Everyone deserves a little respect - including builders. Increasingly the trade is hitting back at its media-led cowboy image. Many are fed up being labelled as dishonest, shoddy workers. Most are hardworking, honest and take pride in their work and feel it's time we all recognised this.
So how can we show them respect and treat them well?
First, if a builder agrees to quote for your job, recognise that this will take time and he may not ultimately get any work out of it. Like in any service industry time is money and time wasted is costly. Builders can't stand timewasters who are not genuinely interested in having a job done.
If for whatever reason you no longer need a quote then let the builder know before he wastes precious time travelling to you. Once he has quoted, if you want to go ahead with work then get in touch and book him in so he can plan his schedule. And if you don't want to go ahead then again, let him know so he can plan other work.
Before he comes round think through the project as far as you can. He is a builder not a designer and its up to you to tell him what you want done. Plans and drawings may be helpful so if you have any, make sure you understand them yourself. Have them ready to show him and don't waste his time rummaging around trying to find them. At the same time try and be realistic about what you want done and how much money you are prepared to spend. Estate agents can be helpful in advising how a new kitchen, bathroom or loft conversion will affect the value of your property so do your homework first.
Once a project has been agreed then as far as possible don't keep changing your mind. This can be infuriating for builders who are trying to stick to a budget and to deadlines. Remember every change you make is costly and involves additional time and effort. Nobody likes to undo their work and start again because of somebody else's bad planning.
Feel free to ask to see a builder's previous work. A local builder should have done work in your area and will be proud to show you what he has achieved. It also shows him you are taking your project seriously and want a good job done. And if you do take him on then its good to show an interest in progress. Like anyone working, builders like to be given a bit of encouragement and be shown some appreciation - they're only human after all!
When it comes to money its crucial to have a schedule of payments set out from the start. Agree when you will pay the instalments and what work needs to be complete in order for those payments to be made. And once that schedule is agreed, stick to it. Like the rest of us, builders cope badly with cashflow problems. They have suppliers and subcontractors to pay and of course their own personal bills to take care of so make sure the money is lined up and ready to transfer on time.
Finally don't forget the more personal things that are easy to do and show your builder some respect. Offer clean mugs, tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits. It's cheap but makes a real difference to relations. Allow easy access to a toilet and to shelter if your builder is working outside and there's a downpour. Ultimately, treat your builder like a trusted trader and you should enjoy a happy, productive relationship.