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Tradespeople Share Their Customer Horror Stories

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

You never know what you’ll find when you turn up at a new customer’s house, but most 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. 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 in just his Y fronts.

A horror film in the making

I went 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 were 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. 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 of 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. That, along with the smell of stale cigarettes, removed any doubt that it was all nicotine stained.

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

Just five more minutes

Not so much a horror story, but 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, forgetting I was coming around.


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, but tea or coffee would go a long way.


I’ve dealt with my fair share of demanding and challenging customers, but there’s one worse situation. 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.