Being a tradesman/gardener myself....when I go looking for a tradie I go local word of mouth. If you don't know anyone who knows a good tradie, then get quotes but ask the tradie if they are prepared to show you their recent work and also talk with their customer.
If a tradie resents this approach then brush 'em....as they have something to hide I'm afraid.
Work that stacks up with good service and decent pricing for what you get is always going to be your best bet rather than price alone....
I agree with Thorpy. Local community paper and recomendations is where i got mine. Another I got. I did not get recomendations and it feel to crap. First one has renovated a historic home for me very nice and very reasonable rate!
I can recomend mine as he does work in Melb if you want to PM me.
Am I missing something here or does this percentage poll add up to more than 100%?
View Poll Results: If you were looking for a Tradesman / Gardener, where would you look?
Google 1 7.14%
truelocal.com.au 0 0%
Yellow Pages 1 7.14%
Local Paper 9 64.29%
Community boards 2 14.29%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 14.
If it is something that we can't do ourselves or can't be bothered to do, then I will ask the local property manager for a referal. They get so much work done from their tradies, they know the good & bad.
Referal - especially if the two trades will work together e.g. sparky and plaster so cords don't go missing in the bloody wall.
True Local - tied in with leader newspaper i think so probably not a bad idea.
Service central - never gotten a response but i often put a quote request up there because it takes no time.
I'll usually ask my property managers; they tend to have a good idea of who is worth using, and who isn't. That's worked nicely so far. I wouldn't ever just pick a random off the net or out of the phone book (wait; who actually uses a phone book anymore??) without talking to someone who has used them first.
That said, most PM's will already have their favourites well established into their speed dial. It could take a little hard work and a little good luck to crack into the system.
In terms of building referrals from your customers, one of my business mentors used to tell me to use a three-step process;
1. Do a brilliant job for them,
2. Tell them that you did a brilliant job for them, then,
3. Tell them to tell all their friends that you did a brilliant job.