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Postby Skippy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:49 pm

Ok just a simple question about image or the impression one gets of somebody else.
I've spent most of my life in the building industry but after a couple of redundancies I'm now a self employed handyman, building and garden maintenance , decorating , joinery and so on. Being on the frugal side (as a duck's arse some say) I don't like throwing anything away if possible and as a result most of my working clothes are repaired. Two pairs of jeans with no knees becomes one decent pair of jeans with knees and that sort of thing.
Now whilist I haven't had a customer say anything or refuse to use me because I've got a patch or two I have had a couple of comments from family really saying that it gives of the wrong impression and I should do something about my "image".
I'm pretty old fashioned about this and if I am a customer and see someone arrive in a big flashy car wearing trendy clothes the first thing that crosses my mind is that it's my money paying for all of that.
So after the waffle , simple question is would a tradesman in patched jeans put you off employing him?


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Re: Image

Postby Green Aura » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:09 pm

This probably the wrong forum to ask that question, skippy. I'm guessing that most people on here would say it wouldn't affect their decision. I can see where your critics are coming from though - unfortunately you don't get to deal with people like us all day every day. :lol:

Maybe you should keep a pair of old, but still intact, overalls or whatever you wear, to go out and spec jobs. Having got the work I'm guessing no-one cares what you wear to do the job. Maybe you could keep said overalls handy to put on over your work clothes if your visiting prospective clients between other jobs.

I do agree it needs to be a balance though, clean and presentable but not looking like they couldn't afford you!
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Re: Image

Postby boboff » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:20 pm

Appearance would be the least of my worries, and in fact a builder should have patches on his jeans, and rough hands, a muscles.

Trust is fundamental, that comes across through other verbal and non verbal communication.

Just bin that Esso T Shirt from 1992 and you will be fine!
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Re: Image

Postby prison break fan » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:24 pm

I'd love to know a handyman in patched jeans!! We live in a very expensive part of West Sussex and handymen don't exist. They are all "skilled craftsmen" and charge accordingly! pbf.
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Re: Image

Postby Skippy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:15 pm

Thanks all for taking the time to answer.

Green Aura , you're probably right about this forum but I'm posting the same question on another form where to be honest people are less , er, understanding. I had thought of keeping a decent set to wear when quoting for jobs but unless I want my van to double as a changing room there are going to be times when I'll end up turning up in patches.

PBF , strictly speaking I could call myself a "skilled craftsman" , time served 30 years experience working on national trust , heritage and prestige jobs working to high quality but to be quite honest I'm just as happy being a handyman and mowing lawns or what ever.

Boboff, no esso tee shirt but here's a little story. About five years ago I did some film work as an extra for channel 4 in a programme about the miners strike. We were asked to come in 1980's clothes if we had them . I put on my "normal " clothes straight out of the cupboard. When we got to site we then went into the wardrobe tent and the wardrobe mistress checked out our clothing. In the line ahead I kept hearing her say "change the shirt" , "wrong jeans" , "no the belts no good" "different shoes" and so on . When I got there she looked at me and said "right next please". I didn't know wether to feel pleased or embarassed.


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Re: Image

Postby Zech » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:41 am

Skippy wrote:I'm pretty old fashioned about this and if I am a customer and see someone arrive in a big flashy car wearing trendy clothes the first thing that crosses my mind is that it's my money paying for all of that.


That's my reaction, too. I judge a tradesman on whether he sounds like he knows what he's talking about and whether I think he's trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Wear what you like!

I don't have much money but I do believe in paying a fair rate for a job.
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Re: Image

Postby Crickleymal » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:13 am

Time and place I suppose. If someone comes round to quote I'd be annoyed if they trampled mud into the carpet but when they turn up to do the job they can be as scruffy as they like. In my job (fixing radiotherapy machines) we do have a dress code but even if we didn't I'd try and look reasonably smart as I feel it gives the patients a bit of confidence.
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Re: Image

Postby Green Aura » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:29 am

Skippy wrote:I had thought of keeping a decent set to wear when quoting for jobs but unless I want my van to double as a changing room there are going to be times when I'll end up turning up in patches.


That was why I was thinking about something like overalls you could just pull on over the top of your work gear. I'm guessing that if a potential customer sees you pulling them on, even if they don't care what you're wearing, they might appreciate you putting something clean on to enter their house etc. It's not a necessary act - just an added touch of thoughtfulness that gives the impression you'll clean up after yourself as well as doing a good job.
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Re: Image

Postby boboff » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:21 pm

I must just add, it the question was "Are patches a bad idea"

Not whether Skippy is a chatty bloke who never washes or hasn't the decency to remove soiled work boots on entering someones home!

Clean Patched clothes.... OK, Sh1T high Prada, never a good look baby!
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
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Re: Image

Postby diggernotdreamer » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:25 pm

I would not appreciate someone coming round in dirty boots and clothing to do a job inside the house. I always take a look at the van as well, a tidy well ordered van is a good signal to me that someone is well organised and will do a tidy job. A disorganised van that rocks up and disgorges the contents when the door is open (usually all over your driveway) not a good signal to me personally. I am a right scruffbag too, but I always wore clean jeans and shoes, even though I was a gardener, when going round to meet a client for the first time. I think Green Aura is spot on, just keep the clean overalls in the van and stick them on, not really a big problem and give a good first impression.
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Re: Image

Postby trinder » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:38 pm

Good points made by everyone. I would only add, use your experience. How many jobs have you turned up for - quoted and then not got the job? If the answer is "not many" then continue as you are. If however, you believe that changing your appearance would improve your "conversion" rate then take the sensible answers on board. :roll:
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Re: Image

Postby wabbit955 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:20 pm

clean is the many thing when quoting but a patch or 2 would not bother me
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Re: Image

Postby Skippy » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:16 am

I think I'm happy with the comments. I do tend to keep a couple of pairs of disposable overalls and some overshoes with me in the van and normally a pair of clean trainers to change into if the job involves inside work (I have at times worked without shoes but sometimes have odd socks on too). Oddly enough a pair of white overalls does seem to lend an air of professionalism to decorating work even with speckles of paint where a new clean pair of jeans seems to shout DIY.
I'm personally clean and always try to have clean clothes for interior work and wouldn't dig someones garden over and then go straight in to work on their cream coloured carpet but really the question was wether a person working in patched clothes gives off an unprofessional image, although I haven't had any complaints from customers.

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