The costs of tradies surge as Australian renovation sector booms

Mar 21, 2017

With Australia’s property market continuing to boom in 2017, an increasing number of homeowners are choosing to renovate their existing dwellings rather than upsize to a new house.

That’s great news for tradies, with the surge in demand for home renovations lifting the cost of a wide range of work including plumbing, landscaping, electrical, and painting services.

Plumbers have been the biggest winners from the renovation upswing, charging an average of $78.84 an hour since the start of February – a seven per cent lift from the same time in 2016, according to jobs website*.

Plumbers are followed by electricians, who are currently charging an average of $75.43 per hour, up 7.2 per cent on the same time last year,’s latest Tradie Price Index shows.

Other tradies cashing in at the moment include landscapers ($70.46 per hour), builders ($64.48 per hour) and carpenters ($56.37 per hour), according to the index.

Given the skyrocketing prices, especially those in the real estate hotspots of Melbourne and Sydney, it’s essential to find the right tradesman for the job, at the best price possible.

Check they’re qualified and accredited

A good way to ensure you find a high-quality tradesperson is to ensure he or she has invested time and money to go through an industry accreditation process to join their trade’s peak organisation.

When it comes to plumbers this is likely to be the Master Plumbers’ Association in the relevant state or territory, while for electricians it’s likely to be the Master Electricians’’ Association, which also has branches across the country. Other trades have their own associations.

Proper qualifications are another signal of quality workmanship, with licenses and certifications unlikely to be a problem to produce for proper industry professionals.

Get written quotes

To get the most bang for your buck it is also a smart move to request a detailed written quote from the tradesperson you want to engage.

Specifically, ensure that the quote includes a breakdown of costs, a timeline of work, and a clear description of what needs to be done, as well as when payment is scheduled to be made.

For peace of mind, it also pays to shop around and obtain a few quotes then make an informed decision before embarking on what, could amoung to very expensive work.

Obtain references

If you’re considering major building or renovation work it is also prudent to get some genuine references from previous clients who can attest to the quality of the tradie’s work.

When it comes to major undertakings speaking with other clients is a valuable check that can help ensure you get a quality service, at a good price.

Some useful questions to ask are whether the previous client was happy with the tradesperson’s work, whether the project exceeded budget, and whether the client would engage them again.