Any kind of working relationship can come with its fair share of ups and downs. Your relationship with your tradesperson can certainly have its own challenges and knowing how to behave towards someone who is working in your home is important for helping to set the right tone for this relationship right from the start.
Whether you find yourself awkwardly hovering over your tradesperson wondering how often you should offer tea or whether you can chat, or you find yourself disagreeing about agreed timeframes and budget, you’re not alone as a homeowner in having habits that can be annoying to tradespeople.
It can be challenging enough to deal with the project or repair that needs doing, without having to second guess how you should and shouldn’t behave. Here are some of the most common faux pas that homeowners commit when dealing with plumbers, electricians, and other trades professionals, and how you can avoid making them yourself.
The most important factor when you’re having work done on your home is paying the tradesperson that you hired as per your agreement. Paying them late, or not paying them the agreed amount is surprisingly common, and a top reason for tradespeople to get annoyed and not want to work for you again.
Before you agree to the project, make sure you have understood all the costs that are involved with it. Talk your time talking through the details with your tradesperson of choice at the start of the project. If you’re not sure about anything, such as what school board clips are and why your quote includes so many of them, make sure you ask. When you have agreed on a payment plan, make sure you make the payment if the work has been delivered as promised.
Another common gripe among tradespeople is homeowners who have an unrealistic expectation of costs for the project they want to be done and insist the job could be done for less.
It’s to be expected that when you’re considering hiring a tradesperson that you will already have an idea in mind of how much you are willing to spend on the project. You might have compared your requirements with a similar job a friend recently had done, for example. This is logical, but many homeowners don’t realize how much small changes or additions to a project can affect the overall costs.
If you’re on a stricter budget or aren’t sure how much something will cost, get a few quotes from a few different tradespeople to get a clearer idea of how much you will have to spend, rather than working on your guesswork. If there’s not much room in your budget, be upfront with your tradesperson and see what they can suggest to meet your needs. Most importantly, make sure you get a clear quote from your tradesperson and make sure they can explain why the costs are different from what you expected so you can be better prepared.
Another common faux-pas that many homeowners are guilty of is claiming something is an emergency when it isn’t. It’s frustrating for a tradesperson to rearrange their other customers or their personal lives to rush to help you, only to arrive and find the problem could actually have waited a few days.
Of course, it can be alarming when something does go wrong with your home, especially when you don’t have the experience or knowledge to judge how bad it is and if the problem is going to get worse quickly. It can be very easy to overreact when something has gone wrong in your home. There is no harm in expressing how worried you are when you call for help and in saying that you want the job done as quickly as possible, but it is also important to stay as calm as you can. Think logically about whether you think the work must be done now, or whether it can wait for a few days. If you aren’t sure, explain the problem as clearly as you can, and ask your tradesperson what they think. They’ll know if they need to come now, or if it can wait for them to make room in their schedule. Good tradespeople will always do their best to accommodate you and your needs when they can, but they are also working to timeliness that they have agreed with their other customers.
One of the most common things that tradespeople find annoying is a homeowner who hovers over them and constantly watches them while they work.
Nobody likes to be watched while they’re trying to work. Leave them to the job you hired them for. You can of course check in occasionally to see how things are getting on, or to offer them a drink, but less is generally more for this. It can feel strange to just leave them to it and get on with your day, but most tradespeople prefer this. It can be distracting to have you standing around asking questions.
Another bad habit to avoid is offering advice or instructions on how to do their job. Remember that you hired this person for a reason. They’re the expert, not you.
It’s your home, your project, and your budget, and you don’t want anyone coming in and doing things the wrong way. However, you have hired a qualified professional to do their job, so listen to the advice that they give you and then leave them to do their job. Tradespeople don’t like being watched while they’re working or being told how they should be doing their work, so give them the space to complete the task without being interrupted.
However, if you are concerned about the way that a tradesperson is doing the job that you have asked them to do, then you can politely ask them to explain it to you. There’s no pint silently hovering and fretting and paying for the work only to complain about it after the tradesperson has left.