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.
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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.