What do you do with the sawdust?


Two years ago we had a tradesman round to replaster our lounge.

He left dust gathered in corners and layered over surfaces in a way only Miss Havisham would approve of.

He left patches of plaster all over our newly laid floor.

I spent hours on my hands and knees scrubbing at the floor to clean it off.
More time wiping down the surfaces.
And plenty more cursing him for doing such a half-arsed job.

I have never recommended him. In fact, when people ask if I know a good plasterer, I tell them who he was and what he did.

I could tell you a similar story about a plumber. Or electrician. Or painter.

BUT... You know what? The amazing friendly electrician? The decorator who cleaned up after himself every night putting our room back together so we could use it? Another who brought his own sheets (not to stay the night) and vacuum?

I recommend those guys all the time. In fact, so much so that the handyman we love is now booked up six months in advance and I kinda wished we'd kept him a secret.

Caring about your customers

All of this came flooding back to me when I spoke to podcast producer Matt Hill for the Being Freelance podcast.

Matt might have a thoroughly modern job title, but his success as a freelancer can be traced back to one of the very first self-employed professions.

As he explained, "my dad's been self-employed for most of my life as a carpenter. I've always kind of known that part of the way he gets work as a sole trader is to just be really nice to his clients and make sure that he hoovers up the sawdust."

"He makes sure that when they get home, it's as pristine as it was when they left, which in his line of work a lot of people don't do. If you can mark yourself out as just the easy person to work with, then you're likely to get another call the next day or the next week or whenever it happens."

"I've just tried to take a leaf out of that book, and just make sure that the relationships I'm building with people are based on honesty and trust and just being as friendly as you possibly can."


What do you do with the sawdust?

Are you ever guilty of grabbing the cash and running out of the door?
Or do you hoover up the sawdust of your craft?
Do you take care of your clients before, during and after they work with you?
Are they going to recommend you? Or be on their knees cursing you?

Think about it.
Next time you're in a hurry... What about the sawdust?