How tradespeople should handle late payments

A new survey by Toolstation has revealed the etiquette pet peeves of both tradespeople and their clients.

The survey identified the top peeves of Tradespeople. These included:

  • 46% voted for clients not paying on time
  • 35% voted for clients attempting to reduce the agreed payment
  • 33% voted for when client had not cleaned the work area before they arrival
  • 25% voted for when clients asked for additional services which was not agreed ahead of time
  • 21% voted for when clients lingered around and watched them work

Toolstation spoke to Checkatrade, the UK’s number one website for connecting homeowners with tradespeople, for advice on how tradespeople can avoid payment disputes with clients and better working relationship.

“A written agreement with clients is the best way to protect a tradesperson’s business and reputation. Your customers will probably expect some kind of work contract agreement as it clearly defines what work is expected before a job begins. Providing a work agreement contract should keep all parties happy. It will help to protect tradespeople from loss of revenue and it will help protect customers to ensure there is no confusion or disagreement. Your contract can also include unexpected circumstances, in case unforeseen issues crop up, this is particularly important if it has an impact on the cost of project. If a disagreement or dispute occurs, such as late payment, then it can help if the contract specifics what actions both the client and tradesperson should follow, this could lead to mediation or arbitration or as is set out in your contract. If tradespeople need advice on how to calculate their day rate using Checkatrade’s Pricing template.”

Toolstation’s survey reveals how Tradespeople and clients feel about each other.

  • 74% of tradespeople would like to be offered a cup of tea during the day

  • 92% of tradespeople would not expect to be tipped for their work

  • Belfast, Birmingham and London are named the most generous tippers of tradespeople

  • For tradespeople, the most complained about action is when clients don’t pay on time (46%)

Chatting through the day

The survey delved into client preferences regarding interactions and hospitality with tradespeople. Almost half (45%) of client respondents indicated a neutral stance on having a chat with tradespeople, while a quarter (24%) welcomed friendly conversations with tradespeople. Generally positive worker-client rapport is favored, a minority or homeowners expressed a preference for minimal conversation, with 17% of homeonwers not wishing to talk much to tradespeople whil e their on a job.

The survey towards tradepeople indicated that tradespople may be friendlier than the clients they are working for, with the majority (71%) of tradespeople not minding a chat with a client, and 22% like it. Only a very small amount (7%) of tradespople did not like having a chat.  Having a casual chat throughout the day is something both sides can mostly agree on, as most results for this are positive. But what kind of behaviour annoys both clients and tradespeople?

Asking clients: What are the most complained about things tradespeople do? The responses included:

  • 33% voted for leaving a mess in their work area and not cleaning up
  • 26% voted for showing up late to work.
  • 23% voted for raising the price after one was already agreed.

Asking Tradespeople: What are the most complained about things clients do?  The responses included:

  • 46% voted for clients not paying on time
  • 35% voted for clients attempting to reduce the agreed payment
  • 33% voted for when client had not cleaned the work area before they arrival
  • 25% voted for when clients asked for additional services which was not agreed ahead of time
  • 21% voted for when clients lingered around and watched them work

Clearly breaking financial agreements and keeping an area tidy are things that annoy both clients and tradespeople, as the results reflect.

In the full study, we ask both sides more questions on the matter of etiquette, such as how tradespeople feel about pets near their workspace, and how clients feel about offering food and drink to their workers. Toolstation also shows which cities in the UK give tradespeople the best tips.

See the full report here: https://www.toolstation.com/content/tradie-etiquette