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Tradespeople Share Their Customer Horror Stories

Gas trainee taking notes during gas cooker service

These are just some of the horror stories tradespeople have to share, from the downright dirty to utterly bizarre.

Working in the trade means every day is different. With every new job comes new customers, new houses and new challenges along the way.

You never know what you’ll find when you turn up at the house of a new customer, but the majority of the time, things run pretty smoothly. You’re in and out, you’ve finished the job with no fuss, and you’re on your way to the next one. Bonus points if the house you’re working in is home to a cute dog or two. (see: TradeDogs).

Now and again, though, you’ll experience something you couldn’t have expected, from the downright dirty to the utterly bizarre.

You’d think after years working in the trades industry, you’d be immune to it all, and nothing could shock you, but sometimes, you’re caught off-guard, but hey, at least they make good stories – albeit horror stories.

Short But Not So Sweet

Turning up to do a quote, the guy was just in his Y fronts.

A Horror film in the making

I turned up to a house where they repaired dolls and had loads of spare parts. The eyes followed you around the room.

How Clean Is Your House?

I worked on a house refurb where there was dirty nappies, dog poo, pee, clothes and all sorts of other nasty stuff all over. None of us would pick anything up. We all had a shovel to hand to move anything.

I made the mistake of leaving some tools in the kitchen overnight while fitting a new one. The following morning the dogs had p***ed all over them and smashed one of the boxes, pushing it down some steps. My boss said, “Well, you had best get on with the kitchen, lad”.

I spent the next 4 hours cleaning all my gear with Dettol and then cleaning the floor, so it was safe for me to work. After that, every morning it was 2 hours cleaning up the mess before I could crawl around on the floor.

A Sickly Surprise

Working in a customer’s home servicing the boiler, I reached back without looking to get something out of my bag. Instead, I ended up putting my hand into what turned out to be a bowl of vomit.

Their daughter had been ill, and instead of disposing of the vomit, they’d just left it in the bowl in the hallway near where I was working. Why?

Interior Design Challenge

I walked into a customer’s home, and the woodwork, ceilings, walls, everything was yellow from nicotine. If I wasn’t sure, it was nicotine immediately.

The smell of stale cigarettes removed any doubt.

They’d also added another layer of flooring on top of the carpet by never vacuuming up the dog hair from the floor.

Just Five More Minutes

Not so much a horror story, more a reoccurring nightmare. Turning up at a customer’s house at a time agreed upon by both myself and them only to find they were not in or still asleep.

Cue me sitting in the van for what feels like forever while they get up and get ready or drive back from wherever they’ve gone, having forgotten I was coming round.


Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often, but there have been times when I’ve been working in a customer’s home all day, and they’ve not offered me a single drink. It’s even worse when it’s the height of summer or the depths of winter.

I always bring a water bottle with me, but tea or coffee would go a long way.


I’ve dealt with my fair share of demanding and difficult customers, but there’s one situation that’s worse than any. When you walk into the home of people who’ve been conned out of thousands by cowboys. They’re distraught, living in a shell of a home and have spent all their savings. It breaks your heart. I do what I can, as I’m sure all honest tradespeople do, but nothing can take away the stress and sadness they’ve experienced.

Say No More


All data correct at time of publication.