Hi everyone. My name is Jane Eyles-Bennett, and I am the founder of this group of renovators. I’m an interior and exterior designer.

Today I wanted to talk about why you shouldn’t purchase your own products and materials when renovating. And I’m referring to when you are using tradies.

So, what got me thinking about this is there’s a crowd here in Australia who are selling a design course and what they promote is that people should buy their own products and materials. I’m in a private Facebook design group and we got talking about what a bad idea that was, and I just wanted to share that with you because a lot of people just don’t know this. Also, Joey asked about this last week and I said that I would talk about it.

When you are using tradies to do your renovations, should you purchase your own materials or should you expect that the tradie is going to do that for you? My view is that purchasing your own materials and products is false economy. It seems like it’s cheaper up front, but it’s not, and I’ll explain more about that. I’m just going to give you a couple of examples to explain why I say this.

So, let’s say you are renovating your bathroom and you go out and buy a whole new lot of taps for your renovation. You buy the taps, you give them to the plumber, and he comes in and fits them. You know, it goes in stages–you do your initial bit, then they do the tiling, then the plumber comes in, and he fits everything off –that’s kind of the basic process. So, the tiling is done, the taps are in, and something goes wrong. Now what? Whose problem is it? Is it the product’s problem? Or is it the installation problem?

Now, if the plumber had purchased those taps–under your instruction–but he had purchased those taps, (he or she) then 100 per cent, it’s his responsibility to get that problem right. But the tiles are in the way. So, think about this – if you have gone and purchased your own tapware, and you give them to the plumber, and he does all his bits and pieces, and the tiling is all finished, then there’s a problem, what happens? The plumber says it’s a product problem, and the shop where you bought the taps from says it’s an installation problem. So, nobody can agree whose problem it is. But, if the plumber had purchased and installed those taps, he or she takes full responsibility.

Now, I’m going to get to the costings of items in a minute because you’re probably thinking, but if I go through a tradie it’s going to cost me extra. In the meantime, think about the extra cost of pulling out the tiles, relining the wall, re-waterproofing the wall, retiling the wall. So, by the time you’ve taken everything off so the plumber can get in to the wall (and if it’s a problem within the wall, you’re really talking hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get back into the wall and then repair the wall) if that’s the way it’s been done. So, that can be a really big problem and not something a lot of people will think about.

Another example – a kitchen benchtop. So you’re renovating your kitchen, it’s all in place and you think, I’m just going to order my own benchtop from wherever, whether it’s stone or laminate or whatever it might be. So, you’re thinking, “I’m going to save a bit of money. I’m going to go and buy my own benchtop.” So, you buy the benchtop, you measure it up, and it gets delivered, and the kitchen guy is there, or the joiner is there ready to install it and it doesn’t fit. Whose fault is that? Your fault.

It’s better to spend a little bit extra for someone else to measure it up and purchase it for you so there are no problems when it arrives on site and when it’s installed. And in the long term, you know, maybe your kitchen is in, your benchtop’s in and then a month later something happens – it starts dropping or something happens. You’ve got one person to ring. You’re not ringing the installer and the supplier. You’re not fighting it out asking whose responsibility is this?

I’m just going to talk about the downside because I know this is what everybody is thinking. “It’s going to cost me more money if my tradie purchases these products on my behalf.”

Now, remember that tradies and contractors will generally get a discount from their suppliers. So let’s say a tiler – he can go to a tile shop and get some tiles for at least (generally) 20% cheaper than you can get retail. Typically, they will pass on that discount to you. Not always, but you can negotiate with them. So, you can say, “Alright, if I get you to buy those products, I presume you get a discount, so what sort of discount can you pass on to me?”

So that’s a really good question to ask, and it also means they do the purchasing, they do the installation, and you’ve got one person who’s sort of in charge of the whole situation. So, really, really important.

Having the contractors take all responsibility lessens miscommunication, lessens disagreements and problems on site, and it may not even cost you any extra. Even if it does, it’s worth spending a little bit extra for the peace of mind that you’ve got one person that you can go back to if there are any problems on site.

I do just want to say, make sure if you get a tradie to buy your products, you are choosing the products, or someone like us where we select the products for our clients. You would make sure to give them the renovation design plan that we’ve done, or you would give them your specification. You’re choosing it. Don’t let the tradie choose it. I’m telling you! They’ll get it wrong. Unless it’s a cheaper investment property and it doesn’t really matter too much, choose it yourself and articulate exactly what it is you want (the size, the colour, everything) and give it to them, and they can fine tune what they need to do, but they’re still buying the product for you that you’ve asked for.

Lastly, there are some things that are okay to purchase independently of the tradie, and there are some that aren’t. I think it’s a kind of case-by-case thing, to be honest. I could go for days talking about that, but just be aware that if something were to go wrong – so lighting, flooring, almost any part of a renovation there is that knock-on effect – so if something happens, you’ve got the installation factor and the product factor and it can be a really grey line between who’s responsible for what.

I think that’s about it for now. It’s been a little bit of a long one today, but I hope it’s been useful. If you need any help with your interior or exterior renovation, my company is Hotspace Consultants, and you can find a link in the About page or link on my name, and you can message me, and I can send you some sample design renovation plans, or jump on my website www.hotspaceconsultants.com

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