Finding builders is simple these days – you have CanYa 😉, Google and the entire internet. The problem is, how do you know if you have a good builder or a GREAT builder? Turns out that there are some common characteristics that all great builders share.
Licensing and insurance
Licensing is a very good place to start. Certain trades (usually the safety critical ones) require mandatory licensing to be able to work. Think plumbers, electricians, builders etc.
Having adequate insurance is another sign of a great builder. They need to be appropriately covered to protect themselves, you and your project. Make sure you check that your builder is licensed and insured before you hire them.
The main gripe with hiring builders that you don’t know is the tendency to quote low but ultimately charge high. The reason for this is simple, people are mainly price sensitive when looking online because it is traditionally quite hard to measure a builders quality. The builder gets his (or her) foot in the door with a low quote and then adds on all the extras that weren’t in the original quote but are essential to getting a good result.
Look for a builder that gives you a detailed, reasonable and written quote.
It is important to remember that this person is working for you. With this comes an expectation of professionalism. They should be open, honest, approachable and reasonable. Any deposits they require should be checked against State or Territory guidelines and given with plenty of notice.
This is a very important aspect of the process that is routinely done poorly. You must have everything detailed in a very clear written contract (depending on the job size) and you need to have discussed expectations, timelines, limitations, budget etc. A great builder will give you the time to read, changeandamend the contractto accurately reflect your expectations.
It is actually quite hard to find honest and candid references and referrals because it is usually the builder that provides them. What you need to do is find a platform like CanYa that lists all previous reviews (by score and written comments) to ensure that your builder is great quality.
Example of a great builder
B. P. Building Services PTY LTD in Darwin (Australia) is CanYa’s Provider Of The Week and a perfect example of a GREAT builder. Brett is skilled in ceilings, roofing, flooring, bulkheads, cladding and framing, renovations, bathroom/kitchen fit outs and much more. Check out some of their handy work below:
It was a hot and humid afternoon in January 2017 when I came home and my neighbour approached me from across the road. He proceed to tell me that he had been trying to call me because he had noticed a huge oil stain on my driveway. Dismayed and little stressed I looked over to where he was pointing to see the oil slick. My heart immediately started beating faster.
My wife was driving the Prado that day, as she does most days, and she has been known to be very, very casual about car maintenance. I can recall two times in the last two months when she has run the battery flat.
This usually occurs during the wet season in Darwin when the lights are typically left on during the day when it’s raining so heavily that you need them on for safety. Unfortunately for me, I usually get the job of rescuing my wife on these occasions. In this instance however, the consequence of driving the car without any oil could be a very dangerous and/or expensive outcome!
Immediately I tried to call my wife and she didn’t answer which was unusual. She is the kind of woman who does a lot of calling and texting on her phone for work. So I’m always surprised when I try to call her and she doesn’t answer.
I start doing the calculations – $10,000 – that’s probably what a new engine is going to cost me.
Please answer your phone 🙏🏽
After several unanswered phone calls I finally got through to my wife; she was driving and I told her to pull over. I quickly explained the consequence of continued driving and she told me she would pull over to wait for me.
After several minutes of her not returning my phone calls again I started to get worried. She was still driving! Apparently she did not understand the possible consequence that I had tried to explain in my previous conversation. I explained it again and insisted that she pulled over. Again she agreed to do what I asked of her and I asked her to call me once she had pulled over.
Finally she pulled over and I instructed her to check the oil level over the phone. Didn’t seem to be bone dry – lucky! She was only a couple of minutes from our house so I instructed her to drive straight home.
So what now?
Once at home I investigated thoroughly what the cause of the issue was. With the assistance of one of my wife’s brothers (who happens to be very mechanically minded) I was able to diagnose the problem as a rear differential oil leak. Not as bad as an engine oil leak, but the car was going to be useless to me until fixed. And for the best outcome, should not be driven anywhere I decided! Tow service. Ouch – nope I knew there was a better option thanks to CanYa.
Eddard Stark has been telling us this for years and we have refused to believe him. Unfortunately the time has come; 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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:
Let there be no mistake, European Wasps are bastards! They can sting you repeatedly and they multiply into plague proportions! They are not nativeto Australia and are considered a pest. Winters in Europe are usually cold enough to kill off all but the Queen Wasps; but in Australia our Winters are warm enough for the entire nest to survive. A nest that survives the Winter can grow to sustain 100 000 wasps!!
Honey bees on the other hand are the best! One third of all the food that we eat is dependant on pollinators like bees. Honey bees might not be native to Australia but they came over when the early European settlers did and both them and the environment thrived because of it!
Over 70% of crops grown around the world are pollinated by bees!
If you are still not sold of why Honey Bees are the best, this should help convince you:
How to tell them apart
When you stumble upon a swarm of “stingy flies”, don’t jump to conclusions and assume they are all bastards… Honey Bees (the good guys) look like this (don’t kill!):
If you see the European Wasp bastards buzzing around your house make sure you get professional assistance to remove because they are aggressive and will sting you… multiple time!
What to do if you have a nest near your house?
If you notice that you have a nest near your house make sure you get professional help! If you try to be a weekend-warrior and get rid of them yourself, you will simply end up getting stung a few times. Unfortunately getting stung by a Honey Bee is bad for you AND the bee; but at least you survive, the poor old bee dies!
Besides you might not really be sure whether you are dealing with Honey Bees or European Wasps (I am not sure I would be getting close enough to spot the difference). A professional will be able to spot the difference and take the appropriate course of action.
If it turns out that you actually have a nest of Honey Bees nearby, the Pest Control Specialist will be able to re-locate them so they can continue on pollinating our food in peace.
If it turns out that the nest is home to European Wasps, the Pest Control Specialist will be able to irradiate them for good! Unfortunately there is no negotiating with these guys, they just have to go! If you want to see a European Wasps nest removal in action, check out CanYa’s Provider of the Week doing it live on TV!
Finding the help you need
As soon as you spot a nest or swarm of bees/wasps, just leave them be. Do not antagonize them or you will learn a painful lesson! These insects are not evil masterminds, they are not out to get you.
Ben is a passionate bee enthusiast that can be easily booked on CanYa the next time you have issues with a pest problem at your house. He can kill the Wasps or simply move the Bees. If you want to find out more about Ben you can have a look at his Facebook Page, Blog or Instagram. In the meantime, enjoy this mesmerizing bee flying:
It probably isn’t entirely true that I am “time poor” but I just don’t want to waste what little down time that I have doing mundane and boring adult admin like laundry !
If you too are “time poor” or just want to speed up this aspect of your adult admin’ing then have a read over these laundry tips to save time:
1. Pay somebody to do it!
You have no idea how easy and cheap it is to outsource this stuff! Gone are the days of taking it to the local dry-cleaners and paying an arm and a leg to get it cleaned. You probably know CanYa as Australia’s best services app but what you don’t realise is there are plenty of casual services on there like ironing, washing and clothing repair!
We have all been there… you throw a pile of clothes in the washing machine and feel like everything is going ok until you pull out this:
Good news is there is a super easy way to fix this problem! Just pick it all up and throw it in the dryer. All of the little bits of tissue will be collected by the lint filter and you can continue living your life without picking off the 1 000 000 pieces of paper!!
3. Quicker clothes drying for free
Oh the days of a Hills-Hoist clothes line, how I wish I still had you! Unfortunately I know have two options:
Clothing horse that takes up half of my apartment and pretty much leaves no room for movement.
Clothes dryer that takes 4 years to dry
I tend to take the free option of the clothes horse but when I am in a hurry I go “faster” option of the clothes dryer. To make the clothes dryer actually faster, throw in some clean tennis balls or a dry towel. You will be amazed at how much faster the clothes dry!
4. Fold like a pro
The most mundane of all the laundry experience… folding your clothes afterwards! Well do not spend a second too long on this soul crushing experience. Fold your clothes in seconds!
This little tip alone will save you BULK time in the folding process! If you aren’t the kind of person who folds or you want some tips for you pants, you can always roll it. Not only will rolling your clothes save you time but it will also save heaps of space! Next time you are travelling give it a go because you will be amazed at how much space you save!
I’m someone who likes to do hands on projects around the house. I dream big, and I get started on my own steam (you know, modern woman can hammer a nail just as well as the next man, no need for hire-a-hubby or even a volunteer hubby and so forth).
And being the working mother of 4 children, I take advantage of the few hours I have here and there to get stuck into a little juicy project, and hope like anything I can get it done before there is a chorus of ‘I’m hungrrrry!’. Unfortunately I’m not a big planner – preferring instead to do the planning as I go along (I pride myself on my multitasking!).
So the other day, I decided something NEEDED to be done about the verge. It was covered in weeds and debris and it was a nice sunny morning. Perfect. Hat on, shovel out, I get to attacking the weeds and scattered palm fronds. Two hours later, I have a very large pile of palm fronds on our verge.
Feeling quite satisfied I turn to catch my hubby looking at my palm frond pile with a quizzical look on his face. “Where’s that pile going?” he asks (in a voice devoid of any hint of negativity which is a credit to him!). Hmm. I hadn’t thought about that yet and it was a rather LARGE pile.
So, where IS that pile going?
Three weeks later, after a failed attempt at finding a friend’s trailer to borrow and another failed attempt at paying my brother to get rid of it, I finally decided to find a rubbish removalist on CanYa!
With CanYa, I managed to get rid of that pile that day!
I promised my hubby I’d never do it again. He just looks at me and decides to buy a palm frond mulcher the next day. Okay. FINE.
Good idea in theory…
Problem was, now that I had de-weeded my verge, I needed to keep the weeds out. Ideas pinged and I settled on getting some rocks from through a Facebook gardening sale – low maintenance, great base for a waterwise garden. I informed my husband that some rocks were getting delivered to finish the verge and about 30 minutes later, they arrived in style. My poor hubby looked at me in quiet disbelief – to be honest I was a little shocked that ten tonnes of rock was such a HUGE pile!
I kept up a straight face – of course I knew what ten tonnes of rock meant and of course I was going to spread it straight away. In fact “it would all be done by the end of the weekend“, I enthusiastically told my husband and the truck driver. And I pretended not to hear the truckie ask my hubby if he needed a drink. What pessimists!
Three months later, after many calluses, an ever suffering husband who I cajoled into assisting to move 2 of the 10 tonnes, a good dose of realism kicked in when I still had 3-4 tonnes of rocks left over (in a large pile in the SAME spot the palm fronds had been in!). Sigh. Time to save my marriage and call in some gardening help from CanYa.
Don’t suffer, let CanYa help
I don’t know what the lesson for me is in all of this, but I do know that stubbornly trying to get a job done on your own doesn’t work – and sometimes it’s better to know when to call it quits and get some help.