The study of 500 tradespeople, conducted by IronmongeryDirect, found that more than two in five (41%) tradespeople find it irritating when clients won’t leave them alone while working. 

Being constantly asked how they’re getting on is another major annoyance (34%), as is the cheeky request to do additional little jobs ‘while you’re here’ (28%). 

The 10 customer habits that tradespeople find most annoying are: 

  Annoying habit %
1 Watching you closely while you work  41%
2 Constantly checking your progress 34%
3 Asking you to do extra little jobs while you're there 28%
4 Asking for a discount 26%
5 Not paying on time 25%
6 Making suggestions or instructing you how to do your job 17%
7 Calling during non-business hours 17%
8 Insisting a job is urgent when it's not 15%
9 Not offering you a drink 14%
10 Not being in when you arrive so you can't get to the job 14%


The top grievances are similar for both tradesmen and women, but male workers are far more likely to be irritated by customers not offering them a drink (16% vs 9%). Meanwhile, tradeswomen are more bothered about clients calling them outside of business hours (23% vs 13%). 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the self-employed are far more angered by customers who don’t pay on time (33% vs 22%) and ask for discounts (31% vs 23%) than employed individuals, likely due to it being their own personal income on the line. 

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “Customer interaction is an inevitable and important part of most tradespeople’s lives, and, as difficult as it might be, workers need to stay calm and professional, no matter how frustrating their clients get! 

“That’s why we’ve worked with a behaviour expert to offer advice to tradespeople on how to diplomatically deal with each of these customer habits, so that you can keep everyone happy while getting the job done.”