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Tackling Tricky Customers

Rhino Trade Insurance 27 May 2021

The customer is always right, or so you might think. But some individuals are more complicated than others, and these tricky customers can seriously ruin your day!

So what's the best way to deal with them? We need to know how to spot a tricky customer before they show up and tackle them head-on! We will look at the common types of troublesome customers and how to manage them - from time-wasters to unfinished jobs - so that you can stop worrying about pesky clients and focus on doing great work instead.

As a tradesperson, you'll work with lots of different people from project to project. Depending on the type of work you're carrying out, you may even be working in other people's homes, making things problematic when a job doesn't go to plan. Here are a few common types of customer that can make even the most straightforward jobs a nightmare.

Indecisive Customer

This type of customer is difficult to spot and can be even harder to manage once a job is underway. An indecisive customer can cost you a lot of time and energy when they change their mind or can't reach a decision. You may have already encountered situations where you've had to reel off endless quotes, answered 101 questions about price, quality and features or even had the goalposts moved after a project has started.
Often, a customer's indecisiveness comes from a lack of knowledge or fear of making a mistake. Providing reassurance can undoubtedly help, but sometimes a stricter approach is needed with clear boundaries to protect your time.

Habitual Complainer

It's common for customers to make complaints, and it's a necessary part of the job. If handled correctly, complaints should provide constructive feedback to help improve and grow your business. However, habitual complainers will be a constant thorn in your side and, to them, nothing is ever good enough. From the most insignificant details to aspects outside your control, habitual complainers will always pick fault with something.

Complaints can be very disheartening, even when delivered in the kindest way. Dealing with a chronic complainer can be extremely exhausting and stressful. Unfortunately, you can't please everybody, and it's likely you will never satisfy this type of customer. Remain professional, deliver your best work and listen to their points to try and identify any valid feedback. Pacify this customer by reassuring them all feedback is taken on board and be direct about the aspects of the project you feel are positive. Let us know if you're able to squeeze a compliment out of them!


Some customers believe you should meet their demands above all other considerations. These people often come across as rude, arrogant and sometimes aggressive. Tradespeople are frequently on the receiving end of unreasonable requests or bullying attempts.

Keeping everything clear and simple from the outset can protect you later in the project. For example, confirming what's included in writing in your quote can help to avoid messy disputes. Nevertheless, if you find yourself dealing with a bully, it's essential not to be drawn into an argument or confrontation, which can only escalate the situation. Don't apologise, but offer to review the problem and come back with a solution that's fair and reasonable. Be polite but firm and remain confident that you can reach a positive outcome - most people will come around when the dust settles.

While we can't protect you from troublesome customers, we can help with other specialised types of cover for tradespeople! If you'd like to learn more about our tradesman insurance policies, please contact us or call on 0116 243 7904

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