18 – Day 11: 14 Days To A New Bathroom

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On today’s episode,

Bernadette is back with Day 11 of the mini-series 14 Days To A New Bathroom. She will discuss trades and making sure you get efficient quality of work that’s both cost-effective and reliable. She will be breaking down each trade you need for your bathroom renovation and give her best tips for you to able to forge a good relationship with each of your trades.

This episode is a part of a 14-Day mini-series on Bathroom Renovations.

Listen to Day 11: 14 Days To A New Bathroom 

Podcast: Download (Duration: 13:47 — 27.06 MB)

Bernadette covers,

  • Why she prefers breaking down each trade for your bathroom renovation
  • How to cut down the costs by managing the project yourself and not rely on one company builder
  • Preparing complete documentation to get quotes for your project and using it as reference
  • What you need to include in your bathroom renovation checklist
  • Making sure your quotes are competitive by getting 3 to 5 quotes per trade
  • Getting decent trades by setting down the ground rules in your scope of work
  • Her recent experience with an unreliable trade and how she dealt with it
  • Why it is essential for you to teach your trade how to treat you and not tolerate bad attitude.
  • The things you need to check first about your trades before you engage with them
  • Why she likes to work with trades that have teams
  • Planning on what your trades need to complete each day

Episode highlights:

00:25 – We are going to be talking about trades

02:04 – A trade that does quality of work efficiently.

02:23 – I believe that you teach your trades how to treat you

02:39 – Breaking the bathroom renovation down into individual trades.

03:04 – You need to be proficient at this

03:12 – I definitely think that’s worth the effort

03:56 – A quote by one contractor will cost you significantly more

04:40 – A list of the trades that you will need to engage

05:05 – Prepare some documentation

05:28 – Documents need to be as complete as possible

05:45 – You cannot leave decisions up to the trades themselves

06:30 – Those documents become a working part of your project

07:00 – What materials you’re supplying and materials you what them to supply

08:00 – A minimum of 3 to 5 quotes per trade

08:30 – Have sufficient quotes to be able to make an informed decision

10:20 – The next part of your due diligence is actually doing reference checks

11:37 – You’re in control of your life in this scenario


Well hello! Bernadette back with Episode 11 in our mini series 14 Days To A Beautiful New Bathroom. Now before we get into today’s episode in which we’re going to be talking about trade.

I just wanted to read out one of the amazing reviews we’ve received already in iTunes and this one’s entitled: Excellent and 5 stars. Thank you. And it’s by skidsonnyboygamer1717. And it says: Bernadette, thank you. You can do it. For your honest and intelligent approach to renovating. You inspire me. Thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge. Well thank you very much, skidsonnyboygamer1717! I really appreciate the fact that you’ve gone over to iTunes and shared with us your experience of the podcast so far. Can I ask you to send me your name and address? And as promised I’ll send you out a copy of our hot off the press book: Secrets Of Property Millionaires Exposed in which I am featured.

And so for anyone else who would like to come over and leave us a review. I have a few more copies to share. So if you leave your review and then screen capture it and send it to me at bernadette@theschoolofrenovating.com with your postal address. I’ll send you out a copy of the book while stocks last. So let’s get into today’s episode.

And today we’re talking about trades. So, in terms of trades for your bathroom renovation what you need is a trade that does quality of work efficiently, so it’s cost effective and is reliable. Turns up when they say they’re going to turn up and does a great job. So I’m going to outline my process for achieving that. I have a lot of people complain that they don’t can’t get reliable trades and to be honest with you I believe that you teach your trades how to treat you and if you follow my process you will find that things will improve significantly.

Now let’s get back to the whole concept of trade. So, basically what we’re going to be doing is breaking the bathroom renovation down into individual trades. Now the reason we do that is so that we have more control over the project. So we can manage the project ourselves and that we can reduce the cost. If you’re planning to take on renovating in a professional way or in an investment way you need to be proficient at this.

I hear stories of people getting quotes for $20,000 even $30,000 for a bathroom renovation and a fairly basic one at that and it’s ridiculous to be honest. So if you engage someone like a bathroom company or a builder to do the whole lot, they have to charge you to manage the trades. They’ll get individual trades come and do the job, but they need to manage and so they have to charge you to do that work.

They also need to put markup on the materials that they’re managing and having installed, and they also have to factor in some risk money. So for things that don’t go completely to plan, although in saying that, if something serious happens that incurs an additional cost, you will get charged a variation. That’s just a fact of life.

That’s why a quote to have the whole project done by one contractor will cost you significantly more. A way that you can reduce that cost, is by taking on the management role yourself. Provided you’re legally able to do that in your location and provided that you have the skills to do that. So hopefully this episode will make some inroads into improving your skills. So I’m not going to talk about the individual trades in any depth in this episode. It’s more about getting the quotes and determining the time frames for each trade. But I will start by giving you a list of the trades that you will need to engage and will probably need to engage.

Firstly there is a demolition contractor. You’ll need a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, a renderer. A waterproofer and tiler. A glazier, a joiner and a stonemason. Now you may or may not need all those trades, but you’ll need a fair percentage of them.

In terms of getting your work quoted. The first thing you need to do is prepare some documentation, the better the documentation, the easier the project will be to manage. Because you have gone through and thought through all the scenarios that could possibly happen or the things that need to be done. So those documents need to be as complete as possible in terms of the scope of work. You also need a fairly decent diagram or drawing of what the completed bathroom needs to be, so that the trades have something to refer to when they’re doing the work.

Particularly if you’re not there, you cannot leave decisions up to the trades themselves, such as decisions about positions and problem solving, you need to be involved in that. But by having good drawings, that will certainly help reduce the amount of decisions that have to be made. In saying that, often when you give your trades a document package they will look at it for the quote and may never look at it again. So what I do is actually keep a copy on site and keep referring them back to it. Because often they will just rely on their memory and they are busy people and often it does not serve them well. So you want to make sure that those documents become a working part of your project. It doesn’t matter how small the project is. This is a critical step in the process.

So in those documents you want a list of the tasks that you want to do, so you go through the bathroom. Start with say the plumber or start with the demolition contractor, outline all the things that you want removed and the things that you need to stay and I would go a step further and mark them as well. Particularly the things you want to keep, so that they don’t get removed.

So then you got your list of things that you want them to do. You also want to include what materials you’re supplying and what materials you want them to supply, and then you have some light conditions for working on your project. So things like, make sure that they do work that’s in accordance with the national construction code. You want to have some reference in it, about the work health and safety laws in your state. You also want to let them know what you need, in terms of insurance and in terms of documents for due diligence.

I’ll talk a bit more about that in a minute and also the housekeeping stuff. How rubbish is to be treated, how they will access the site. So if you’ve got a lock box on site, you might give them the code and some instructions around how you want them to leave the site. So that document is very important, because it will really set the standard for your project. You want to have a minimum of 3 to 5 quotes per trade.

Now you might use the same plumber, say for every single job, which I do, but I always get checked quotes. I always like to make sure that my quotes are competitive. But if you’re getting a new trade, you’ll want 3 to 5 quotes minimum. Because some will fall off the bandwagon, so they may come in to the first meeting, but may not come through with the quote. So you want to make sure that you’re going to have sufficient quotes to be able to make an informed decision.

In terms of how to make sure that you get decent trades, it’s really about, firstly, when you set down the ground rules in your scope of work, that weeds out the cowboys in most cases. But also, I just have a rule that if someone doesn’t turn up or doesn’t do what they say they are going to do. I just don’t go back to them like that.

I’ll give you an example. I received a contract for a builder on our project in Queensland who came highly recommended to do some building work on the project. So we’d been communicating via email and he was going to quote on the job. I had my documentation package prepared and fairly thorough and it just wasn’t coming through.He say he’d be there on Monday and because he came recommended, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. That was my mistake, to be honest. And so I said to him, I’m going to fly up and meet you there, because I thought, well maybe we need to meet on site, maybe he’s not coping with the remote bit. So I flew to Queensland, met him on site, got really clear about everything. Came back, another week went by, still didn’t get a quote. So that’s it. So I could have gone back to him and badgered him but I’ve decided, you know what? If this is how we’re starting our relationship, it’s not going to work. So I went back to square one. I’ve got more builders, got more quotes, that did require I had to fly up there again. But it was worth it, because we got a fabulous builder, who was awesome.

And yes, so you teach your trade how to treat you. If you tolerate that, then expect that that’s what you’re going to get. The next part of your due diligence is actually doing reference checks. I rarely, I shouldn’t say never, because I did recently and it came back to bite me. But I rarely engage someone that I haven’t reference checked, because that’s when you get into trouble.

So in terms of reference check. Firstly, plumbers, electricians and electricians must be licensed they need to do a license check, waterproofer, in some states need to be licensed but at the very least need to supply you with a certificate of warranty. So that waterproofing is guaranteed. And then you also need to check the quality of work, so visually, see particularly with tilers and then check their performance by checking past clients to make sure that they are as good as you think they’re going to be. If you do these things before you engage your trade, you should find that you have a much better run with your trades than by just sort of going on gut. I don’t find that really works out well.

Another thing is, I don’t engage people that I don’t really enjoy working with. I get a bad feeling about someone when we’re quoting. That’s it. I just don’t go any further. You’re in control of your life, in this scenario. So don’t make it miserable by working with people that aren’t very nice, basically. Okay so you make two trades on site. Often they will give you great feedback about how you could do your project better and more cost effectively and so on.

The other thing when you’re at this point, is to get feedback from them, on what they believe they need in terms of time to complete the project. This is often very telling. I actually like to work with trades that have teams, I do have a couple, like my plumber, is a one man band. But on the whole, I look for things like tiling, I like to have a team. Because they’re just much more efficient and the tiling and waterproofing and rendering for that matter really slows the job down. So if you can get someone that’s efficient in that trade it can really help with getting your project executed.

For instance, we generally plan on 3 days for our tiler, so a half a day for the topping, the floor topping and then you can’t do anything else for the rest of that day. Because you can’t walk on it. And then another day for the floor tiling and then another day for the wall tiling and grouting and that’s pretty much it. They bring a team in and if you’ve got two bathrooms, they bring two teams in and they happen concurrently and I find that that’s the most effective way to get a bathroom renovated.

Okay, so I will get more specific about time frames when I get into the actual execution of the renovation. But that’s it for today with trades. So please don’t forget to go over and leave a review and I’ll see you tomorrow where we’re going to be referring to a case study. Our current renovation which I think will help with explaining these concepts.

See you then!

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Bernadette Janson

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