How do tradesmen and homeowners keep a good working relationship?

Recently I caught up with Nick Kilshaw from Kentish Builder, February’s tradesman of the month. Receiving 250 positive feedback with MyBuilder over a five year period means Nick is well placed to give great advice to both homeowners and tradesmen. He offered us some tips on maintaining a healthy working relationship during the course of a project.

If you’ve got any great advice for creating a great working atmosphere please add a comment below.

Give as much information as possible when you post a job, then you’ll get a committed tradesman

With a MyBuilder job, if the homeowner doesn’t give enough detail I don’t know if I can help them or not. You don’t need to know specialist terms, but I need to know some detail. With a garden wall for example, it can be as simple as “I need a wall 10m long and a metre wide, I want all the footings done, brick on edge.” That gives me a decent indication, and I’ll know how to help. You’ll get more tradesmen interested in your job if they know they can give it their full commitment.

[caption id="attachment_3534" align="aligncenter" width="541"]Nick Kilshaw from Kentish Builder Nick Kilshaw from Kentish Builder[/caption]

“There’s no substitute for seeing the job”

I lost money on the very first job I won through MyBuilder because I sent a quote over after seeing a photo on the job page. Now 99% of the time I will go and see the customer and the site before sending my quote over. Viewing the job is beneficial to both sides and will mean a better understanding of the job in hand and a more realistic quote, with less trouble down the line.

“Keep to agreements”

It’s important to get an agreement in writing, when I send my quote it says what I’m going to do exactly, otherwise any adjustments can cause friction. During the job, if the customer wants to make a big change then we can come to a new agreement, while little changes throughout aren’t as much of an issue. Timing is important too, if I say I will send a quote to the customer then I’ll make sure it’s in their inbox just a couple of hours later.

“Make sure both parties are comfortable with each other”

Sometimes a homeowner and tradesman aren’t right for each other, this can be down to differences in personality or personal tastes. If something doesn’t seem right it’s easier to part ways before the work begins. For example, one client didn’t want to pay for stone slabs, so she bought indoor floor-tiles instead, it would’ve been like an ice-rink!

If alarm bells ring, I will say “sorry, but you’re better off getting somebody else”, it’s important both parties feel they can work with the other.

[caption id="attachment_3535" align="aligncenter" width="640"]A driveway and wall completed by Nick A driveway and wall completed by Nick[/caption]

“I stick to what I know”

Homeowners often make the mistake of hiring a tradesman for one job, then giving them another project which is beyond their capability - this is a recipe for disaster. A handyman probably won’t have the qualifications to replace a bathroom. I won’t do anything I don’t have the skills for, this means I am proud of all the work I complete. If you need a different trade, post a new job on MyBuilder.

“Feedback benefits both parties, for tradesmen that’s what wins them their next job”

I ask customers to be honest, and if possible to mention trust within the feedback. If a customer leaves me with their house and keys all week, I’ll ask them to put that in there as I think that’s important to share. After all, my reputation is built on my clients.

Do you agree with Nick? Or have any pointers for a healthy working relationship between client and builder? Tell us your experience, leave us a comment on the blog.

Post a job today to find qualified tradesmen like Nick.


  1. I would like to mention that tradesmen should be willing to give descriptive quotation on the job that needs to be done. There should be a detailed agreement between the two parties, a clear base on which the two parties can rely on, and agreed upon. This will prevent any misunderstanding which the work has started and any additional job or any job that hasn't been completed or done can be clearly be identified. None of the tradesmen that have visited the job I have advertised, have given me a detailed quotation that reflects the job to be done. Some have been very reluctant to give one and some have given me a bogged one. If there isn't a clear agreement of what needs to be done and at what cost, this is a recipe for disaster. I think my 'Builder' should make clear to those tradesmen registered with the site that there should be clear clear written agreement/quotation between the two parties to avoid any disagreement and disputes. I haven't been able to choose a tradesman,mainly on that issue.

  2. Spot on Nick. I have found all the things you identify to be correct. This has always been the case even when we all worked from yellow pages. Sometimes, when busy, things can slip, quotes take a few days to go out etc. I for one will be making sure I'm on the ball at all times in the future.

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