Your Place: Survey: Craftsmen seldom tipped or trusted to be in homes alone

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

It has been quite a while since I had anyone in my house to do work.

So I was fascinated by a home-etiquette study by through SurveyMonkey on how you should treat tradespeople — a friend calls them artisans — whom you hire to do work in your house.

I recall that we always tipped movers, although it wasn’t mandatory, because the ones who moved us across town from a rental property to the new house we’d bought were really professional.

We’ve always countermanded contractors’ orders to their employees not to use our bathrooms or ask us for water, because that’s just common decency.

We’d leave several empty cups and extra coffee and advise them to "just leave them in the sink" when we left. One benevolent contractor thanked us afterward because it meant that he and his workers didn’t have to leave to go to the convenience store and lose time.

After surveying 400 people, the Bath Outlet found that most, 84.07 percent, did not think it necessary to tip a general contractor, painter, electrician, plumber or decorator.

Of those five professions, it seems that painters were the most likely to receive a tip, with 12.18 percent of the votes.

When asked how much they would tip one of those workers, if at all, most respondents said 10 percent of the total, or $10 or $20 extra.

About 15 percent of the respondents said that if they tip, it depends on how well the contractor did the job.

Another topic that people are concerned about is the security of their home and valuables. When asked whether they would give their house keys or pass codes to the workers, 72.68 percent said they would not.

"I might allow access to my home in very specific circumstances to very specific individuals, but as a general rule, I would not likely allow any of these workers access without my presence," said one participant.

It seems that the length of the project and the homeowner’s personal relationship with the contractor was a big factor in the responses, the people at the Bath Outlet said.

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