Tradesperson pet peeves

13 02 2010

We’ve been getting some electrical and other trades work done.  The reason for this little rant is the experience we had last week with the two electricians, who we’ve called the ‘bogmasters’ (the name will become obvious soon…), and some other tradies.

1. Answer your phone

If the only phone number for you in the directory is your mobile phone and I call it during business hours, I expect you to answer it, or for it to at least go to voice mail so I can leave you a message. If you don’t answer your phone, I’ll call someone else. At least two plumbers lost potential work because their mobile phones rang out.

2. Turn up when you say you will

If you say you’ll be there at 9:00am, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, whatever…, then I expect you to turn up then. I don’t expect to wait until 2:00pm if you told me you’d be there at 9:00am and you haven’t called me to tell me you’re running late. In fact, if you’ve told me 9:00am, then even 10:00am is pushing it without explanation. The opposite is true too — if you say you’ll be there late morning, don’t call me at 9:00am and say you’re waiting outside and I’m not home!

3. Control your bodily fluids

The ‘bogmasters’ both sweated — a LOT. Understandable. It was a hot day, they were doing physical work, and were in and out of the extremely hot roof space. Yes, they are going to sweat profusely. But please have a towel or something to wipe it up. Don’t lean on my sofa, don’t lean on my car, and don’t lean over my bed linen while the sweat is dripping off you or is still plastered to your shirt. If you want to do any of these things, grab an old towel to protect my stuff from your bodily fluids — hell, if you’d asked, I’d have given you an old towel for the purpose. I was not happy having to clean up your sweat marks and watching drips of sweat hit the clean bed linen as you were working on the lights in the bedroom.

4. Control your bodily solids

Don’t come to my house and expect to take a dump — do that in your own house. And if you really *do* have to have a crap, then clean up after yourself — there’s a toilet brush there for a reason. I don’t leave skid marks on my loo, and I don’t want you to either. Oh, and when you finish, you’d better make sure I can hear you wash your hands in the bathroom. Three Four dumps in two days by two guys (the aptly named ‘bogmasters’) was three four times too many.

5. Respect my property

I’ve paid you good money for your services; the least you can do in return is respect my property as you do the job. Don’t drag cables across my polished floorboards — it scratches them. Don’t stand on the edge of the sliding door frame — you can bend it or knock bits of brick work off. Clean up after yourself — bring your own vacuum cleaner/dustbuster; don’t expect to use mine. Put your rubbish in the bin — don’t leave it where it lands. Cover the area where you’re going to work if it has stuff underneath it that bits of brick and plaster dust might affect (e.g. clothes hanging in the walk-in robe). Wash your hands often — dark handprints on the white painted manhole cover aren’t pretty.

6. Smoke away from the house

If you are going to smoke, do it outside and well away from the house and any prevailing breeze that might waft your stinking smoke into my environment.

7. Speak my language

Both ‘bogmasters’ were originally from The Netherlands, and both had been in Australia for 30+ years. Both spoke English perfectly, with a little bit of an accent. Both spoke English to each other while they were working on the job. But occasionally they spoke to each other in Dutch. When you revert to a language I don’t know, I start to make assumptions — were you making risque or derisory comments about me or my husband or our house? had you screwed up something you were doing and didn’t want to let me know? (the “Oh sh*t!” moments)


I’d hire any tradie in a heartbeat who follows my simple rules. It basically comes down to respecting my property and my time.

Anyone else have tradie pet peeves they’d like to share?


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3 responses

14 02 2010
Dana

I’ll add one: If you say you’re going to come back and finish up a job, COME BACK! I should not have to hunt you down relentlessly to get the work completed.

I’ve experienced a lot of what is in your post (but not the DUMP! good grief!). On the flip side, my plumber is a dream. The first time he did work for me, he called the night before to confirm our appointment! He showed up right on time. When we moved into a new house we were having trouble with our water heater staying lit and he narrowed it down to a valve. He said that it should still be covered under warranty (the house was over a year old but no one had lived in it, so I had my doubts). He insisted on doing the work without billing me, indicating he would file the warranty claim and if it was denied then he would bill me later. I protested that he take a check and cash it if he needed it, but he wouldn’t. I never got a bill. He is a quiet, reserved gentleman, and it cracks me up that his van reads “Jerry’s Plumbing. Don’t sleep with a drip.” 🙂

20 02 2010
Margaret

The showing up when they tell you they will is the big thing for me. If you have to take time off from work to be home for a scheduled repair or an appliance delivery, no-shows are especially aggravating.

6 03 2010
ffeathers

Yeah, totally agree about the showing up when they tell you thing. I once fired an electrician on the spot, because he said he’d show up at 8:30am and he finally arrived at 3pm. No explanation, no phone calls in between.

To add insult to injury, he then phoned my home phone number that evening. When I answered, he asked to speak to “the man of the house”. When I asked why, he said that he thought a man would better understand why he’d had to be late. Fume!! 🙂

Cheers, Sarah

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