WA tradies blow reno budgets

Natalie Brown
Cost blow-out: Homeowner Lisa Kay. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Renovating a WA home is likely to cost more than in any other State, with trades people charging the highest amounts in the nation.

Figures from serviceseeking. com.au show the average cost of hiring a WA tradie for an hour has risen 10.4 per cent in the past year to $68.31, putting their price at almost $8 an hour more than the national average.

The company, which arranges quotes from more than 100,000 Australian trades people, found WA plumbers were the most expensive of the 10 trades surveyed, charging an average of $96.93 an hour, compared with $78.40 an hour nationally and ahead of those in South Australia ($90.89) and Queensland ($74.23).

Electricians are the only trade in WA charging less on average than last year, with the figures showing a discount of $3.90 an hour to $87.21 compared with last year.

The news comes as no surprise to homeowner Lisa Kay, whose budget for renovations to her Hillarys home blew out more than $100,000 recently. Ms Kay said the quotes from trades people were consistently higher than she expected and was a major cause of her budget blowout.

"I found everything to be more than what we first budgeted for," she said.

"It's slightly overpriced but you can't necessarily find it anywhere cheaper because there's not much to choose from. You go and look for quotes and there's not much movement."

Ms Kay said electricians, plumbers and landscapers were among the most expensive trades she had hired for her renovation and many appeared to be in short supply or had little availability.

Master Plumbers Association chief executive Murray Thomas said though the rate for a WA plumber was higher than some trades, it was reasonable given their technical expertise and the cost of running a small business.

Department of Consumer Protection acting retail and services director Lanie Chopping said homeowners should be wary of hiring trades people well below the average rate.

"Choose not just because of price, but also because of the reputation of the tradie. You may get the cheapest quote but it may not be the best job and you could end up with shoddy work being carried out," she said.

Ms Chopping said fake trades people had been known to undercut others to attract homeowners they could later scam out of thousands of dollars.

The department advises renovators to get at least three quotes before hiring and to avoid being targeted by scammers by paying deposits only when essential.