19 Things Customers Do That Tick Tradies off

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We have heard too many people ranting about cowboy tradies, but what about nightmare customers that get tradies grinding their teeth? Isn’t someone going to talk about them too?

If you are several years into your trades business but can’t name 5 customers with whom you have a mutually respectful and happy client-tradie relationship, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Most tradies are simple honest people doing their jobs in the best possible way and trying to make a profit to make ends meet. But when customers put up unreasonable expectations, don’t pay on time and complain about almost everything you have done, it just ticks you off.

So what are some of the things tradies wish their customers would stop asking or doing and that might even go a long way in building a strong relationship that lasts for years to come?

Let’s have a look:

1. Can you do it for less?

That’s the most common one that gets tradies rolling their eyes. Yes I’m a qualified plumber, sorry I cannot install a new toilet for $20.

2. Are you sure you are doing it the right way?

When hiring a tradie customers got to trust their judgement. Picking up faults when the job is not even close to finished doesn’t sound fair.

3. How longer is it going to take?

11:00 am: So you are here! 11: 30 am: I thought you would be done by now. 11:45 am: How much longer is it going to take? Please sit back, relax and let the tradie finish it. You don’t want him/her to cut corners just to get it done quickly. Do you?

4. Can I watch while you work?

Why not! But there is a spectator’s fee you know!

5. How much for spiders, how much for cockroaches, how much for rats?

Which one is it that you want? Not making up your mind can make the quoting too hard for the tradies, especially if it ends up not getting booked either.

6. Why should I pay for a variation?

Because that was not part of the job description or what you were quoted for.

7. You have done a great job but the price seems too high!

Questioning the price once the job is done only leaves a bad taste in the mouth and probably ends up with the tradie chasing late payments.

8. I served you lunch, can you take it off the job?

Yeah I know. I can already see your eyes getting wider with surprise, but that’s what one tradie complained! Most customers don’t offer tradies anything to eat or drink. The ones that do, expect something back. Being a good host can go a long way in building a good relationship.

9. Sorry, I’m not home right now

Not being home when you promised, can piss anyone off. The tradie a customer booked a week back, finished his work earlier, made sure his UTE has all supplies needed and travelled all the way to get to you on time, only to find out that the customer is not home.

10. Not responding to a quote

Even a return email saying “p**s off” would be better than nothing. Free quotes cost tradies time and therefore money.

11. A girl? You must be the receptionist!

This one sucks more than any. “Can I talk to one of the boys?” Sorry to break it to you, but there ain’t any. And like me, there are a lot of women out there who are doing an equally good job as the guys.

12. I’m a DIY enthusiast, so I tried giving it a go.

You are? That’s great! So now we have to work ten times harder.

13. But my friend said it should have been done this way!

Yes there are video tutorials on YouTube, but watching them does not make someone’s knowledge equivalent to a qualified tradesman.

14. Our kids love outdoors!

Ours too. But please keep them inside while we work. You don’t want them to get hurt when tins and tiles falling off the roof.

15. While you are here can you do this too?

Why not. If only it was not a Friday after noon and if only it wouldn’t take us another 3 hours and if only we had come prepared for it.

16. That’s a quick and easy one!

Seriously? How can you be so sure? Most customers have no idea what’s involved and think that the price charged and time taken to finish the job is not justified.

17. I want it done first thing tomorrow.

Yes we understand your job is important, but we are already in the middle of something else. Expecting that your tradie will drop everything and come right away is not always possible.

18. But I thought that was included

Sorry, it was not.

19. Job done? Goodbye!

Yes you paid for the job, but it costs nothing to be nice and polite. Complementing the tradies work or merely saying ‘Thank you’ can go a long way.

Wrapping it Up

Building a long-term, conflict-free Tradie-Customer relationship requires effort from both sides. Most of the problems can be resolved if only the communication could be done more effectively.

• A written job brief detailing specifics and outcomes will not only save you from unnecessary work like variations, but also result in fulfilled customer expectations.

• Using a job scheduling software cannot only help you assign tasks to your team but can also inform customers when to expect you, so you won’t have to wait on the door.

• Customer experience apps such as i4Tradies, can help you send detailed quotes and get instant response whether the customer approves or rejects it, saving you the trouble to follow up. Plus you have a digital proof of the agreed prices so they can’t complain that the cost is not justified, once the job is done..

• Rate your experience with the customers or ask them to leave a review or rate your service, as a way to build stronger relationship.

About i4Tradies

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Wardah Wadood

Written by

Wardah Wadood

Content Manager and Community Strategist at i4Tradies | Social Media Evangelist | Writer | Editor