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Readers Respond: What’s Your Top Sign A Customer Will Be Trouble?

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WFB asked wood floor pros on Facebook and Instagram what their top sign that a customer will be trouble is. Here’s what they said:

Joe Dawson

“I’m not rushing you but when will you be completely finished?”... and you haven’t even started.

Bill Bagley

"OH, I'm really easy to work with"...

Jimmy Salisbury

“Just so you know, I’m an engineer!”

Eric Nylin

“I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Internet so I know what Im talking about.”=

Clint Fudge

Their chest moves in and out, in a steady rhythm.

Kent Will

"I'm hoping you are the one because we've had terrible luck with the eight previous flooring guys on this project."

Ron Teljeur

"We're not picky.”

Myra Smallwood

When I meet them for an estimate and they are complaining about the plumber, electrician, painters…

Joshua Crossman

The list of 20 questions that no normal person asks. “By chance are you an engineer?”

Jeremy Summerford

When they belittle you treat you like you’re stupid and then say you’re crazy on your price. And you say, "And this is where we part ways.” Happened about an hour ago.

Justin Boone

When they’re hand-picking every board that goes in and where it can go.

Steven Triplett Jr.

They won’t pay for an estimate. If they are preparing to spend thousands on a floor but are unwilling to pay $100 for an estimate … Red flag!

Quan Nguyen

When they question the deposit.

Joe Bettencourt

“My step dad’s brother's cousin's son's nephew is an installer and told me that it needs to be done like this.”

Paul Alexander

“Email only. I don’t have time for phone calls.”

Nick Bogatz

When they say they watched 30 YouTube videos and they know what they're talking about!

David Britt

“We had to fire our last flooring company.”

Jorge Perez

When they sit and watch you all day with a million questions to be asked.

Simon Cruse

They say, “Well, I seen this on Pinterest”!!!!!

Lisa Marie Sanford

Saying, “I used to do this on the side.”

Martin Blaszczyk

“Hi, i don't have a lot of money, but would like to do some work in the house.” Take a hike.

Greg Marion

- Their best friend is an interior decorator.

- When they say they'd do it themselves but they just can't find the time.

- "My (insert family member) is a contractor.”

Dave Boucher

"I'm getting a bunch of estimates.”

Josh Hansman

“I refinish furniture on the side."

Aaron Goodman

Asking for a breakdown on a bid.

Timothy Fall

"I'm an engineer.”

David Merrill

When they have a beautiful clean house and apologize for it being messy.

Jesse Grey

When they pull a color up on Pinterest.

Steve Heineken

“Your prices are too high for the amount of work.” Skilled labor ain’t cheap. Cheap labor ain’t skilled.

Cash Pyle

“I am really easy going.”

Obe Martell

They ask you to take off your shoes before entering when it looks like they haven't cleaned their house since 1987.

Wayne Walker

When they use emojis during text messaging.

Rogelio Longoria

Telling you a family member will baby sit you while working.

Matthew Shumway

Usually the first indicator is they ask if the estimate is free.

Pete Helton Jr

If their dog is an a**hole, pretty good chance they are, too.

Karla Contreras

1.- “I’m expecting a great job.” Followed by…

2.- “Why do you charge so much?”

3.- “Varnish is cheap at Home Depot.”

4.- “I can do it but have no time right now.”

5.- “I installed this floor by myself.”

6.- “Can you please make me a good deal?”

Lou Buono Jr.

Getting a warning on the initial call that the first three companies she called already got a one-star review for "trying to take advantage" of her. This just happened a few days ago, and I just got my one star review today.

Jim Romaine

When you pull up to a high-end residence, with his and hers Maseratis in the driveway, and the first thing to discuss is your minimum labor price per square foot being too high…

Glenn Harris

They don't text, only call.

Mārshall Williāms

The one that says, “I know a guy who can do it cheaper but I want you to do it, mate.”

Sean Tupper

When they say you can’t cause dust! Or my personal favorite, when they tell you, “I’m a lawyer”!

William Burnam

When you learn what they don’t like and don’t hear anything about what they do like without being asked.

Nathan Haynes

“I have had to fire three contracts by now. Let’s hope you are better.” Red flag. If you went through that many already, it’s you who is the problem, not the contractor. Asking for a breakdown of the price. I tell them no. That’s the price. If they use the word “cheap.”

Bradley Kidder

“Can you take 10% off your estimate?”

JimBro Kramer

“My dad was a master carpenter, so...”


When they have an architect, a designer and a builder yet they are still making phone calls and asking questions…


“I’m really sensitive to chemical smells…”


If anyone is even the slightest bit rude during the estimate or pre-screening process, I’m out. I work by myself and thankfully don’t have to take any job that I don’t feel great about the people I’m working for.


The one who tells you how to do the job, and asks a bunch of questions and says he can only spend X amount of $$$ for the job and asks for discounts and gets multiple estimates!


“I’m a retired engineer and I’m into woodworking.”


When they meet you in the driveway as you’re reversing in, as if they’ve been waiting around since 5:30 a.m.


When you’re on your tenth “excuse me” because they just happen to be in the way…before lunch.


“We want you to do the job. Can you match the lowest quote, though?”


When they ask you to lower your price!!! …That’s the first sign of trouble…Walk away!


When you’re brought in after the first guys walked off the job.


“I’m super easy to work with…” AKA micromanager. 


“I’m a doctor,” “I’m an architect,” “I’m an interior designer.”


When they bust out the Post-It Notes on the floor when there is a dog hair (from their dog) in the first coat.


“Oh, we’re not picky.”


When every subcontractor on the site tells you to turn around and get out while you can.


If I show up and you don’t offer me water in the first couple hours, I can get a pretty good read on you.


When they start talking about a warranty.


When a customer requests I move their furniture for them and they’re irritated when I refer them to actual furniture movers.


Whenever I show up to the door for a quote and immediately the client says: “The other contractor didn’t do the job I requested!” 


Had a customer show me what a bad job the last floor man did. Walked around the house to show me spots she didn’t like only when the sun hit it a certain way but then couldn’t find them when I was there.


When they ask to help or give you advice after they’ve seen a few YouTube videos.


It seems to be the ones that do not ask any questions or say anything during the process. Usually they’re super nice and chatty about anything other than the project until it comes time to pay. …I’ve found communication along the way is key to happy clients. Also, just take pride in your work, do a good job upfront and you’ll rarely have trouble.


When they ask you the day you start if it will be done the next day.


They won’t speak directly to me. 

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