Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

What tradies want to say, but can’t


Local tradies are part of the backbone of our community. They build and maintain our homes, our workplaces, our schools, everything! Why then, are they often treated poorly? Sure we all hear stories of tradies keeping you waiting, but what about all their horror stories? If you’re going to be hiring tradies soon, how about considering them? I know for some of you, mainly tradies, will find this amusing, as you’ll so connect with these scenarios. Those that do the right thing will be, no seriously, do people really get treated like this? Well yes they do. So on behalf of all the wonderful tradies out there, I’d like to share some truths!


  1. A quote may be free for you, but it doesn’t make it free for tradies. Tradies take time to visit, measure and discuss your needs, and prepare a quote (and respond to your emails and calls with your ‘minor’ changes). Please be prepared.
  2. Be home at the time you’ve booked, don’t just assume all tradies are always late. Answer the door. Don’t get cranky when tradies can’t return two hours later when you realise, oops it was today!
  3. Please don’t ask for an 8pm quote time so you can ‘deal with it after dinner’. Tradies also have families they’d like to share a meal with, and see the kids before they go to bed.It’s okay if you decide not to accept a quote, no worries! But please let the tradie know! Especially when they follow up to see if you’ve received it. A simple “Thank you, but we’ve decided not to proceed” or “we’ve decided to go with someone else” is fine. It allows tradies to move on to other jobs and not block time for a job that will never eventuate. Pretending you’ve fallen off the face of the planet is just rude.
  4. Don’t expect tradies to hold spots for you if you don’t contact them for weeks or months, and don’t expect the quote to stay at the same price either – circumstances change.
  5. Tradies can’t do it for half the price because some other joker quoted you less. Go with the joker. Just remember to save the higher priced tradie’s number, so you have someone to call to fix it once the joker’s done. Same for “oh okay then, we’ll try fixing it ourselves”… Often it will cost less to do it once and do it right.
  6. 10pm Sunday night is not the time to be calling a tradie! So many ‘emergencies’ really aren’t (a dripping sink tap will not kill you left till the next day!).
  7. Don’t provide your partner’s mobile number and ask the tradie to call them to make arrangements. They rarely answer the phone. After leaving two messages, it’s their turn to make the call.
  8. Tradies can’t do the job and pay for it at the end when there’s $15k worth of materials to cover. Don’t be surprised if you need to at least cover physical out of pocket expenses upfront.
  9. If the terms are to pay the outstanding balance on completion. Pay when the job is done, not a month later! Tradies have bills to pay and families to feed too.
  10. Just because an apprentice is on site, doesn’t mean you get them for free because ‘they’re learning’. Do you want to call the apprentice and say sorry you’re not being paid for digging that trench because you’re an apprentice? Nope, didn’t think so.
  11. Don’t invite three tradies over at the same time to quote for jobs. It’s not an auction!
  12. Tradies can’t answer the phone 24/7. When they’re down a trench, knee deep in it, they really can’t answer the phone. Be fair and allow tradies a chance to reply.
  13. If you change your mind, colour, style etc., that’s not the tradie’s problem. You need to pay for the new materials and the extra time. Same with adding small tasks to the job, you need to pay for them.


So there you have it, the things tradies wanted to let you know, but couldn’t for fear of repercussion. Give your tradies a break. They really are vital to our daily lives. They’re often very nice people when you get to know them. Plus now school’s out for some, they may be the one’s hiring your son or daughter! Wouldn’t you want your own kids to be treated right?


Business Connect

Business Connect can assist tradies and every other business owner with their business, and our advisors are mobile in your local areas. Arrange to see your local Business Connect Advisors by contacting Western Sydney Business Centre.


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