How to treat a tradesperson - Homeowner etiquette guide

  • Lauren's Avatar
    Community Manager
    Hey everyone,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, you might be wondering why such a post is needed but the relationship between you and a professional trade completing work on your home should be somewhat harmonious!

    This guide is purely to help you to create the best working relationship possible so we've reached out to our lovely tradesperople to ask what their most common pet peeves are and how they'd like to be treated:

    Clear the project area
    Not only can this limit potential damage but it'll save some time.
    Avoiding prised possessions teetered on the edge of windowsills or stopping airborne dust from settling on your rugs while drilling hole is almost impossible.
    You can protect your valuables by covering things you don't want to get dirty yet don't or cant be moved.

    Think of your tradespeople no differently as a guest in your home
    They're only human - be welcoming. A freindly greet goes a long way.
    You could offer refreshments. Most customers offer their tradespeople a hot or cold drink and/or let them know where the facilities are. Check out this article here on The trades most likely to be offered a cuppa >>
    Food is the universal language of appreciation, so at least offering to feed your tradesperson is a kind gesture. - I personally love chocolate digestives but I'm not fussy when it comes to biscuits.

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    ​​​​​​​Check the work after the project is completed
    Having someone constantly looking over your shoulder whilst you work can make you nervous. If you've likely checked their work history and seen their brilliant reviews and previous work images, so you know they're good at what they do. A casual check-in is absolutely fine or you can always check on their progress once they're finished for the day to raise any concerns or queries you have then.

    Don't haggle on the costs after the work is complete
    This was something that came up multiple times when asking the members.
    The price of the job is something that should be agreed upon before the work starts - being paid on time is the most respectful way to treat your tradesperson too.
    Honouring the agreement and price set is best - provided they've completed all the work that's agreed to be done. Communication with the trade is imperative.
    Did you know we have a Checkatrade guarantee that protects you in instances where work hasn't been carried out to the correct quality, which is just one of the reasons our consumers and tradespeople trust us.
    Last edited by Lauren; 10-05-22 at 14:48.
  • 12 Replies

  • Ajw's Avatar
    Level 18
    Absolutely perfect just one mor tweak always remember when you play with a tradesperson diary you are probably going to cost them money so having a job booked and changing dates to suit your self or renegotiate your price after work done or half way through
    I left a job last year over the homeowner agreed start date and changed it ok for the first two but the third time redline
    congratulations to all involved
  • Ajw's Avatar
    Level 18
    I cannot believe I am the only reply to this thread
    This must benefit everyone on checkatrade
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    [email protected] I'm afraid this seems to be the norm and is why I tend not to bother with the community anymore! There really isn't much point when only a handful of members participate even though most of the issues raised effect us all. Until more members actually bother to acknowledge these threads/posts and add their own point of view most of the issues raised do not gain momentum or even get noticed, hence they just fade away and are forgotten! As they say, 'there is strength in numbers' and that is the only way to be heard and to get something done!
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    I find it very annoying when a potential customer doesn't have the COURTESY to let you know what is going on after you have quoted for their project. If your quote is declined it is just a simple case of letting you know that they have decided not to go with you. This is very bad manners and shows disrespect particularly when you have used your own valuable time to visit them, discuss the project, measure up and produce the quote. How annoying is it when you are driving and receive no acknowledgement for road courtesy, when all it takes is an effortless flick of the hand? We as tradespersons understand that you can't win them all, but as businesses we still need to organise our work schedules and know what is on the horizon to avoid letting people down and possible spells where we might have no work! So be nice and return the respect we have shown you, it is the right thing to do and costs you absolutely nothing!
  • Lauren's Avatar
    Community Manager
    Hello @ChelseaDave, thank you for sharing this thought, I couldn't agree more.

    On the flip to this, I have come across many posts on our social media too where homeowners haven't heard back from trades after quoting for work, perhaps their too busy or the job is too small, and they're finding it super frustrating.

    A quick text, call, email or some form of communication to share a small and simple update is very important, not to mention courteous.

    In some cases people may forget, do you tend to follow up with these customers and ask for an update?

    Best
    ​​​​​​​Lauren
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    Hi @Lauren I was brought up with good manners and like to think that most people would treat me in the same way I treat them. In business this is essential to succeed and to enhance your reputation. I only take on projects that interest me so I donít waste time misleading customers from the very start. And yes I do follow up my quotes after a week or so to see where we are at, particularly as I have a schedule to work to and allocated slots to fill. What winds me up the most is not being treated professionally and without common courtesy, something that costs absolutely zero. Itís a much better world with more please and thank youís!
  • RJHeating's Avatar
    Level 10
    This is a great post! Itís definitely give & take on both the clients and trades side. I agree with @ChelseaDave itís so frustrating to spend time quoting a job, sometimes this can take days sourcing everything, and then you donít even get a response that theyíve received it! Maybe you can do a post reflecting how to treat a customer/client too 😂 then everyone can learn the ďright wayĒ.

    Also love it when you turn up to do something at their request and itís in a cupboard that they havenít sorted the access out for - sometimes thereís just no respect for time!
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    The problem with viewing jobs is you usually have to do this to suit the consumer. This is normally around the convenience of their working hours and home life. But we mustnít forget that tradespeople also have a home life and also want to relax after a hard dayís work. Personally, as a long serving tradesperson of nearly 50 years I get tired more easily and viewing jobs in the evening presents problems such as being fully focused. Iím sure regardless of age most of us feel this way and this can make you forget things and make simple mistakes, particularly with the tape measure, especially with poor light and vision. Anyway, to get around this I usually view jobs during the daytime on Saturdayís and sometimes on Sundayís. This generally suits everybody plus I can turn up dressed more appropriately and look more professional. But what the consumer must respect is I have sacrificed some of my weekend especially for them. You can argue that this is just part of the job and I agree, but not having the courtesy to let the tradesperson know your decision totally disrespects all the effort and time they have put in just for you!
    Last edited by ChelseaDave; 02-09-22 at 07:28.
  • RJHeating's Avatar
    Level 10
    @ChelseaDave 100%. Iíve actually stopped doing free evening/weekend quotes for that exact reason, you give up your time and then donít even get a thank you for your time but we wonít be accepting. I think itís very important to get on the right page from the outset of where your boundaries are. At the end of the day, when I need something done I have to either take time off or pay a premium. That said, If it suits your business model to do quotes in your downtime, thatís also fine! Each to their own!