Most people have a "wicked tradesperson" file.
Horror stories abound of long waits for somebody to turn up, no callbacks on jobs considered too small and messy work spaces left for the customer to clean up.
When the householder stumbles on to punctual and efficient tradies they treat them like gold and even share them with friends to ensure they survive to return another day.
But how do tradies feel about us?
They have feelings too you know - well at least the ones who bother to turn up.
Domain found three licensed Illawarra tradesmen who were willing to down tools to defend their honour.
Lothar (George) Blasko's plumbing career started in 1945 in Germany with rigorous training. He says a good plumber is one who is not in it "to make a quick buck".
"I've been in the business 60 years and my philosophy has never changed: always try to do the best," he says.
Punctuality? "It's important but if I'm running late and that can happen I always ring the customer."
"When I had to do extension on my own home, I asked the bricklayer about his recent projects so I could inspect his work," says Blasko.
"I don't think any tradesman should object to that sort of request because it's the best way to judge their capabilities."
Igor Miceski, who has been painting for 24 years, trained at TAFE Illawarra, which he says gave him a broad skill base.
"I love my work and I take a lot of pride in it," he says.
He says turning up on time is an important way to show customers you value their business.
"Tradesmen who turn up late or not at all are often just not interested. Word of mouth is the best way to go. If you get a recommendation it's far better than going in cold."
Electrician Gary Cousins says there is some validity to the common complaints, and that it can usually be tracked back to becoming over-committed to bigger projects.
"I do big and small jobs but you have to time the small ones for the morning to ensure you don't get caught up ... but then you feel bad because there is no power when people are trying to get ready for school and work.
"I service mainly Kiama area which is friendly and relaxed and you get to work on some pretty nice homes which adds to job satisfaction."
Tip for selecting tradies?
"Sorry I work in a tradie environment and that makes it easier to choose the right person."
Tips to finding a good tradie
• Word of mouth is best – get a recommendation, says painter Igor Miceski.
• Ask to inspect any tradesman’s past work, says licensed plumber Lothar (George) Blasko.
• Punctuality in a tradesman is important.