Builders and guests

I have had a carpenter in to build some new back stairs and outside door so I don’t need to ever go through the guests area downstairs when in use. It is outside and away from the guests but there is an adjoining wall to the second bedroom. I blocked off two days without guests and checked the next lot wouldn’t be arriving till late which gave him three straight days to do the job as agreed. He was a no show on the first day and didn’t turn up till midday on the second. Worked the third. He said he would work the next day when I had guests staying and would arrive early. So that left me with the predicament of trying to fit in the builder with the guests. I am pretty much booked up this month and leaving days unbooked didn’t work anyway. I explained the situation and assured them he would be out the back but he didn’t seem particularly interested in my problem. Anyway he didn’t turn up that day either, or the next Monday. Maybe he’ll turn up tomorrow when I have new guests?

Anyway I tried to arrange things (I know triumph of optimism over experience) but have to work with his tardiness to get it all finished asap. I don’t want to alarm people but there will be some noise but not for an extended period. I have warned them he might be here. He may not turn up again anyway. If it was just me I would “suck it up Princess” as we say here as getting builders in the country is difficult and it is winter so weather is a factor.

I feel bad because I don’t want to be like that hotel that “forgets” to tell you when you book that there is a building site next door. Should I offer them a gift (say a bottle of wine) in advance or wait and see how it goes and bottle of wine if minor disturbance and free night if worse? Anybody have a similar experience and what did you do? Were your guests really annoyed or understanding? Worst case scenario I might have to put up with a full refund or a bad rating.

Tricky situation: First your carpenter is a total flake when it comes to scheduling and doesn’t seem to have any respect for what ‘word integrity’ is. That is a major red flag, he is fitting you between jobs in all likelihood, so totally undependable. He might be a fine carpenter, but goodness. Secondly, he will be working outside the area where the guests are indeed staying, though adjoining it, so perhaps that will lessen his impact ~when he does decides to show up that is~. It is an important modification, which will be appreciated by all your future guests.

Why don’t you get a carpenter that understands why we live by a calendar and wait for the next day or so available in-between guests. Such a stairs, outside of cement footings and posts, and if the rest is pre-cut is a one-day affair; the new carpenter could do all the measurements and pre-cuts beforehand, before even showing up at your site…

The new door, depending on building structure (bearing walls,etc) is an added day, using a pre-fab door casing.


One of the reasons I moved to the country was not to be driven mad by timesheets and deadlines. If it was just me I’d just let it happen in its own good time. The issue here is how to deal with unreliable builders + warning guests, who may be on a quiet weekend away, and not expecting anything other than my ducks loudly quacking in the back yard.

If working with this builder is your absolute only option, no other way around it, then it’s going to cost you in bribes, freebies and possibly reviews. If it were me?

  1. Bribe the builder to show up on time. Money talks. I would also continue to search for back up builders - who knows you might luck out and find a good one.

  2. Be honest with your upcoming guests about the situation and offer them a choice. Give them a discount if they choose to stay and there ends up being racket, give them a full refund if they choose to cancel. I would have a few freebies on hand to give to guests who may be regretting their decision to stay.

Good luck!

@JamJerrupSunset - I am in total sympathy. I had a similar situation, only I had blocked off well over a month. UGH what is it with contractors? I think the emphasis is 'INDEPENDENT contractor". While these guys may be well skilled at their job they have of the temperament that won’t clock-in on time or play by the rules so they have to go off and work for themselves. My sister once hired a company because their slogan was ‘we show up’.

My work still isn’t done and I’d try to hire contractor #3 by I just don’t have the heart for it anymore.

So - clue to us all - when signing the contract tie in payment and/or bonus or fines related to keeping on schedule.

This is what I did - I wrote a little thing titled “Forgive us our Messes” - a play on ‘forgive us our trespasses’. I put it in a nice frame and put it in the bathroom. I wrote a brief blurb about what our goal was and what happened. So far, no one has complained. I never had to deal with a complaint about the unfinished work, or, the contractor being there.

Do keep a few bottles of wine on hand - or better yet - some coupons for a nice restaurant, in case they are recovering alcoholics or are Mormon or have other objection to wine. _Just keep it in reserve in case it’s needed. Wait and see. Don’t offer what you don’t need to.

One day my contractor DID show up on time - nice and early - on a day I had guests (young people who liked to sleep in). They came with those super loud drills, yelling and hollering to each other through the space. I. Was. Mortified. Guests hardly seemed to care. Left me a great review. You just can’t tell what’s going to ruffle a guest’s feathers. My guests are in our basement and a few times I’ve not thought things through and ended up with friends over who were LOUD. Guests seemed clueless as to the situation (which would have made me crazy!).

Hang in there - it sounds like a great improvement - let us know how it goes!!!

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I had major work, an addition to the front of my home/guest room done between November 30 and mid February. That’s how long it took and it took about twice as long as the original time estimate. So I’d say ALWAYS count on the job taking longer than expected. I wasn’t able to book the room at all part of the time and the rest of the time I blocked off days and then opened them up for last minute bookings as I saw what was scheduled coming up. After this I had a pair of guests booked while I was having my bedroom, next door across the hall worked on. Sure enough the guy came in at 7 am playing music and talking loudly. Like dcmooney I was mortified. While my listing says I keep quiet and expect quiet between 10 pm and 6 am I still think people have a reasonable expectation of sleeping past 7 am. When the mom and daughter got up they were joking about the noise. I apologized and put a $20 on the counter and said, “This is terrible, so sorry, here’s half your money back.” I wondered if that was enough but I figured they still got a very nice room, several hours of sleep and hot showers. I also let them use my kitchen to heat water and eat their ramen although at the time my listing clearly said no kitchen access due to remodeling. Well, they were so grateful for the money and practically with tears in their eyes they said “money is tight right now, this really helps.” They left all 5 star marks. It’s more about the people you have as guests than it is about the carpenter.

Hi James, I feel your pain don’t worry. Won’t bore everyone with all the details (again!) of my current (Air room) renovation but let’s just say it started on 4 April this year, was supposed to be finished within three weeks and we are still in the thick of it. AirBnB was my only source of income so it was a disaster on more than one level. But basically all I’ve done is let guests know in advance what to expect, apologised once or twice MAXIMUM, made a joke or two about it, then THANKED them for their understanding and flexibility. I’ve found that apologising too much gives the situation a negative outlook but thanking them and saying how great they’ve been about everything goes a really long way. Basically ‘guilting’ them into writing a good review regardless!


Sorry I took so long to reply but the work was finished soon after and now I have a lovely new door and outside stairs so I don’t have to disturb my AirBnB guests. My guests were surprisingly okay about the infrequent but loud noise. Maybe I just got lucky. This time.

I’m currently in this boat and as we speak my Notice of Completion was filed today! (YAY)… During this time though I couldn’t DREAM of having guests in the space, which is not their space but upstairs. The workers’ trucks and tools are all over the place and they arrive at 7am sharp to start. They had a compressor up here that would go off every 20 minutes and sound like the launch of a Saturn V rocket.

I had to turn down numerous guests and sometimes for nothing, as the schedule kept getting changed on me. Finally my loan was about to be rescinded and the contractors got here and finished my new kitchen in one and a half weeks. But I’ve also had to install a new catchment tank, gutters, repairs to the walkway and a few other things. I signed the contract last November, so it’s only taken THAT long to get it all done!

I feel it is not fair to guests to have contractors working, but rather than cancel you could let them stay for half or 75% off if indeed the worst happens while they are staying. Bottom line, it is hard to know when contractors will actually start and then actually finish, thus, it is hard to schedule guests.

It was a challenge scheduling guests during contractors and quite frankly it might have been finished months ago, if not for the guests that the contractor said were OK to schedule–then moved the timeline on me.

No worry, it’s all done! All that’s left is to buy shelving paper for my new maple cabinets!!! YAHHHH!!!


Something I have done in the past, and I don’t know if it would work now, is to tell contractors that for every day they go over the time estimate, I will add one day to the time in which I will pay their bill. It worked :slight_smile:


Could you turn your room in the rental until he is done with the staircase? I’m assuming your room would be an upgrade so the guests would approve.

Well, at least all of you had builders you’d actually contracted, so you were somewhat forewarned … last year at the height of our Summer season we had just welcomed a VERY chic, sophisticated French couple who raved about our “charmant, tranquille” place. Until 8a.m. the next morning when the tranquilité was shattered by a road drill blasting away outside our house. Yes, the water company had chosen that week to lay new pipes. Prior notice? Come on, this is Spain … It was incredibly awful, noisy and dusty, and the only bright spot was that the guests were proper explorers who wanted to go out and not sit around all day, and thankfully the drilling stopped at 4pm so they got some time to relax by the pool.

I offered the guests a 50% discount when they left (they came through our website, not Air) and they very graciously declined, saying it was not our fault and they’d very much enjoyed their stay.
Definitely candidates for the Guest Hall of Fame!


jaquo, you do have some great ideas!

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Someone should start a hall of fame thread for great guests. This one wouldn’t have to be private, :smile:

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