shows you what previous customers think of the tradesman. He or she knows they need to do a good job to get decent feedback.
I needed a hand basin replaced. Paul at Roma Plumbing Limited had done 48 previous jobs, had five hammer (star) feedback for all categories: workmanship, sticking to cost, keeping to schedule, professionalism, and responsiveness. He turned up on time, charged only the quoted amount despite the job being trickier than expected, and cleaned up.
If you need a second opinion, go to NoCowboys.co.nz. Roma Plumbing had a 98 per cent approval rate from 18 ratings.
I'm also tempted to use one-day-deals. Lyon Electrical did three hours' work for me last year on an $89 voucher from Treat Me. Likewise, I had the house washed cheaply with a GrabOne deal. You're less likely to be assured good service with a one-day-deal because you're not providing feedback. But you can still check their ratings at NoCowboys.
• GrabOne: Exterior house wash $119.
• GrabOne: Gutter and downpipe cleaning and condition report $89 today.
• GrabOne: Mains hot water cylinder including installation $1,699.