The below may upset some landlords reading this, if there are any. It is by no means a generalisation of ALL landlords, and is taken purely from my own experience with certain ones that think they can abuse the situation, just because it’s a local tradesperson.
If you wouldn’t treat/communicate with British Gas, or some other national company, in a certain way then it’s completely unacceptable to do so to any other local company/tradesperson.
I have a lot of customers who are “absentee landlords”, and we have a great professional relationship,
Unfortunately, the majority of tradespeople have had someone try to avoid payment at some point, or know someone that has. Especially self employed tradespeople, and especially when it comes to work being carried out for a landlord. It’s a very common thing, sadly.
Some landlords (bad ones) think that just because they’re not physically there at the property they can try to avoid full/partial payment. Even if things have been done correctly, they’ll go out of their way to find problems. They make it so difficult, create so many barriers, cause such a headache, that the tradesperson gives up, and just accepts the situation.
It’s horrible when this happens.
Depending on the size of the job carried out it can also have a very real impact on the company's financial situation, which brings a whole other set of worries. It doesn’t just affect their working life, but their personal life too. It’s completely demoralising, and forces you to question humanity’s capacity for honesty, and decency.
I’ve been unlucky enough that it’s happened to me a few times, and each time the loudest (and angriest) thought that circles through my head is “That’s it! I’m not any doing work for landlords again!”. Then the voice eventually tires itself out, calms down, and remembers that not every human being is a waste of DNA.
I get it. There are A LOT of cowboy trades out there, just looking for the opportunity to do a terrible job, take the money, and run. They come in, say all the right things, charge a truckload, and when things go wrong (which they almost always do soon afterwards), they disappear. Landlords are right to be wary. EVERY customer is right to be wary. All you can do is as much research as possible about the company you’re hiring, and at least make sure they’re reputable. I'll cover the signs to look for in another post.
At the end of the day it’s a lot easier for a customer to hold a reputable company accountable, than it is for a reputable company to hold a customer accountable. There are lots of good trades out there; don't drive them away by immediately treating them with suspicion.
- Ivo @ Plumbingwerx