It’s no secret that building and renovating can be a stressful task for everyone, from planning and designing the project from an idea to putting the finishing touches to a beautiful new space, but are we making the process for our tradies more difficult than it needs to be? Whether we’re conscious of it or not, it may be something to consider, because at the end of the day our project is in our tradies’ hands.
An article from Better Homes and Gardens has taken an interesting look at what it’s like for tradies working with homeowners and clients, detailing six common things some of us do that drive tradies crazy.
1. You want someone at your place tomorrow
The whole idea of building and renovating can be very exciting initially and it is not uncommon to want the project started and finished ASAP. However, be realistic about your project timeline and consider the availability of the tradies in your area. If you find yourself getting frustrated and angry about not finding tradesmen to come and start work the next day or even week, understand that most tradies have jobs that have been pre-booked for some time, so their availability is limited. If you are wanting your project to be started or completed at a certain date, make sure to book your tradies and other workers ahead of time to allow everyone the right availability.
2. You aren’t welcoming
We get it, you probably don’t like a bunch of people walking around your house with dirty boots making noise and mess, but your tradies are your partners in the project, not just your workers. Be sure to cater to the needs of your tradies and develop a relationship instead of making demands with no support. Don’t expect them to be working every minute of the day without making noise, mess, having food, or resting, be sure to allow them a spot to rest, eat and go to the toilet whether it be in your house or outside.
3. You ask for mate’s rates
If you’re fortunate enough to have a tradie as a friend that agrees to take on your project for you then that can absolutely be a blessing, but it can also be a curse if you try to take advantage of your relationship to unreasonably drive down your costs. At the end of the day, they are putting in their hard work for you just as they would for anyone else, and asking them to do it at a significantly lower cost than they should probably charge only benefits your bank account. Instead of potentially damaging your friendship, do your research on how much your project would typically cost with other companies and ask what they are willing to charge, then you can take up whichever company has the best offer, whether it is your friend or not.
4. Asking your tradie to do more work for the same cost
If your project is going along to plan and it’s looking like everything will be finished ahead of time, it’s not uncommon for people to ask their tradies to add another job in while they’re tracking ahead of time for no extra cost. Assuming that your tradies are willing to put in extra work for no cost just because things are tracking along well can be a rude request and can dampen your relationship. If your relationship is good and your tradies are enjoying their time there, they may even offer to add a small job in for free if you ask what they would charge. Be sure to ask with no expectation of free work and you might just get it.
5. You haven’t communicated with your tradies effectively
The perfect build or renovation requires constant and clear communication between you and your tradie and having brief conversation about what you’re hoping for isn’t going to achieve that. A written brief should be where your project starts and should determine exactly what it is you want. Once the brief is provided, oversight of the whole project is necessary for you to ensure you are getting what you hoped for. Be clear with your tradies on your timeframe, budget, space, design, materials etc. and make sure that you develop a mutual understanding of what is expected.
6. You haven’t paid for the work that’s been completed
Getting the outcome that you hoped for can be largely dependent on the relationship you have with your tradies and even if you aren’t completely happy with the work that’s been done a mutual respect must be evident, which means paying for the work that’s been done. If you refuse to pay for work that you are unhappy with, which can be for a number of reasons including your own mistakes, it is unfair on the workers who have still put the time and effort into the project. If the work is not at a level that was expected then try working something out with the project manager instead of refusing to acknowledge the work at all.