A Gut Feeling About a Decorating Job

Updated May 9, 2024 | Posted Jan 31, 2021 | Professional insight, Life of a Decorator | 8 comments

Bear with me, this may be long! I had a gut feeling about a decorating job that I want to tell you about.

This week I viewed a mammoth job, ‘snagging another decorator’ with potential to decorate larger rooms and other rooms coming up….

As I first got into the property, the bloke said to me “all his other trades have been brilliant, barring the 2 decorators he’s had which have been rubbish” (it wasn’t rubbish, the plastering was). He went on to tell me “they would moan at everyone else and tell me their problems at home” (I understand a bit too much, but also other trades are our poison, we hate them lol)

So he said to me, “I know it will be a big job and expensive, I can afford it but I don’t want to hear about your family issues or other trades rubbish, I’d like you to come in and crack on, you can do nights and weekends if you want” 🤣🤣🤣

Anyway, I could have done with the work, I’ve 3 lads who work for me, 4 kids and a life. We could do with the money but, do I need this headache?

I rang around, and out of the 3 companies I thought who may know him, 2 of them gave me the same answer, ”he would pick a fault in a masterpiece….”

So, I told him I was busy,

Truth of the matter,

6 years ago, when I started out, I jumped on a similar decorating  job to this. I didn’t speak to anyone, I just thought I could do it. I lost over 2k and loads of stress, doubting my abilities…. 

So, not much of a story but an insight. If you have a gut feeling about a decorating job, have a phone around, don’t do it because you fancy the work. I didn’t know this guy and I needed the work really, but I’ve learnt a lot in my years as a self-employed decorator. You can sense problems coming a mile off!

Stick with your gut feeling, life goes on.

A Gut Feeling About a Decorating Job – by Stu Passey


I Quoted a Decorating Job for an Idiot


I quoted a decorating job a month or so ago. It was quite high soffits and fascia boards all the way around a big house. Loads of prep too, they were flaking like mad!! I hadn’t been there 5 minutes and the fella started jumping down my throat for a price!!

This put me off straight away, so I gave him an inflated quote. You know, the quote you put in when you don’t want a job, but if you do then the money makes everything worth it? That’s the quote I gave him!! I hadn’t even had time to look properly!!

Needless to say, it was more than he was expecting!! He told me I was too expensive, we said our goodbyes and I left him to it. He then phoned me 20 minutes later telling me tales of selling the house. Asking me to do a revised quote without the prep just as a freshen up before he put it on the market. My original quote was £1,200, so I knocked him £200 and he agreed.

Anyway, I nipped back a few days ago to drop colour samples off and he starts telling me my van is too new!! Reckons I must be charging too much!! Give me strength!!

I was straight and told him I didn’t appreciate the comment. I work most weekends, my business has overheads and I spend half my life faffing around (with people like this idiot).

Anyway, got a bullsh1t call from him last night to say he can’t afford the work. Even after all the messing around, I feel relieved to have dodged a bullet. I’m glad I don’t need to work for him.

We’ve all had bad customers before, and I know you should always trust your gut feeling. That’s what I should have done from the start with this guy. Next time, I’m going to walk as soon as I realise, I’m quoting a decorating job for an idiot.

Lesson learned!! From now on, I won’t even quote for a job if I have a bad feeling about someone. No modern decorator should put up with time wasters.

Anthony Russle

Professional Decorator

Updated May 9, 2024 | Posted Jan 31, 2021 | 8 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. richard

    Great insight Stu, yes we all been there and l have done the same, word spreads even ask other trades on occasion l find works well.
    Useally what happens is you take on a job you shouldn’t have, struggle massively and turn down the other pukka jobs that then inevitably come in..
    Gut feeling is the best feeling!!

  2. Michael Regan

    Agree! gut feeling always the way to go, great piece Stu

  3. Jon Mac

    Always great to go with your gut feeling when choosing jobs.

  4. Felix Law

    Really interesting on relying on your gut when choosing a decorating job

  5. Vince John

    Completely agree. Gut feeling always trumps all.

  6. Amelia

    I wholeheartedly concur. The gut instinct always takes precedence over all other considerations. It is always a good idea to think before selecting painting jobs.

  7. Ching

    Agree totally!! Gut feeling is the right way.

  8. John

    Well, my gut feeling never did me wrong!


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