7 tips to avoid a renovation disaster

Renovations don’t need to be painful

With Australia’s housing market being what it is, renovation is becoming more and more essential for the modern home buyer. Starting your first renovation can be daunting. You’ll need to be comfortable in dealing with tradies, banks, councils and everything in between. Not to mention you’ll probably have to roll up your sleeves and pick up the tools every now and then yourself! Don’t be put off though, managing a home renovation yourself is not only very possible, it can be extremely rewarding too. Here’s our 7 tips to get you on the right track!

Renovations are made easy with CanYa. Need to find the best tradesmen around, turn to CanYa for all your trusted tradie needs
With the right help, renovations can be easy and rewarding

1. Create a comprehensive plan

Start the process by looking at the renovation from a big picture perspective. Some of the things you’ll need to consider from the outset:

  • Value addition

    • Try and avoid over-capitilising during your renovation. Don’t go over the top with features that may not correlate to an increase in the value of your home. A pool is a classic example of an over-capitilisation. They can be incredibly expensive yet you may not see a corresponding increase in your home’s valuation. One rule of thumb is to not spend more than 25% of the home’s valuation on any renovation.
  • Rules and regulations.

    • What legal requirements do I need to meet? Ie plumbing and electric work standards etc
    • Council approvals (if any). This can be a show stopper or expensive mistake if your amazing plan does not conform to council standards. Get this squared away as early as possible!
  • Budget.

    • Create a realistic budget and try your best to stick to it!
    • Factor in things like weather, time of year (ie holidays etc) and accessibility to your property.
    • Save 10-20% as a contingency fund for unforeseen costs (you’ll probably need it!).
  • Timeline.

    • Create a timeline to allocate your resources and budget.
    • Some things will need to precede others during your renovation. Make sure you plan these out to avoid wasting your time or efforts.

2. Figure out what you can do yourself and where you’ll need help

A common trap for first time renovators is trying to do too much themselves to save money. Although this is an attractive thought there are often things that will need to be done professionally. For example plumbing and electrical work needs to be done to a certain professional standard by a licensed individual. Completing this work yourself will not just open you up to crippling lawsuits it will be incredibly unsafe!

Two blokes getting electrocuted trying to do their own electrical work. Do not get caught out without a professional sparky on CanYa
Leave it to the professionals!

Even the work that doesn’t require a licensed professional may be unsuited to tackling yourself. Often DIY’ers will persevere with a project for far too long costing themselves time and money only to have to get a professional to come and re-do it all anyway.

Honestly assess your skills and available time. Do as much as you can of those tasks you deem are manageable, for the others do yourself a favour and call in a professional! CanYa has a huge range of capable, reviewed and willing professionals with all of the renovation help you may need; you can also view their prices before you book. CanYa will also not cost you anything to use so check it out during the early stages of your renovation here: Australia’s easiest way to hire local professionals is available for download here.

Hopeless guy gets electrocuted because he didn't find the right help on CanYa, the services app

3. For the DIY tasks you choose to tackle; educate yourself!

DIY’ing can be difficult and frustrating, or, manageable and rewarding, it comes down to how well you prepare yourself! Luckily in today’s age there are heaps of awesome, free resources available for the budding renovator. Here are some online resources to get you going:

DIY or Do It Yourself is a noble endeavor but just remember that CanYa can help book and review local service providers. It is very easy to find jobs in Melbourne, Adelaide or Darwin

Also, use as many non-digital resources as you can get your hands on. Bunnings runs lots of free courses on the weekends, there are also many other community run workshops you can find in your area. Often the best help is from a friend or family member, don’t be ashamed in asking as I can guarantee they did the same their first time!

4. For the tasks you outsource; choose the right professional!

Choosing the right tradie for your job will be crucial. An extra bit of effort during your due diligence will save you a lot of time and money down the road; so choose wisely!

Step 1: Get recommendations

Use friend or family recommendations for tradies they may have used in the past. If you come to a dead-end here or want to expand your horizons download CanYa for free (app.canya.com.au). CanYa was designed to make this experience as easy as possible. All CanYa providers have passed a vetting process relating to their specific service. Most of them are also reviewed. This way you can see a number of un-biased recommendations by other renovators who have used them in the past, an awesome resource for any renovator!

Step 2: Get multiple quotes

Getting multiple quotes for the job will give you a solid understanding of what the job should cost on the open market. Make sure when requesting quotes the service provider has all the information required to send an accurate quote; this will prevent any future surprise costs once the work starts.

If you’re using CanYa you can achieve this step with two methods. Either browsing the provider list and selecting a provider who’s profile and hourly rate match your needs. Or ‘broadcast‘ a job to multiple providers. They will all send a quote and you can negotiate and select as appropriate. Don’t worry, it is free to Find, Quote, Book, Pay and Review for the user!

Step 3: Communicate

Once you’ve selected your tradesperson or service provider make sure you communicate with them clearly and regularly! Don’t leave anything important to interpretation. Again, CanYa has you covered here with free texting and calling. Also all of your previous messages and photos are saved on the app’s chat log for both you and your provider to view at a later date if anything needs to be clarified.

CanYa lets you do all of the above and more

5. Learn to compromise and get creative 

If you’re a first time renovator you probably won’t have an unlimited budget. You’ll need to be able to compromise on certain elements of the renovation to keep it within budget and avoid over-capitilising on the renovation. Or, even better, you can come up with a creative new way to tackle the problem and stay within budget that way.

CanYa helps connect you with local tradies that know what they are doing. The peer-peer reviewing keeps everybody honest
A little bit of paint goes a long way!

One example is, instead of paying for a whole new tiling job on, say, a bathroom you may be able to paint the existing tiles in a fresh new colour and achieve a similar effect for a fraction of the cost. There are heaps of renovation resources that cover cool tricks like this to save on cost when renovating.

6. Sort your Finance

There are a lot of ways to source the finance for a new renovation that people aren’t aware of. Your first step should be seeing if there are any government grants available for your renovation. This is not as unrealistic as it might sound, state governments can offer these grants to stimulate the local economy, in fact, home owners in the NT just benefited from a $15m state grant to do just that.

CanYa is making it easier than ever to get a renovation grant from the government
CanYa makes getting access to government grants simple.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be eligible for a grant then speak to your bank about some other ways to finance your renovation (if you don’t have all of the money ready in your bank account). A quick loan and renovation before selling a house may reap you a much greater return come sale day. Some options the bank may provide include:

  • Drawing on existing equity in your house
  • Lines of credit
  • Building and construction loans

Each person’s case will be different but securing your finance early will significantly reduce the stress involved during the renovation.

7. Ask for help!

Some jobs on your renovation may require many hours to earn your ‘sweat equity‘. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family around for a few hours of help to ease the burden…just don’t forget to provide them a BBQ and some drinks afterwards!

Also, friends and family who have been through the renovation process are often great sources of information and tips that are locationally relevant. Don’t overlook all of the great resources that may be in front of you every day!

Getting the help you need is important, make sure you lean on your friends and family


There are our 7 tips to all new renovators. Although these may not cover everything you need to know for all renovations they serve as a pretty good starting foundation. Think we’ve missed anything important or have any good renovation tips yourself? Let us know in the comments below or email our support team. We would also love to hear about your suggestions, experiences or tips on our CanYa Facebook Page.


CanYa Web-App – the platform you have been waiting for

In our recent blog post we chatted about some cool features the team is implementing for the mobile app and briefly mentioned our web-app. Now is the time to tell you a bit more about it!
Our web-app is going to be AWESOME! When we sat down to figure out how to do it, we decided on three principles:
1. It must be beautiful ☑
2. It must be super easy to use ☑
3. It must highlight our providers in the best possible way ☑
We took a look at all the cool features in our mobile app and brought them over to the web-app. Little things like having “z-direction” and content panes are all subtle cues to make the interface feel familiar and app-like.
It took us about 3 months to finally finish the initial design of the web-app and get it drafted. Safe to say we are very impressed! We are introducing some novel design features we think you are going to love!

Colour Palette & Design Elements

We have kept to our signature ocean colours and also introduced soft blue colours to backdrop content and green highlights to emphasise important information. We are using our orange colour to accentuate important buttons and text.
The result is a refreshingly cool design interface that conveys trust and stability.
Our colour scheme isn’t an accident, it has been designed to look beautiful!
We used dropshadows with heavy blurring widely across the interface to add a “z-direction” (depth) to reinforce a very “touchable” interface.
Check out one of our breadcrumbs:
Doesn’t it make you want to just click it?!
We also used rounded rectangles everywhere to help keep the design smooth and fresh.
Check out our chat pane:
Clean and crisp chat pane
It looks exactly like a mobile app screen – familiar and easy to use!

Home Page – Categories

This page quickly and intuitively shows you all the local services around you. No ads, no distracting banners. Just the content you need! We think you will love our “pop” feature when you hover over the panes!
The brand new CanYa Web-App, it is so easy to use!

Provider View 

Viewing local, verified Providers has never been easier
Here you can see all the relevant content about the provider, with a lot of negative space and light colours. We add the important features on the side – like chat and calendar!
And the most important button ‘make a job enquiry” is right in the centre!


CanYa is all about having the best experience in hiring local services, so we spent a lot of time designing the best possible booking tab.
Check it out!
Find, Book, Pay & Review with ease
You can see here that we have kept all the information on a central screen, with a chat pane on the right. We also borrowed UI elements from the mobile app, such as the status indicator – showing you exactly what is happening with the job at all times!
We think you are going to love using the web-app and we are excited to announce that it will be live by early July! We will keep you updated. If you would like to help the CanYa team test it, just send us a message and we’ll invite you to the beta test!

Updates to Pricing Policy

We’re also excited to announce that CanYa is completely free for users! We’re trying to create the best possible experience for our users and this was an easy decision for us. For more info on our generous pricing policy, check out our Help Centre.

Everything you need to know about your air-con

Air-Con Basics

Air-conditioners are a must have in Australian summers, but what about winter? Getting to understand the basics of your air-conditioner will help answer this question.

A detailed account of air-conditioning can be found at this helpful link. If you are like me and fell asleep in the first paragraph of the explanation, I will break it down even more.

Basically, an air-con transfers heat from one area to another area (this is usually transferring heat from the inside of your house to the outside).

The transferring of heat is accomplished through some very handy chemical reactions and thermodynamics (let’s refer to this as ‘magic). Just imagine:

  1. Hot air goes in
  2. Magic happens
  3. Cold air comes out (and even hotter air is vented elsewhere).
CanYa_Air-Con Operation Explained_Summer
Hot air in (red), magic occurs, cold air out (blue)


Ok, the basics of the traditional air-con makes a bit more sense, but what about using an air-conditioner to make a room warm? This is the biggest misconception with air-conditioners, they can and should be used this winter to keep your house warm. The basics are the same, just think of it as the air-con trying to cool the world and therefore venting the warm air into your house.

CanYa_Air-Con_How it works_Summer VS Winter
Don’t give up on your air-con this winter, it will still keep you comfortable


The air-con that you grew up with and imagine propped up in your window is a thing of the past. Now-a-days you can expect either split or ducted air-conditioning.

Split air-conditioning

The split air-conditioner is the most common type of air-con in Australia. Basically you expect to see this nice and neat air-con on the wall:

CanYa_Split Air-con
Looks familiar right? The split air-con is the most common in Australia.

This is the part of the system the takes the hot air in and blows the cold air out. The ‘magic‘ occurs outside where you don’t see or hear it.

Ducted air-conditioning

Ducted air-conditioning is similar to a split system, in that the ‘magic‘ part of the process occurs outside the house. The main difference is that the ‘conditioned air‘ is pumped through the entire house and vented into all of the rooms. Some more detailed explanation on ducted air-conditioners can be found here.

You have probably also heard of ‘reverse cycle‘ air-conditioning; this is basically the option to reverse the process to warm the house in winter.

CanYa_Spilt VS Ducted Air-Con
Split VS Ducted air-conditioning

Getting either system installed is definitelyjob for the professionals. If you are a weekend-warrior, please stop here and find a professional air-conditioner installer! You need to ensure that you get a properly trained, licensed and insured air-conditioning installer.

Installation is a BIG job, get professional help!

You might be capable of installing your own air-conditioner but it is not actually legal for you to do it! You need a professional that is appropriately qualified, licensed and insured. But put the legal stuff aside, it is way easier for them to do it AND you will get a better product.

CanYa_Air-Con_Installation with AE Solutions
Neat and tidy handy-work from AE Solutions NT

Maintenance and Repair

The main draw-back to relying solely on your reverse cycle air-conditioner in winter is the energy bills. There is no real way to get around this except for using your air-con sparingly and in collaboration with your more energy efficient heating devices.

The silver lining of your air-conditioner not being used as heavily in winter is the opportunity to clean it!

“Why would I clean my air-conditioner? It seems clean enough.”

The disgusting truth is, you need to clean your air-conditioner! Don’t believe me?

CanYa_Air-Con_Why get your air-con cleaned?
The air that blows on you comes from here 😷

This level of mould and grime is not healthy for you or your family, so make sure you get it cleaned!

CanYa_Air-Con_Why you get your air-con cleaned
It looks clean on the outside but it is the filth on the inside that counts

How to Find Good Help

Fair to say that you now understand (or have been shocked into submission) that you NEED to get your air-conditioner maintained today! The process of find a qualified, trusted, verified, licensed and insured air-conditioning technician is daunting. Thankfully CanYa – Australia’s best way to hire local service providers, makes it super easy for you to get the help you need.

CanYa_AE Solutions NT_Logo
AE Solutions; CanYa’s Provider of the Week

For those in the CanYa Community that live in Darwin, you should check out our CanYa Provider of the Week; AE Solutions NT. Josh will be able to help you out with all of your air-conditioning needs (and much more). Check him out today!

CanYa_Air-Con_Comfortable inside
AE Solutions NT will take care of all your air-con needs so you can relax

New & exciting CanYa features as requested by our community

CanYa – ever evolving for our community

Everyone loves good ideas, but Australia’s best way to hire local services also loves implementing ideas! Here are some of the fantastic new features the CanYa Community have been asked for. We have been very busy developing these features and here is a sneak peek of what’s to come!

CanYa_Community_Feature Image-1200x628

Our app is only as good as the community that supports it!

Instant Book

Who wants to wait? You need a job done, you know who you want, you know what it will cost and you know when you want it… So why should you wait? We at CanYa believe you shouldn’t need to wait and we know providers will love getting INSTANTLY booked! So it’s coming.

finger click book now symbol
Don’t mess around if you already know who you want, Instant Book straight away!

Multi User Job

Ever needed a plumber to attend your apartment when you won’t be home, but your flatmate might be?

Wouldn’t it be handy for your flatmate to know all the details without you? Well we’ve decided to solve that issue. With Multi User Booking, you can simply add your flatmate to the job! They get to be privy to all the job details on their smartphone; making it that much easier to organise who is going to be home to let the plumber in…

Even more exciting about this feature – it will allow property managers to organise maintenance on rental properties and simultaneously share with both tenant and landlord – a great result for everyone involved in the job booking process.

multi-user chat
CanYa’s Multi-User Chat


Now we know everyone loves their mobiles and doing things on the go whilst you are on the train coming home from work. But we also love our laptops and having a nice big screen to see what you are doing. So we are giving YOU the option very soon – mobile or laptop – doesn’t matter! You will get to book what you want, when you want and how you want it.

CanYa_Web App_Sneak Peak
CanYa’s soon to be release Web App, it is SO good!

Can Ya Call? Yes you can!

Some of our users reported issues with the integrated calling technology (VOIP). We have listened to your feedback and decided we are going to take it a step further and let the CanYa Call convert into a 3G call when required. No more phone tag with your electrician, just call them directly on your own phone.

CanYa Call, soon available in-app or on your phone

Integrated invoicing and sharing features

Invoicing is important. Everyone needs the tax invoice so we are going to overhaul our current invoice and give you one good looking piece of paper (or email) which will be viewable in the app. To take it a step further, you can also choose to it to be emailed to you AND you will be able to share the invoice with others.

We will also go one step further for our providers using Xero (guess what, we at CanYa use Xero too) – we are going to match the invoice number to the bank payments so that when you get the emailed invoice, you will be able to send it to Xero and let it do all the accounting work for you. Eventually we hope to have integration with QuickBooks too!

CanYa will be making the book-keeping easier than ever!

PayPal integration

We all love PayPal and we know some of our users are waiting for this feature with breaths abated. So yes it’s coming! Sometimes the simplest of features requires a crazy amount of coding and innovative brainstorming behind the scenes…you should see our desks!

You want PayPal in CanYa, we are making it happen!

So what else do you guys need from CanYa?

Don’t let us run out of ways to make CanYa fantastic for YOU – we love to hear ideas and we love to put them into action. Shoot us an email and let us know how we can make your lives easier! If you don’t have CanYa yet, fear not, it is free to download (via this link), free to setup and free to get jobs done at your house today!

Want a home renovation sponsored by the NT government?

Renovator’s delight

It’s a good time to be a home-owner in the Northern Territory! With house prices back on the rise and Darwin’s CBD re-development going full steam ahead the future of the market is looking good. The story gets even better for those home owners looking to renovate in the near future! The Northern Territory government is trying to stimulate the jobs industry and increase growth in the Darwin region by encouraging first home buyers and renovators.

NT Government
The NT Government could be sponsoring your home renovation!

The NT government are spear-heading these initiatives with a number of grants and renovation schemes available to local Darwinites. The problem with these schemes are they appear to be overwhelming and too difficult to bother pursuing. Thankfully Australia’s best services app is offering to help solve these issues; for free!

CanYa, Darwin’s most exciting new tradesperson marketplace is currently going all out to help Territorians bring more life, and more value to their homes. For a limited time CanYa will be organising all the steps necessary to access the NT government’s grants and renovation schemes. This includes the NT Home Improvement Scheme and the First Home Renovation Scheme. The short version:

For the NT Home Improvement Scheme, the NT government will pay for half the cost of any renovation up to $20,000 for eligible home-owners.

Home Improvement Scheme_CanYa
CanYa makes the Home Improvement Scheme simple.

For the First Home Renovation Scheme, the NT government will grant up to $10 000 for First Home owners to renovate their house.

First Home Scheme_Home Reno Grant
5 Easy Steps? CanYa will guide you through them all, for free!

CanYa will not only organise the steps necessary to access the scheme they will also provide renovators with a great choice of the NT’s best and most trusted tradespeople. The best part is that the team at CanYa are doing this for you completely free of charge!

Why CanYa?

CanYa launched in the NT earlier this year and the team is very confident that it is the best way to book any service providers, no matter how big or small the job. So much so that they are willing to organise your entire renovation to prove it!

CanYa is full of trusted service providers that are eager to renovate your house!

What’s in it for CanYa?

CanYa is Australia’s best way to hire local service providers and they want the opportunity to prove it to you! Their Fees and Charges are the best in the industry; they only take a 5% transaction fee from the Provider for the entire job. You can look at all the other apps and services in this space and you will not find anything even close. That means that the home renovator (you) will be able to Find, Book, Pay and Review local service providers in CanYa for FREE.

What do I need to do?

If you are a home owner in the NT then get in touch with the CanYa team ASAP. You can do this at www.canya.com.au, emailing support@canya.com.au or just simply send them a message on their Facebook page!

Don’t overthink it, just get in contact to see if CanYa can help you!

Once you have contacted the CanYa team they will perform all of the necessary work to get the grant application rolling and then provide you with a comprehensive selection of tradespeople perfect for whatever your renovation might require.

Then it’s just a matter of sitting back and watching your house get transformed in the knowledge that you’re only paying for half of it!

If you’re interested in making the most of this (and who wouldn’t be!) reach out to the CanYa team ASAP as this offer is only valid for a short time for a limited number of home-owners!







Household Tips for Winter

Winter is coming?

Eddard Stark has been telling us this for years and we have refused to believe him. Unfortunately the time has come; WINTER IS HERE!

Winter is here

Technically he is right; winter is here

Electrical tips for winter

We have to accept that winter has come (sigh) and that we have some preparation to do to make sure it is as bearable as possible. These tips will keep you warm, comfortable and most importantly, safe this season.

The shining_Frozen
If we learnt anything from this guy, it is to get help early!

Reverse your ceiling fan direction

It might come as a surprise but your fan actually works in two directions! The default is set to summer mode which spins in a direction that allows the cold air to be pushed down. During winter you should flick the switch on the main body of the fan to change it to winter mode. Winter mode will circulate the warm air from the top and push it back down to establish a more comfortable room temperature (with the help of a separate heater).

Fan_Winter Explanation
Winter mode helps disperse the warm air trapped at the top of the room

Clean heater filters

This is obviously a safety one. Checking your filters is extremely important, especially your heater filters during winter! We have previously posted about the importance of cleaning filters in our blog; The Home Maintenance Schedule. It is actually a great opportunity to also service your air-conditioner whilst you aren’t using it.

Clean V Dirty Filters
Remember, you are breathing that stuff in too!

Check smoke alarms

The risk of a house fire increases during winter because of the extra use of heaters, powerboards, electric blankets and other household appliances. Make sure you have checked that you and your family are safe this winter by doing this quick and easy task! If you don’t know how to check the smoke alarm we have an informative how-to guide here.

Checking smoke alarms
Only takes a few seconds, stop and do it now.

Adjust your fridge

Did you know that your fridge has different settings for summer and for winter. When you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. If it is hot outside, your fridge has to work a lot harder to keep it cold. Conversely, you need to tell you fridge that it is going to be cold outside so you don’t start freezing your food in the fridge.

Fridge_Summer V Winter
Check in your fridge for directions like these

Buy heaters with an auto-shut off feature

Chances are you threw out your old heater in the ecstasy of summer because you could never imagine needing a heater again! Well the time has come again; you need to buy a heater. It is a requirement now that heaters are equipped with an auto-shut off feature which turns in off if it detects it getting too hot. This is mandatory for current heating suppliers but if you are buying an old heater off GumTree, make sure you check it has the ability to save itself from overheating and igniting!

Electric Heater on Fire
Check your heater has an auto-shut off feature if it becomes too hot!

Overwhelmed? Ask for help!

Some of these tips might make you feel a little overwhelmed or uncertain of how to complete the tasks. The last thing we want is for you to end up like this hapless fool:

Electrical Shock
No one wants to be this guy

Thankfully there is a really easy option for you to get all the help you need this winter. CanYa is Australia’s easiest way to hire qualified and trusted electricians and the free app is FULL of electricians that are ready to help!

POTW_Gaff Electrics
Alan from Gaff Electrics; CanYa’s Provider of the Week

Alan is a trusted electrician in the Melbourne region that has been recognised by CanYa as our Provider of the Week! He is fully licensed and has years of experience on the job as an electrician. The next time you need help from an electrician, make sure you look to CanYa so that you can hire local! To make it easy, you can check out Alan via his Facebook Page or even better, you can check him out for free on Australia’s best way to hire local service providers: CanYa.

The local service providers you find on CanYa (like Alan) are very trustworthy, unlike this bloke:

Electrical Shock Prank
Leave it to the trustworthy professionals!