How to... be best friends with your tradies

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Tradies are no different from anybody else. They are human, they like to be respected and acknowledged for their expertise. If you want to establish a good working relationship with a tradesperson, so they can work for you again and again (without causing you sleepness nights) consider the following:

  1. Take time to build relationship with your tradies
    If you want to establish a good working relationship you will need to spend time to establish that relationship. Just like if you are new to an office job, it takes time to work through where everything is, how things work around that particular workplace and where “you” fit into the picture. A building/renovation site is no different.
  2. Be clear about what you want done and how
    When they first start a job with you, take time to meet with them on the site and be crystal clear about what you want done and how. If you are not absolutely clear on which way you want it done and you do not communicate this to the tradesperson, do not get angry or surprised that they have done it differently to the way you would have. They are not you, so of course they may well do something differently to you – unless you tell them otherwise – before they start.Be clear about what you want before people start and ask them how they are planning to do the job, what other alternative ways there may be and the cost differences between the alternatives.
  3. Show some respect
    Once you have communication sorted, the other things to keep in mind are to respect the tradesperson. I am sometimes amazed at how people can be so rude and disrespectful to tradies. If they did that in their own job, they wouldn’t have a job for long.
  4. Pay your tradie promptly
    Ok, so we have communication and respect down pat. Next up is payment. Pay your tradespeople promptly. When an invoice arrives – pay it. It really is that simple!
  5. Sequence the job properly
    One of the things that tradies don’t like is having to go back to a job several times – either because the work hasn’t been sequenced so as to maximise their time usage or because of a fault/defect. Try and sequence your work for each tradie so they are there for at least ½ day at a time and don’t need to return more than three times to the same job. This is because of their travel time. The more they have to travel between jobs, the less they will actually get done. If they are returning for a defect/fault, make sure you have a list of everything that they need to do upon their return so they only have to return once. There is nothing worse than returning to do two items and then getting another call the following week for something else. It just isn’t good use of anyone’s time. Also remember that once they have finished your job, they will be working for someone else, so it is unlikely that they will be able to return instantly to fix those 1-2 items – they will usually want to do these items either at the start or end of their normal working day – so as to cause the least disruption to their current job.

Finally, at the end of every job – thank them. Have a coffee or a drink with them, and send them a Christmas card each year too!

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