Customer behaviour causes tradespeople to walk away

Customer behaviour causes tradespeople to walk away

According to research from Direct Line, 47% of tradespeople say they have walked away from a job due to a customer’s behaviour. The study revealed the average value of each job walked away from was £1,062.

Four in 10 (41%) tradespeople report arguments with customers because of their behaviour, with the most common issue being late payment (62%). It is a key issue for the industry and can significantly impact cash flow, as tradespeople are owed an average of £6,984 in outstanding payments. Other reasons for arguments include customers trying to tell tradespeople how to do the job (57%) and customers adding additional jobs on top of what had already been agreed (39%). 

The top 10 most annoying customer habits, according to tradespeople

# Annoying habit %
1. Late payment 62%
2. Customers trying to tell you how to do your job 57%
3. Adding additional jobs on top of what you have agreed to do 39%
4. Customers nagging you to finish faster 39%
5. Customers checking up on you or hovering over you while you work 36%
6. Customer indecisiveness or changing their mind about something 33%
7. Children hovering over you while you work 31%
8. Not keeping pets out of the way while you work 29%
9. Not being able to start at the agreed date 27%
10. Customers trying to get involved or help 26%


With 42% of Brits struggling to find a tradesperson to do work in their home, the survey also revealed the ‘red flags’ that cause professionals to decline some jobs. On average, tradespeople turn down five jobs a year due to ‘red flags’ they have identified.

The most common ‘red flag’ was a customer telling them that they could get someone else to do the job for less (49%). This was closely followed by dictating how much a job should cost (47%) or how long it should take (41%), wanting to cut corners to reduce cost such as using cheap materials (45%), and asking for a discount with a sob story (43%). 

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, comments on the issue, “We’ve all had to manage challenging situations and people that have tested our patience. While tradespeople understand that often customers’ questions are about trying to understand a task that sits outside of their general knowledge, frequent questions and demands can make for a difficult working environment for tradespeople. It bodes well for customers to remember that the person they’ve hired or are looking to hire, is an expert in their field. A tradesperson relies on word of mouth and a good reputation, so ultimately, they want to make sure that they do a good job, on time and at a fair price for the work they’re doing.”

To read more from Direct Line, click here.

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