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builders - do you make them tea?

27 replies

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 01/09/2006 15:04

normally I do, but have only ever had fairly minor work, involving one or two people for 6 weeks or so. Now we're having major work done - will take at least 20 weeks and involve loads of people coming and going etc. So - being purely self-interested here - does making tea mark you out as a nice person who's worth doing a good job for or as a mug? And on a less self-interested note - is it just good manners or really not expected?

OP posts:
lucy5 · 01/09/2006 15:07

I do, I think it's expected. Here in Spain you have to give them beer on a Friday too!

dinosaur · 01/09/2006 15:07

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Distel · 01/09/2006 15:07

DH is a builder and he has always said that as nice as it is to be made tea, the person can quite often get in the way. I would say, if poss just leave some mugs, milk, tea bags and such that they have access to. Most buildres take a flask with them anyhow.

expatinscotland · 01/09/2006 15:09

Twenty weeks!?

I work w/a woman who is having this type of extensive repair done to their house, and they are moving out for the duration.

dinosaur · 01/09/2006 15:10

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BettySpaghetti · 01/09/2006 15:14

This is a thread that pops up every now and again and I always tend to answer it from DP's point of view as hes a self-employed builder.

On larger jobs I think its better if the builders have their own access to tea/coffee making facilities. Usually his customers give him free-run of the kitchen but I guess its how well you know them etc. If hes worked somewhere without a kitchen as such, as long as theres a power supply they make their own (most builders have an old kettle).

However saying all that they only tend to have 2 cups a day (one of those with lunch) and DP and his second-in-command drink fruit tea -NOT your usual builders!

His customers also tend to buy him and his team biscuits, cakes etc too but thats not "expected" its a bonus! Not quite sure how they manage to get spoiled like that.

expatinscotland · 01/09/2006 15:17

'His customers also tend to buy him and his team biscuits, cakes etc too but thats not "expected" its a bonus!'

My MIL did this. Her builders were working outside for two days. So she set up a table w/cordless kettle, tea, sugar, milk in a cool box, bin, and cakes/biscuits, plastic cups, etc.

As she was going to be out most of the time.

dinosaur · 01/09/2006 15:18

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Bucketsofdinosaurs · 01/09/2006 15:25

I've made cakes for builders

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 01/09/2006 15:29

in the past - when we had bathroom done and when we had a decorator I offered to make some if I was having some myself, and other than that showed them where the tea, mugs and kettle were and told them to help themselves. But this time it's a big bring their own portaloo type project (cellar conversion) - and they won;t even be in the house for the most part. I think they will be equipped with flasks. They even rejcted our offer to use the outside loo and said they'd rather bring their own! maybe - just to keep them sweet - I'll do biscuits or cake on a friday.

OP posts:
Distel · 01/09/2006 15:46

Bacon Sarnies always go down well.

PeachyClairHasBadHair · 01/09/2006 15:49

next door neighbour ahs builders in, they've gutted the place (his beautiful wrought iron staircase- gone! Sob! he only bought the place in May). Found out yesterday tha despite basically camping out in a shell (single older man, Prof at the local Uni) his house 3 miles away ahsn't yet sold and is extremely glamourous and well equipped.

No idea why he would choose to do that.

dinosaur · 01/09/2006 15:50

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DominiConnor · 01/09/2006 15:52

I come from a family of builders, and tea helps relations a lot. Also a good way of showing disapproval by stopping.

A good trick is to randomly buy chocolate biscuits or cake and serve them.

On very hot days, the occasional flock of builders get very cold orange juice, put in the freezer until it nearly turns to ice.
When you're doing manual work, it is really very nice.

There is a lot of choices made by builders, and even if you know abut the craft, a lot of things are buried or sealed, so you want them to care about it being down well.

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 01/09/2006 15:53

who did it Dinosaur? after horror stories from a friend who tried to do it on the cheap we've ended up with the London Basement Co - just started today. all very exciting but it's going to be a long haul

OP posts:
dinosaur · 01/09/2006 15:53

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lucykate · 01/09/2006 15:54

are you sure they are going to bring their own loo?, i caught one of our builders having a wee behind our shed yesterday

dinosaur · 01/09/2006 15:54

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sorkycake · 01/09/2006 22:05

Mine got bacon sarnie's 2-3 cuppa's a day and biscuits or muffins. On the day I was out I left everything out on a tray with a big flask of hot water. They seemed pretty happy. When Dh was in one day I don't think they got much tho'.

brimfull · 01/09/2006 22:30

when we had an extension done last yr,it took 4 months,I made tea at 10 most mornings if I was in. We moved out for the last 6 weeks though.Offered biscuits but they usually refused so stopped.
I would have served it on a platter with fairy cakes and doilies as I loved my builders ,they were fab!!

DominiConnor · 03/09/2006 09:01

One other thing that keeps builders and anyone else you are doing business with "good", is future earnings.
It's worth mentioning your plans for an extension, or your neighbour who needs a new roof etc. If you have a good builder your friends will pester you for their name, I have had to give my personal word that I won't give out the number of my plumber because he's over worked.
Small building gangs can't afford much advertising budget, so personal recommendation is worth a lot to them.

moondog · 03/09/2006 09:05

Yes DC.Any psychologist will tell you that random reinforcers (ie chocolate bar at odd times)are the way to go.

I make our builder tea,coffee,cold drinks and lovely sandwiches served with a napkin.

Hi s dd babysat for me one day,and I asked her to get a drink for her father as was dealing with newborn.

As she took it in,heard him say in a sulky voice
'Oh. Moondog always gives me ice.'


oxocube · 03/09/2006 09:20

When we had builders in (only 2 of them for about 3 weeks), I made pot of coffee 1st thing in morning, left out biscuits and made cakes. Seemed to go down well. also tried to be out as much as possible. I hated it - felt invaded but my bathroom's nice now!!

mrsdarcy · 03/09/2006 13:44

When we had no kitchen, I just left them tea, coffe, sugar and milk. I occasionally bought biscuits (with you on the random reinforcement, Moondog ). When we just have one or two guys working I usually offer them one cup a day, or more if I am making any for myself.

During the heatwave I also gave them loads of iced orange juice.

themoon66 · 03/09/2006 14:15

Ive had lots of builders/tradesmen around in the last 6 or 7 years... conservatory, extention, new kitchen, new bathroom, new roof. If I'm in, then I make a pot of tea every 2 hours or so with the offer of biscuits. If I'm at work, then I leave them the run of the kitchen with tea making facilities and the option of using the toaster and microwave for their own food.

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