Builder pricing site launches ‘How to Speak Builder’ guide for its customers

  • New 10-point guide aims to make customers and builders more comfortable
  • Includes advice such as ‘you don’t have to drop your aitches’ and ‘not all of us take three sugars’
  • HaMuch.com guide details everything from breakfast times to the meaning of quotes

A new guide to speaking to builders from tradesman pricing website HaMuch.com is seeking to bridge the divide between home-owners and builders, starting with the common language that divides them. 

One common problem highlighted is the tendency of men to try to imitate a working-class accent, say ‘mate’ a lot and drop the names of random tools into conversation, in an attempt to appear knowledgeable. 

The Chameleon Effect

We are all guilty of what psychologists refer to as the ‘Chameleon Effect’, where we mimic the speech patterns of those we are speaking to, but this is most noticeable amongst middle class homeowners dealing with tradesmen. But builders are, it seems, just as fed up of having to engage in a chat that starts ‘what about the City game last night, eh?’ as the homeowners who feel obliged to engage in it.

“Part of this need to adapt your language is down to not wanting to be ripped off,” says Tarquin Purdie, who is MD atHaMuch.com – which offers up-front labour costs for all trades. “One of the reasons I founded the website was so that we could stop this charade, where customers feel they have to reel off names of wood, plastering techniques or the Premier League players they know. It makes it a lot less stressful for all concerned.”

“We naturally feel rapport and connected to people who mirror our body language, tone and the essence of words that we use,” says Mamta Saha, psychologist at Living Potential International. “We have a natural drive to be liked and subconsciously apply a tinge in our accents or an adjustment in our body language if we feel it is going to bring us closer to someone ‘understanding us’ and as a result they may feel we ‘understand them’ better, bringing us closer and more connected.”

Becoming fluent in tradesmens language

“We naturally feel rapport and connected to people who mirror our body language, tone and the essence of words that we use,” says Mamta Saha, psychologist at Living Potential International. “We have a natural drive to be liked and subconsciously apply a tinge in our accents or an adjustment in our body language if we feel it is going to bring us closer to someone ‘understanding us’ and as a result they may feel we ‘understand them’ better, bringing us closer and more connected.”

HaMuch.com founder Tarquin Purdie has also been speaking to the plumbers, electricians and roofers who use his website to advertise for work, finding that the main bugbears of builders in our homes include people assuming they are uneducated, people standing over them as they work and homeowners who never offer so much as a glass of tap water. 

Although some admit that they can get confused by homeowners asking them to copy the latest design trends without so much as showing them a picture of what they would like. 

“I’m called Tarquin, so as you might guess it did take a while for me to be native in the language of tradesman,” says Purdie. “But I like to feel I am fluent now that I have been running a plumbing business for more than 10 years. Hopefully this guide will help both sides of the deal. Householders will feel more comfortable and builders won’t have to drink an endless supply of oversweet tea.”

The full guide is published below. 

  1. Don’t feel the need to call us ‘mate’ or change your accent, it’s a just a bit odd. Chances are we can work out how well off you are from the house we are working on. We won’t be asking you to prove yourself with any power tools, so you don’t have to name all the ones you know. 
  2. Don’t stand over us as we work. It won’t make us work any faster. It just makes us nervous. 
  3. If we’re talking we’re not working. We’re happy to spend the day discussing the big boxing bout from the weekend or the best way to saw a piece of wood, but don’t forget that you’re paying for our time and holding up the job. 
  4. We don’t all like football. Don’t feel that you have to pretend to. Just be careful about saying ‘didn’t they lose 5-0 last night?’ when we are wearing our team’s bobble hat.
  5. Don’t silently put up with a mess. We always tidy up as best we can at the end of the day and properly at the end of a job. If our standards of cleanliness are not up to your own then please tell us. 
  6. If you’re kind enough to offer us food or go out for sandwiches for the team then do ask us first. Yes, many sites do run on bacon sandwiches, but Dave’s Jewish and Igor is trying to lose weight. We even had a vegan on a job once. 
  7. Yes, we would like a cup of tea, thanks. Although not all of us take three sugars any more. Greg prefers coffee, although it doesn’t have to be a single estate cold brew. If it’s hot then a pint of squash every hour or two is much appreciated. 
  8. A quote is just that. A guesstimate, based on the time we think it will take and the materials we think we will need. The final price may go up (it may even go down) as the job progresses, especially if we hit a snag or you ask us to do little extras. 
  9. Don’t be surprised if we down tools around 11am and go the local café for breakfast. We’ve been up and grafting since 7am and this is hard work. Directions to your premier local greasy spoon are always appreciated. 
  10. If you don’t understand what we are saying or doing, or are thinking ‘what they hell are they up to?’ then just ask. You won’t look stupid. We’ve got years of experience in this job, you haven’t. We’ve no idea how to do whatever it is you are doing in the lounge on your laptop all day, and we won’t tell your other half about your afternoons watching Columbo
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