11 Tips to Screen Property Occupants before Saying “Yes” to your Next Field Service Job

11 Tips to Screen field service Customers
Property Occupants have all the right to do a thorough search before hiring a Field Service Supplier for their next project. And why not; their hard earned money is flowing out of their pockets after all. So Field Service Suppliers hear questions like: Are you licensed, qualified and insured? Can you charge less for this? Do you have a free quote? Please clean up before leaving. The list goes on forever. Unfortunately for Field Service Suppliers, checking a property's past history is not so simple. Most of the times they would rely on their gut feeling and hope that the customers won’t be too fussy, pay late or simply waste their time by changing their mind even before the job begins. So how can service providers weed out tire kickers and difficult Property Occupants early on so they don’t end up pulling out their hair doing the job or grinding their teeth as they chase after money owed. We have gathered some tips from the pros:

Table of Contents

1. Charge a call out fee

This is probably the best way to check if the Property Occupant calling for a quote respects your time or not. Quoting is a lengthy process. It takes time and money to travel all the way, inspect the job and settle over a quote. It’s only fair for a Field Service Supplier to charge a call out fee. If a customer is not willing to pay that then they are either not serious or will be more hassle than it’s worth once you start the work.

2. Listen closely to what they say about their previous Field Service Supplier

Of course if the work looks dodgy, customers have all the right to complain. But if someone is bad-mouthing the previous service providers who had been there before and for no apparent reason, they will probably try to find faults in your work too and will be too hard to please.

3. Watch out for late payers

If Property Occupants are too eager to get discounts or keep on trying to negotiate the rates, this should ring a bell. You don’t want to get caught with someone who values price over quality and hard work. They can be a pain in the neck when the job is done and “it’s” pay time.

Better yet, run a search on Late Payer’s List to check if your potential customer’s name is there. This will safeguard your business from ones who beat around the bush when the payment is due.

4. Follow your intuition

When you are long enough into your business, you sort of develop a sixth sense to sniff out troublemakers. While trusting your gut feeling can be risky, it’s very necessary. Most of the times, a first meeting is all you will need to decide whether to work for them or not. The trick is to be super observant. Start with a checklist for yourself: Do they have a clear picture of what they need to get done? Are they educated enough to know that the Block’s timeframes are unrealistic? Are they nagging over the cost too much? Do they look like they will be able to pay for the job? Watch out for those looking for discounts in exchange for help or repeatedly telling you how hard it is to be a pensioner.

5. Ask them their budget and time frame

Your time is precious so use it wisely. Instead of spending an hour on an elaborate landscape design only to find out later that their budget is for a basic garden bed, ask them about their budget first. Most of the times, the discussion will end just there.

6. Do some reference calling

Property Occupants have the advantage to look at their Field Service Suppliers’ licenses, certificates, work experience and so on. But service providers can do the same! Ask mates in the industry about the customers they have worked with before and call them to do some reference check. More than a few bad testimonials should be enough to ring the bell.

7. Have everything written and signed

From when and how they are going to pay to who buys the material and how the costing of extra work will be done, get them to agree to all the terms in writing and have it signed by them before the work starts. If they disagree or try to negotiate too much, they will probably continue to do so throughout the job. Don’t change the terms that can potentially put your business at risk. Take it as a warning. Walk out.

8. Ask them what aspect of work are they most focused on?

If a Property Occupant doesn’t have realistic expectations, giving them charge of the project can prove to be a disaster. Let them tell you what they want but set the agenda yourself and walk them through the project scope, completion timeline, variations, materials and payment process.

Ask them what matters the most to them. Quality, time or cost and you will be able to weed them out right there.

9. How many quotes have they requested already from other Field Service Suppliers?

If the Property Occupant has approached twelve other Field Service Supplies before getting a quote from you, it can show their priority is the price and not the quality of the job.

Make sure you don’t waste time with tire kickers.

10. Find out who the decision maker is

If the decision maker of the household knows how to do the job, but does not have time to do it, chances are they will not be happy with your work. If they have a nephew who happens to be a Field Service Supplier himself, chances are you are going to get a lot of tips on how he does it so efficiently. If they don’t know what they want, they won’t be happy with what they get.

11. Look for the right attitude

If a Property Occupant has called for a job, the service provider is under the impression that they want to get the job done. But not making themselves available for a meeting is not okay.

Respect for Field Service Supplier’s time is the number one rule for business. Are they calling for an emergency job that should have been done a long time back?

There might be trouble when it’s pay time. Are they trying to suggest what the job should cost? They don’t understand the value of your skills.


If you are new into your business, you might bump into the wrong jobs more often than you like.

But not all small businesses have the luxury to say no just because your gut tells you to. If time is on your side, be accommodating and patient. Take a few minutes to chat and laugh with them to see things from their eyes. But do your homework, before saying yes to your next job. 


Note: This article was created after talking to over 50 Field Service Suppliers and Tradie Wives on what steps they take to make sure their clients are the right fit for their business.

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