Bathroom behavior tips for contractors

Bathroom behavior tips for contractors

Peggy Post, an etiquette expert with the Emily Post Institute, offers these tips for contractors using clients' bathrooms, many of which constitute good advice for anyone using a potty away from home.

  1. Ask ahead. If you think the need for a bathroom break might arise, don't hesitate to politely ask in advance.
  2. Mind the mud. Make sure your shoes aren't tracking anything on the floor.
  3. Try to be tidy. Leave the facilities no worse off than you found them, making sure to discard used tissues or paper towels.
  4. Refresh the roll. Put more toilet paper out if you use the last square.
  5. Stop snooping! Resist the urge to rifle through someone else's medicine cabinet.

Leave a Comment - 51

Comments

jeanie beanie

Subject: Some posters say "If you don

Some posters say "If you don't let a contractor use your bathroom he might take revenge." Well, what kind of contractor would that be? I usually let a handyman or contractor use my bathrooms but not always. Sometimes I'll hire a handyman whose been recommended, but with whom I'm not familiar. A few days ago, a new - to me - handyman made his second visit for a two day job and brought his son. I had to leave for a short while and when I returned, the kid was lying on my living room couch playing video games. He'd scrunched up the pillows to make a nice little nest for his head, and one for his bare feet. He jumped up when he saw me come through the door. His father, the handyman, was in the family room bathroom with the door closed. He was in there 16 minutes. I went into my own bathroom off the hall next to my bedroom and found the toilet seat up and a nasty smell. Apparently the kid used one bathroom and his dad, the other. Neither asked, but I would have said yes though I never would have thought they required one bath for each. The dad/handyman had only been there 20 minutes before I left. Shouldn't they use the bathroom before they start a job? I'm pretty casual but I think this behavior is way to familiar for a worker in someone's house. I felt like I had to get out of the way of the son and went to a room above the garage to avoid looking at the son sitting around in my living room with his feet up on my coffee table playing noisy games on his iphone.

Mike

Subject: I reject the reasons given

I reject the reasons given here against letting contractors use one's bathroom (excepting compromised immune system issues). Nancy and others should have made a particularized complaint to the company about the person who left a mess or charged for time spent in the bathroom.

I echo the view that if they are good enough to work on the house, they are good enough to use the bathroom. Doing otherwise treats them as less than human.

In fact, Nancy's version of hospitality might be the most insulting of all. She will help them drink themselves into the need for the bathroom, but deny them the use of it.

If smell is an issue, one should have ozium or similar sprays in the house.

Nancy

Subject:

No, I don't allow contractors to use our facilities. I had a bad experience with a crew of window washers and one stayed in the bathroom each day for an hour with diahrrea. It was a mess and I don't feel comfortable doing this. I do, however, offer drinks and coffee to them.

AnneC

Subject:

I had a bad experience with a highly rated contractor. I had used him several times and had excellent results. But when I asked him to remodel my master bathroom he brought a new employee, his brother-in-law, with him. On day 1 this guy asked if he could use my refrigerator to store his lunch. I said sure, why not? But on day 3 I realized that some of my prescription pain pills were missing from my kitchen cupboard, and told the contractor. He admitted that his brother-in-law had a drug problem and had hired him to help the family. Needless to say, I did not allow him back in my house. Although the contractor completed the work with good results, I have not used him again.

Dey K

Subject:

Our clients always allow us to use their bathroom, but I have VERY strict rules: No #2, never use their towels, take off your shoes in home, only wash your HANDS, NEVER use the master bath, and put the seat DOWN! Never have a problem.

Don

Subject:

I see nothing wrong with it, providing they ask first. BUT I once had a worked use the toilet and then was so rude he didn't have the time to flush it! Finding what he left in the bowl was quite disgusting.

Judy

Subject:

I always offer beverages to contractors working in and around my home and allow use of my bathroom when they ask however they leave the toliet seat up and do not wash their hands.

Carolyn

Subject:

One of the board members at our condo association discovered that Comcast cable installers had been leaving glass jars of urine in utility closets throughout the complex. It seems like Comcast should have instructed them that there was a better way to handle this problem.

Chris

Subject:

As a contractor, I don't use clients' bathrooms in residential situations; we bring a port-a-potty if we are going to be there for a significant length of time. We also take lunch breaks off-site. I don't expect clients to blindly trust every contractor that walks into their home - that would be naive and foolish. You contractors that have posted here haven't been in the business very long if you think all contractors are trustworthy - or that their employees are. We had a bunch of contractors working on the outside of our home that expected us to leave the door open for them while we were away - whoa, Tex! I don't think so. Customers: run background checks on your contractors. Many have criminal records! Don't imperil your property - and more importantly, the safety of yourself and your children - by putting yourself out there as some kind of morally superior being. Act like a prudent adult and run a simple check with your state court repository! Your contractor shouldn't be offended unless they've broken the law - or they're so new to the business that they don't know how many seasonal laborers have criminal records. Be safe!

allan

Subject:

When a contractor enters my home, I point out the bathroom to them. I also tell them that there is a pot of coffee for them as well as cookies or similar treats for them. I have never had a problem & until I do will continue to make them feel welcome in my home.

Eileen

Subject:

When I have workers doing work inside, I always show them the powder room and tell them they are free to use when necessary. I also offer to let them have beverages from the garage refrigerater (water or soda but that they must put the recyclables in the container.) I have even offered landscapers working on a very large backyard project to use our covered deck to sit at the table in the shade to have their lunch to cool off during the summer. These things are just small niceties and ways of treating people humanely. I try to treat people the way that I would want to be treated.

Ron P.

Subject:

In twenty eight years in business I have never had a customer deny us the use of their restroom. If the job is going to last for any length of time I always put a port-a-potty on the job. My guys are always very clean and nice ,but you never know .

Stephanie

Subject:

My husband is a plumber -- he spends most of his days unblocking people's toilets and sewers, and cleaning up some very foul messes. It strikes me as not only deeply unkind but also rather strange to expect him to deal with the customer's mess graciously and professionally, but then to balk at allowing him to use the very same facilities that he has just fixed. He's a grown-up -- he's not going to leave a mess or do anything childish. He's just going to take care of nature's call quickly and then get on with the job. If he has to leave your house and drive 10 minutes to a gas station and 10 minutes back, you'll be annoyed by the delay and he doesn't get paid for that time. *Good* contractors are professionals and also human -- it is deeply appreciated when customers treat them as such, and point out where the preferred bathroom is, just in case it is needed.

Siding Guy

Subject:

First off... Great Topic! I am a contractor who is often working on the exterior of homes. When "nature calls" there is one general rule... Don't #2 in the homeowners bathroom! When the need arises I feel the proper thing to do is knock at the door or ring the bell and politely ask to use the restroom, If the answer is yes, I remove my shoes or boots and proceed. I am sure to always wash my hands and then wipe out the sink (as to there are often brown dirt spots that appear from dirt coming of my hands). I have NEVER snooped through a persons belongings or medicines. I believe that this situation should be seen from both sides, the homeowner should imagine my situation, and I should imagine the homeowners perspective. In my opinion it all comes down to a common respect for one another. A worker should NEVER snoop or leave a homeowners house different then when they entered. I have even gone as far as cleaning up after the homeowners child (small boy if you know what I mean) just so they don't think that I have left their bathroom in that condition. Respect deserves respect. Thanks to the homeowners who have allowed me into their home.

Chris

Subject:

Ive been a carpenter for a long time and have never run into some of the snobs (thank God) that I have seen posting here. It is amazing to me how people treat contractors. If you had half the talent they have you could do the work yourself. But you don't so show some class. To those of you who treat us like human beings. We appreciate it and we always will do a little extra for people like you.

Bob

Subject:

Not only do we allow contractors to use the bathroom but we provide food for them during breaks. We treat people with respect. They show their appreciation and always do excellent work. I'm surprised by how many people treat contractors like subservients.

Kathleen

Subject:

Setting some ground rules while allowing contractors to use the toilet seems the best policy. (the alternatives, using the grounds or going off site on the clock don't seem very nice.) If you have contractors that check out okay why worry or be so fussy? Just make it clear that you expect the place to be left as nice as it was when they came in. Not a bad idea too to put down inexpensive builders' paper for them to walk on & make cleanup later easier. Oh, and @Tim was it really necessary to contrive a response in order to post spam? That kind of behavior would put me off your service whether or not it complies with Angieslist TOS.

Val Patrick

Subject:

I always allow contractors to use potty - I have never had a problem as I cannot expect them to be running around looking for a gas station. They are usually there all day and have always left the facilities in a clean state. They were always polite and never abused the time.

Jason

Subject:

For all of those who don't want contractors using your bathroom: Imagine if your boss started making you clock out and drive to a gas station or Arbys everytime you want to use the bath. Sound unreasonable?

Lutz Irrigation

Subject:

I am a woman contractor and do appreciate the offer of using the facilities when needed. I always try and be quick and courteous .Most times I will not take them up on the offer. This is a simple gesture of trust on both sides.

Judith

Subject:

I've had very few requests to use the toilet. Most workers seem to take pains to go before they start work or while they're at lunch. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for denying access to the bathroom that have nothing at all to do with treating a worker as an inferior. With only one bathroom, which is not conveniently located away from the main area of the home and a very fragile terminally ill patient who requires care 24/7, it is a matter of patient safety to deny the use of the facilities. One infection with c. difficile, a bug that resides in the healthy person's GI tract without causing ill effect, can cause serious health issues in the fragile patient. One such infection took five months and thousands of dollars of medication to cure and very nearly cost this patient his life.

Al P

Subject:

Are you serious? You have people giving you a solid roof or running gas pipes or rewiring your home and you're going to deny them use of your powder room? PLEASE. Do you have any idea what kinds of things they can do to you when they're made unnecessarily angry? And the thing is, you won't even know about that screwed up valley flashing until the snow thaws out. A little compassion, what?

Bridget Buckley

Subject:

I once had a contractor who used the toilet in the master bath, & that just grossed me out! I couldn't believe it! Really felt like an invasion. Since then I always show the contractor where our powder room/guest bath is & tell them it is just fine with me if they use it. It may be weird, but I really cannot stand it if guys leave the toilet seat up. So, you contractors out there, listen up! I appreciate the people who come to work for us & always have various drinks on hand. No one has ever wanted coffee or tea, so I just stick to cold drinks & water. Surprising how many prefer water! Goes without saying for me, I certainly wouldn't want or expect any contractor to be snooping in my house. Mutual respect is my motto. I'm grateful for their expertise & hopefully they are grateful for work and a nice employer!

Alex

Subject:

I hate to sound like a bathroom "meanie", but whether it be a contractor or guest........do your #2 before you mess up my bathroom! LOL

Greg

Subject:

In the 25 years we've been in business, only 1 or 2 customers told us we weren't allowed to use their facilities. Most people offer up a preferred bathroom right off the bat, if not, we always ask. Thank you to the masses for being humane.

suze

Subject:

Absolutely. Have no issue with contractors working here using the bathroom. Since I've worked 'in the field' myself, know how difficult it is to find a spot.

Brenda

Subject:

The answer is simple: How would YOU want to be treated? Told to hold it? And do you really want them leaving the site for potty breaks with the clock running up your bill? Not me!

Matt

Subject:

I have no problem letting contractors use my facilities. I just tell them not to be nasty monkeys who throw poo everywhere.

John

Subject:

For all respondees who would deny basic physiological needs of contractors working in your home...Good luck fixing your problem yourself. Oh, you can't fix it because you don't understand basic repairs. Hope your contractors charge you extra for the time lost due to stopping work and going elsewhere to take care of basic human needs. Shame on you!

Steve P.

Subject:

I take prilosec for my stomach and sometimes when I have to go there is no time to find another place!I have to use the customers facilities and I will leave it as clean as it was when I started! As for the smell somethings just can't be helped and we're all human! If you think you don't stink you're sadly mistaken!

mike

Subject:

it only hurts the customer to not let contractor use restroom. most of the time i plan on not using customers restroom and just add extra money to job for down time

Chris

Subject:

Anyone who wouldn't let another person use their facilities is downright rude. They are good enough to work on your home, but not good enough to use your bathroom. Stuck up A-holes and I wouldn't want to work on your house. Contractors are human beings trying to feed their kids. Try showing some decency.

Diane Y

Subject:

My pet peeve is people who use my towels. I put out guest towels but guests inevitably use my personal towels. It's nothing unusual about contractors, my relatives are the worst offenders!

j.w.

Subject:

Of course I let them!!! I have landscape people working right now on our house and they're here from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. And you think I want them to leave and try and find some gas station every time they have to pee?! Of course, these guys are nice and clean. I didn't even have to ask them to take their boots off.

John S

Subject:

I no longer allow contractors to use my bathroom since a greenhouse repairman had diahrrea in his pants (before asking to use the bathroom)and got it all over the walls, floor, vanity, throw rug, and toilet! It took most of a chilly fall day with all the windows open and the exhaust fan on to clear the stench out, not to mention the cleanup! Never, never again!

Donna S.

Subject:

If a contractor is doing work outside your home, I do not think it's appropriate to come inside your home to use the bathroom. Mud, dirt and grass most possibly be tracked inside. If the contractor is a good one, they would have no problem leaving and coming back asap. "They should wait until a break", come on people! They are humans just like us and it is very uncomfortable to hold it when nature calls! Use the golden rule. You catch more flies with honey. Don't treat them as if they are below you just because their profession and they work for you. I recently had two large mature trees cut down and the stumps grinded in the heat of the summer. I showed them respect due to the heat by bring them cold sodas with ice in disposable cups and also treated them to sub sandwiches with fries because they were running out of daylight. I did not want them to stop, other than a lunch break so they would finish. Not only did they finish and clean the lawn very good of limbs & debris, they charged me $200 less because they were so pleased that I treated them with respect and kindness. A great tip for contractors you're happy with: ask for numerous business cards & tell them you are going to refer & send more business their way. I can't tell you how many referral discounts I have received, plus quality work in a timely manner!!! Contractors are PEOPLE TOO! Common sense goes a long way.

Deborah

Subject:

Really ? This is an intense basic human need. How could you deny someone? I always pick up the towels in mine and replace with paper towels when work is being done at our house.

Carol C.

Subject:

Having dealt for years with people (contractors, kids, people who are just caught short) as well as strangers attending a specific event, I would add a #0 to your list, and that rule would be FLUSH. I never cease to be amazed at how people don't do this very simple thing, and how very many problems it can cause.

Jared

Subject:

When I worked as a contractor for a restoration service, we were trained that #1 was acceptable with the homeowners permission, but you NEVER go #2 in a customers home.

Angelo

Subject:

I used to live in an apartment building in Europe...the telephone company employees were doing some work there, and asked one of the tenants for a glass of water...she showed them the garden hose!!! The entire apartment building had no telephone service for days....

Paul

Subject:

I always offer the use of our bathroom. There was one contractor who would still walk a block to use the porta potty at a nearby construction site. I caught one contractor peeing in the brushes even after I had offer the use of our bathroom. I just shook my head and laughed.

Cheri

Subject:

I think it's ridiculous not to allow it.

Emma R.

Subject:

Sorry, for an occasional contractor that I have never met before, it makes me uncomfortable. I sometimes think they want to get a good look at my home. It is not the same with contractors In general I would rather contractors try to use other facilities during their break.

Kim O

Subject:

Of course I let them use my bathroom. I would hate to make them hold it or else drive 10 minutes away to relieve themselves. Unfortunately, I have had a number of messes to clean up, but although this is irritating, it doesn't stop me from letting them use the toilet.

Judith M

Subject:

Regarding #4: Refresh the roll.
Unless you are one of the [few] households I've seen who use a TP caddy in their bathroom, how could you expect any visitor using your facilities to know where the TP is kept?

Dee W.

Subject:

Absent a specific problem-like the one described above- it is rude to prohibit a contractor's use of the restroom. I would rather have them use my bathroom than my driveway. One thought to add to the list for visiting contractors- replace the seat in its original position !

Nick Gerz

Subject:

TRAIN AND MANAGE your employees to go elsewhere. Customers do NOT have the obligation to recognize this "inevitable need". It's nice if they do but I absolutely prefer my guys NEVER go inside that house unless they're in the middle of nowhere and have no other choice...

Chris Lerario

Subject:

As a customer, you have the obligation to recognize this inevitable need and you should be ready. If there is a certain bathroom you want them to use, show them where it is and have it ready their use.

joan price

Subject:

I do not think a contractor should ever use the bathroom facilities in a house they are being paid to work on. I stopped using a well known carpet cleaning co because each time they came (2 men) one of them would ask to use my restroom. He would stay in there the entire time. This happened twice and I said "no more". I never used them again.

Tim S

Subject:

When we send our folks through class, we give them the same steps. #4 is one we do not think of but it almost ties into #5 for most houses. For the lead paint class, people can go to www.epaleadtraining.com and they can get the lead paint safety forms at www.epaleadforms.com.

Good stuff. Thanks.

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