August 19, 2022

The 16 customer habits most hated by tradesmen

text next to image of a cup of tea and biscuits

Most of the time customers are great, but sometimes they’re really blimming awful.

If you’re a tradesman and you’re working on a job, the last thing you want is some wise guy customer who sits watching your every move. Even worse if they decide you deserve their “helpful tips” on how to complete the job that they were incapable of doing.

We’ve all had those customers, but of all their frustrating habits, which gripe makes it to the top of our list?

Let’s find out.

16. The over-sharer

Starting at number sixteen it’s the over-sharing customer. One of the great benefits of working as a tradie is the opportunity to work in different places and meet different people. As a part of that, we often enjoy a quick chat with a friendly customer.

However, there is a difference, between a chat and a life story. Those customers who have too much to say can become annoying very quickly, especially when it affects your ability to complete the job.

15. The domestic

If there’s one thing that makes us uncomfortable when we’re on the job, it's when customers decide to have a domestic argument. When we’re working, we’re there to fix the boiler, not the customer's marriage. Customers who decide to air their dirty laundry when we’re trying to get the job done, make it a very uncomfortable place to work.

14. The parking space

It may sound like a small thing, but not providing a space to park is a real bugbear. It’s understandable if there’s no private parking available, but when you’ve got two land rovers and your daughter's mini taking up the whole driveway, the least a customer can do is move their car.

Making it easy for a tradesman to arrive and get their equipment through the door can make a big difference.

13. To offer a drink or not to offer a drink

It’s about common courtesy, if we’re going to work hard sorting a customer's issue, then they can spare a minute to offer a glass of water or a cup of tea. In fact, a study by ironmongery direct found that 14% of tradespeople rank this as their top issue.

However, this doesn’t mean we always want a drink. The only thing worse than a customer that doesn’t ask is one who assumes we want 3 sugars and a bacon sandwich. As delicious as bacon is we’re not all cheeky chappy comic caricatures - so customers, get those preconceived ideas out of your heads.

12. Make some space

Fixing someone's issue is not always easy, sometimes it can be a pretty complicated process that involves a lot of equipment. So when a tradesperson is trying to complete a job, making space and ensuring the issue is as easy to access as possible, is important. Service workers don’t want to waste time, moving a customer's junk and tidying their house just to get the job done.

11. Snob talk

“Alright mate, you watched any of the footy last night?”

We’ve rolled a few issues into one here, but what it comes down to, is customer snobbery. Just because we know how to rewire a house, that doesn’t make us an uneducated football lover.

Service workers come from all manner of backgrounds and often earn far higher salaries than university-educated professionals. In fact, tradesmen earn £10,000 more than the average graduate. So to all those lousy customers out there, don’t act like you're better than us.

10. Anybody home?

If there’s one thing that’s sure to annoy a tradie, it’s a customer who’s not in when the worker arrives. This one really bites, because not only does it waste time, but it can also cost money. Self-employed and one-person teams are hit the hardest by these kinds of issues as they lose the time they could otherwise use on a different client. It’s not just annoying, it’s damaging.

9. False alarm

For a customer, if there’s something wrong in their home it can be stressful, but one thing that is sure to annoy your service worker is telling them an issue is more urgent than it is. If there’s a problem that is genuinely dangerous, then it’s understandable that a customer might be concerned, but when the issue isn’t top priority, don’t act like it is just because it’s inconvenient for you.

8. Out of action?

This one is for all of you tradies that have gone to fix a stove or a faulty cooker only to discover your customer is using that appliance when you arrive. It seems like common sense, but there are some customers out there who will use their appliances up until the moment you arrive, meaning it’s too hot or not in a state to be worked on. So annoying!

7. Out of hours

You’d think this one is obvious, but some customers just don’t seem to understand what working hours are. As many as 17% of tradespeople rank customers who call them outside of their business hours as the number one issue when dealing with customers. Of that number, it’s the ladies who are most bothered by this customer habit with 23% ranking this issue as number one to the men’s 13%.

6. The customer coach

Everyone likes a bit of support, but when working on the job, customer comments are not appreciated. As professionals, we know what we are doing and take pride in our work, but what’s not helpful are clever customers telling us how to do our job. We know what we’re doing!

So to all those customers who think they're all that, either keep quiet or do the job yourself. If these customers really knew what they were doing they wouldn’t have hired a trade professional in the first place.

5. Late payments

For this one, there really is no excuse. 25% of service workers really struggle with this issue, ranking it as their number one problem. Late payments can have a damaging impact on tradesmen, especially for those working on their own or as part of a small business. In fact, of self-employed workers, 33% find this issue to be a particular problem.

Customers, just pay on time!

If you do need help chasing payments, check out Payaca’s automations feature, it can really help with this issue.

4. Discount

Another baffling customer behaviour is when they ask for a discount. Why they do this, we can’t understand, but it certainly riles us up. As many as 26% agree, putting this at the top of the list of annoying customer habits.

3. Adding extras

When you’re doing a job it’s not uncommon to find there’s more to be done than first expected. What’s not so fun, is when customers decide to add to the list of jobs, by asking for extra fixes and additional tasks. This is a real annoyance. If a customer wants to pay for extra jobs then we’re happy to help, but tacking on extra work to the job for free is not okay.

2. The progress checker

The job will be done, when it’s done. Customers who check in every few minutes to see how your work is progressing are some of the most annoying people to deal with. The length of any job can vary greatly and it’s not uncommon for it to take longer than expected. This doesn’t mean we need nosy customers constantly checking our progress.

1. The voyeur

And finally, we’re at number one: the ever-watching client. These people are rightly at the top of the list of the most annoying customers, with nearly half of trades agreeing they dislike this habit the most. Like some prison officer, these customers will leer over you, watching you as you work, never giving you a minute to yourself. No one likes to be scrutinised as they complete a job and working as a tradesperson is no different. Just let us get on with it.

That’s it, the 16 worst customer habits for tradesmen and women, lets hope you don't have to put up with any of them any time soon.

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