How to deal with difficult customers - 5 proven tips for small businesses

Tips & Tricks

As a tradesperson, you will be all too aware of the importance of attracting, retaining and meeting the needs of your customers. Satisfied, engaged and cooperative customers are not only a pleasure to deal with, but also allow you to get on with the job in an efficient way.  

Difficult customers, on the other hand, can make life very challenging for you from the outset.  For example, difficult customers will dispute the quote, question every aspect of your work, prompt you to work longer hours, get the work finished faster,  attempt to negotiate the final payment and basically do something every day to remind you why you want to take a kango hammer to their toes.


One of the most effective ways to mitigate the impact of the difficult customer on your business, and to prevent a charge of intent to commit grievous bodily harm with a kango hammer, is to ensure that you are able to capture, use, share and refer to timely and relevant information about each job. This will help to eliminate confusion, misunderstandings and disagreements.

One way to do that is to take advantage of the features integrated with a job management tool such as Tradify.  It will allow you to improve the way that you engage with your clients and, as a result, avoid or more effectively deal with customer conflict.  

In this context, here are 5 proven tips to help any small business improve the way it deals with difficult customers.


Right from the outset you should take clear and obvious steps to document the client’s needs during the initial site visit and consultation. Based on this information, you will be able to generate and submit a professional looking quote using a customisable template (ideally using a Job Management tool such as Tradify). The quote should go to great lengths to repeat the customer’s needs and requirements back to them using language and terms they will understand i.e. imagine you were explaining the quote to a 5 year old!


Nothing will get a difficult customer’s back up faster than not being on site when they thought you were going to be there. Therefore our second tip is about scheduling. A Job Management tool (like Tradify!) will allow you to create a detailed schedule of work so that you and your team can see at a glance the status and progress of the job, and provide accurate estimates to the client of when you will be on site and when the job will be finalised.


Thirdly, a decent Job Management tool will let you use the quote to quickly create and schedule jobs then allocate tasks (guess what - Tradify does this!!). This is particularly helpful for guiding toolbox meetings each morning so that you and your team can plan out work for the day, and to examine and identify how any issues will be resolved. Getting the customer to be present for these tool box meetings is a great way to get ahead of any issues, involve them in the process and make them accountable for their decisions while showing how complex and well managed the job is!!  This enhanced level of communication will mitigate the risk of inefficiencies whilst your team is on-site.

Change Management

A job management and tracking tool will also allow you to edit the existing job requirements, and extend or change the scope of work after engagement with the client so that everyone associated with the job understands the change without needing to refer back to the client multiple times. This eliminates the risk that the client might become frustrated by having to talk to multiple staff or contractors about their needs, or that the scope of the work might change multiple times as a result of the client talking with more than one person on the job site.  

No surprises, ever.

This is related to all the above points:  a job management tool like Tradify will assist you to prevent customer issues as a result of clear, timely, and consistent communication between you, your team and the client.  Generally no one likes surprises, especially ones that involve finances (or toilets), so using a job management tool or job tracking system to keep everyone in the loop at all times can only be a good thing.

If you are looking for an effective method to manage your customer’s expectations, and you could use some strategies to assist you to work with difficult customers; then you should consider a job management or job tracking solution such as Tradify (if that sounds interesting and you want to know more, drop me a line at

Tradify Job Management Software