These are the things YOU need to be doing to get your builder to do a cracking job

There are some very simple things you can do to get the best out of your builder – and avoid conflict when having work done on your house – but most of homeowners don't bother

What tradespeople really want when working in your home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether it's a two hour paint job or a six month building project, tradespeople have revealed what they really want when working in your home. And we're sure you can guess what it was... a hot drink. 

A recent survey of over a 1,000 tradespeople and those who have hired them has found that 63 per cent of tradespeople find it irritating when they where not offered a cuppa. Oh, and it's not just the option of tea, they want; 35 per cent said they often aren't offered the option of coffee and wouldn't mind if a biscuit was thrown in, too. Biscuits, however, are rarely given, with less than half of Brits saying they offer their handypeople snacks.  

There were some more serious points raised from the survey that go beyond the lack of hot beverages. It was revealed that the other biggest annoyances for tradespeople were:

  • Receiving late payment (84 per cent);
  • Unrealistic cost expectations from homeowners when requesting a quote for their project (76 per cent );
  • Clients booking them in for a job that’s not ready to work on yet (77 per cent).

However, it seems that we, the clients, have different issues when it comes to hiring tradespeople. Homeowners top bugbear was unsurprisingly, being overcharged for a project, with 96 per cent of those surveyed saying this was often the cause of conflict. Over 95 per cent also said their biggest annoyance was receiving a bill that’s higher than the original quote and the same number were most concerned about tradespeople not being honest about mistakes they had made.

It looks like there is some room for improvement on both sides. So, Airtasker, who commissioned the study, asked the tradespeople they spoke with to compile a few tips to help us homeowners do our part, and to ensure conflicts are headed off before they happen. Here's what they came up with:

1. Ensure the work space is clear

According to the study, having a clear work space is one of the most important things for workmen and women. Having your home prepared for when workers arrive is the best way to ensure that your working relationship is off to a good start – but less than half of those surveyed (who’ve hired a tradesperson before), actually did this. If possible, do a quick tidy-up, clear all work spaces, and ensure they have access to everything they need.

2. Offer them a hot drink (preferably more than once)

It may sound clichéd, but being offered a hot drink was found to be a top preference for tradespeople when working in a client’s house. This small gesture really can go a long way, is the perfect way to welcome workers into your home, and is a great way to break the ice. If you can, stick a few biscuits on a plate too. 

3. Give them access to appropriate facilities  

With the study revealing that only 66 per cent of homeowners give workers access to their bathroom, it’s no surprise that this is next on the priority list for tradespeople. As well as access to the bathroom, workers stated that having easy access to other resources such as plugs and running water are often vital to doing a good job – which 60 per cent of homeowners admit they often forget to do. 

4. Let them listen to music while they work

Most people prefer not to work in silence, and tradespeople are no different. Only 39 per cent of homeowners revealed they let those working in their home listen to music while they work. However from the worker’s point of view, this is seen as a benefit and will provide them with some light entertainment while they work. Just pray they have good music taste. 

5. Ensure they have somewhere to park

When possible, it’s much appreciated when homeowners consider the best place for their hired workers to park (only 29 per cent of those surveyed admitted to doing this). In most cases, they will have tools and equipment with them – which can prove quite a struggle to carry if parked far away.

6. Have a bit of a chat 

It may come as a surprise to some, but this study reveals tradespeople do actually enjoy a regular chinwag when working in a client’s house. Over one in 10 homeowners admitted they tend to say a brief hello and then hide away – but the findings suggest there really is no need. Having a good professional relationship with people working in your home is only ever going to benefit you. Have a chat and get to know them a little, and they’re much more likely to go above and beyond for you – and you’re probably more likely to hire them again in future.

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.