From hilarious jokes on site, to clocking off early on a Friday - sometimes there’s nothing better than being a tradesman.
But beware, you’ll also need the patience of a saint when it comes to fixing DIY errors, dealing with HMRC and missing out on work in the winter.
Tradesmen are currently riding a wave of good fortune, with bricklayers’ wages hitting £25 per hour amid a skills shortage in the UK. But no matter how work’s looking at the moment, here are 10 things almost every tradesman can relate to…
1. Friends and family asking for ‘a quick favour’
‘I was just wondering….’ Four words that send shudders down the spine of every tradesman.
Whether you’re an electrician, a plumber or a carpenter, you can guarantee that it’s only a matter of time before a friend or family member asks you for the latest favour.
Sure, it might only take you an hour or so, but you don’t seem to remember asking them to work for free!
2. Being on the receiving end of pranks as an apprentice
You’ve been there, you’ve done that and you’ve looked for the replacement bubble for the spirit level.
Or perhaps you were told to fetch the left-handed spanner? It was all fun and games, and you look back and laugh. Besides, it made you the tradesman you are today.
3. …and then pranking the apprentice years later
And let’s not forget, you’ve also learnt a trick or two - tricks you’re now kindly passing on to the next generation on a daily basis…
Forgot what it's like to have a new apprentice on site, we sent him for a long weight (wait) about 4 hours ago 😂, the shop owner is game 😂— Danny Lee (@Danny_Lee98) July 5, 2016
4. Fixing DIY bodge jobs
You know how it goes. The call comes in for some work, only for you to get to the job and realise it’s far worse than anything you’d imagined.
Each year in the UK, an estimated £300 million is spent putting right the mistakes of DIY enthusiasts, and it’s tradesmen who bear the brunt - finding out a simple problem has been made worse by a wannabe builder is frustrating to say the least.
5. Nightmare dealings with HMRC
HMRC phone calls cost taxpayers £97million last year. And none know the struggle of dealing with the government department more than the self-employed.
And it’s not just the hours wasted on the phone; HMRC have been known to make the odd blunder - last year a scaffolder was fined £1m – despite a bill of just £11,000.
6. That January scramble to sort your self-assessment
“Tax shouldn’t have to be taxing,” we’re frequently told. But crikey it is.
Whilst the organised tradesmen out there will have things wrapped up well in advance, there will of course be those anxiously searching for receipts and whatnot as the deadline approaches.
Check out our list of the the 10 most terrible tax return excuses - do any of them sound familiar?
And it’s not just taxes; self-employed tradesmen also have to remember everything from renewing their public liability insurance to their CSCS card.
7. Those early finishes on a Friday
You work hard for your money. You’ve earned this.
Early starts, hard manual labour and helping people out when they need it most. An early finish on a Friday is the least you deserve…
8. Rained-off days in the winter
Well, mostly the winter. But given the UK’s unpredictable climate, tradesmen are just as likely to be rained-off in autumn, spring and - as ridiculous as it seems - even summer.
Been rained off twice this week already !— Neil Houlihan (@unclebuckQPR) July 1, 2016
Self employed builders/North/outside work
Terrible combination https://t.co/8ntG6byxRM
‘Saving for a rainy day’ takes a pretty literal meaning for those working outside in the UK.
9. …but then taking full advantage of working outside when it’s sunny
We may not get the most sunshine on these shores, but when we do - you sure do make the most of it.
While your friends - usually smug in the winter - are sat inside, you’re outside working in the glorious 30 degree heat. Okay, more like the 19 degree heat, but it’s still better than being inside.
Days like this I love being a bricklayer 🌞😎— Matt Thompson (@_mattyfkint) June 30, 2015
10. When push comes to shove, you’d never swap your trade for a normal 9-5
You work with your mates, you love what you do and you’re your own boss.
Sat at a computer for eight hours or a hard day’s graft on site? You’d take the latter any day of the week.
Have we missed any? Let us know what all tradesmen can relate to below.