How technology can help you find a reputable tradesman

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

New online platforms take the guesswork out of finding a good tradesman by connecting you to ones who have been rated by other customers.

For many people, the thought of painting a lounge, trying to fix leaking taps or tile a patio makes them want to run a mile. This is where tradesmen inevitably come in. Unfortunately, up until now, hiring tradesmen has always been a bit of a risk in South Africa because it hasn’t been possible to really check their track record. Enter is an online platform which connects tradesmen with customers. If you have a job which needs doing around the house, all you need to do is go to the site, post your job requirements (along with photos if you wish) and wait for local, rated tradesmen to send you a quote.

The beauty of the site lies in the fact that tradesmen signed up to RedFish are rated by clients, which means you have a pretty good idea about who you are getting involved with as opposed to hiring someone and just hoping for the best. Tradesmen vetted by RedFish are awarded a bronze rating when they initially sign up. Five client references bumps them up to silver. Three scores of more than eight out of ten pushes a tradesmen up to gold.

On receipt of the quotes from various tradesmen, you can compare profiles and quotes, check out the reviews and ratings and award the job according to your preferences. On completion of the job, you are encouraged to provide a rating and a review, thereby providing others with the opportunity to gauge tradesmen and their offering accordingly. Aspects rated include reliability, price vs quality of work, flexibility, craftsmanship, sharing of ideas and completion of the project within budget and within the quoted time frame.

Another perk of the site is that clients can post their job requirements for free. Tradesmen can participate by paying a membership fee or a commission to RedFish depending on their requirements and/or the number of jobs they are awarded through the site.

The site also provides some tips on how customers and tradesmen should approach a job. For example, customers are encouraged to communicate their requirements properly, be realistic in their expectations, discuss any problems immediately and “be nice.” Tradesmen are encouraged to be transparent, respond promptly, quote accurately and fairly and deal with issues professionally.

RedFish aims to: “Connect people who do stuff well with people who need stuff well done.” This really does encapsulate what RedFish is all about. Through RedFish, a mutually beneficial relationship is established which “facilitates the creation of a safe and reliable business environment (which) supports quality work and professional service.”

Essentially the site is premised on transparency – an element which has long been lacking in this arena. Evidently RedFish is doing something right. More than 1, 500 tradesmen offering services across the building spectrum have signed up to date.

Happily, the trend towards such sites is growing in South Africa. Another site - operates according to a similar premise, albeit through the use of social networks. The site acts as a universal platform where jobs and tradesmen are brought together via various social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Reviews relating to the various tradesmen can be viewed via the relevant social network.

Although such sites have been around in other countries such as the UK for some time ( is a case in point) the concept is new to South Africa. Suffice to say such platforms are overdue and will hopefully go a long way toward improving the overall quality of services provided by this important industry.

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