When to Call Tradespeople

I get this question frequently: “When should I call tradespeople?”

It took me a year to understand this, working as a credit manager for a national electrical wholesaler, but your typical tradesperson is halfway up a ladder, juggling a tool in one hand a the cell phone in the other when you call. Later on, I worked in trades myself–running a metal fab shop and then a custom construction business–and learned first-hand. They do not have an easy time of it.

If they’re not working, they’re not making money and they know it. Not the same picture as an office employee, is it? So what they want is, as fast as they can and as early as they can in the morning, to be out on a jobsite. Getting paid for doing what they do: paint, electrical, insulation, stonework, or whatever.

That’s what you’re competing with. It’s frequently “a bad time” when you call; they’re tied up with technical work.

Now many tradespeople like to start early, 7AM and even earlier, and be done by 2PM or 3PM. It’s a different lifestyle than office work. So this means when it’s really early in the day for us, they’ve probably already been on the job for an hour or so. You shouldn’t call before 8AM, but right after can be effective.

Also in the afternoon, after 3PM. Keep in mind they’ll probably be tired. Which leads to the second point:
This will probably be a two-step process.

ALWAYS open with “Is this a bad time to talk?” You are being considerate. You know they might be lying on their back under a house, fiddling with a voltmeter.

Expect that it is going to be a bad time. This is the only case where I recommend attempting to schedule a discussion call time. When they confirm it is not a good time to talk, I say something like:

“Okay. I realize you’re probably in the middle of a job, so let’s pick a better time when you’ll be free. When would work best for you?”

Note I did NOT go into why I called, what I do, what the benefits are of working with me, etc.

They may ask that. Keep it short: “I want to talk with you about getting you more customers. Won’t take long. A lot of my trades clients want me to call after 3 or 4PM. Would that work for you?”

And then calendar the callback and do it. Any questions?