Be A Pro – Neatness Counts

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Neatness Is The First and Last Impression Of Real PROs

Regardless of the trade you’re in, neatness is the telltale sign of a true professional. I’m often amazed at how often I see work similar to the scary electrical panel (on the right) show above. Not only does it look dangerous but it gives the impression that whomever did the work is shoddy, inexperienced and frankly, lazy. Yes, the photo on the left gives us a feeling that a real PRO took pride in his/her work and surely knew what they were doing.

I share these photos as a reminder to young tradespeople that neatness and image are extremely important. Not sure how important that issue is? Not sure it REALLY matters at the end of the day? Let me share some experiences that have to do with the left picture to help you understand how absolutely important this issue is.


You see, the electrical panel on the left is from a home we built about six years ago. My regular electrician did the work and I often show this to potential customers who are trying to decide whether or not to hire my crew to build their new home. Once the customer sees that electrical panel they almost always comment on how professional it looks and what pride the electrician must have had. Next I show them the heating system picture above. Again, the comments fall along the same lines about pride and professionalism.

Then almost like clockwork the customer will ramble on about some electrician, handyman or plumber who did poor work at their home. In no time they’re finding great comfort knowing we do very neat, clean work. They start telling me stories of past run ins with Not So Pro contractors and the next thing I know they want us to build their project.

So this month while Bosch celebrates Pro/Not So Pro month I urge all tradesmen and women to keep doing great work. Rely on neatness and organization to give you the extra advantage over your competition. It may not sound very powerful but in today’s tight market it could be the difference between a good project and an amazing project.

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Todd Fratzel is the editor of Tool Box Buzz and president of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web-based media company focused on the home improvement and construction industries. He’s also... Read more

10 comments on “Be A Pro – Neatness Counts

  1. Chad Howe

    These areas are the only ones the clients can see after the project is complete. If you leave this kind of mark in site, they can be assured that there is quality behind the scenes as well.

  2. Bob

    That looks great, all to often I see cables, pipes and ducts thrown in, it looks awful and generally isn’t done correctly.

    I always try and keep lines parallel and neat, not sure I’m in that league but it’s inspiring!!


  3. Rich

    WOW, now that’s a very nice set up!! Your worker did an outstanding job, everything is right there if ya need to look at what ever want, I give em 5 stars on it!! Good job and well done!

  4. Keith

    As a Industrial Pipefitter I learned long ago it’s neatness that counts. You have to keep it eith plumb or level. And, it has to look nice. The only trouble I ever ran in doing something I was installing steam heated fin tube. I had to debate for quite a bit before I decided to put it in level. The reason I did that was the concrete block wall was really off. My heater was level but the block wall sure wasn’t.

  5. MattP

    Almost every site I was on when I worked in Heating looked like that. Dangerous scary stuff. The thing that frustrated me the most is old electrical, old plumbing, old lines & old ducting just left “hanging” after a renovation/remodel. Very hard to work around, also very frustrating following pipes, electrical, lines etc. for ever to find out they’re dead, and should have been removed during last update (or several updates prior)

  6. MattP

    Also very very frustrating working on any site, new build or reno when your guys clean as they go & clean up after themselves at the end of the day, while most of the other trades on site don’t. Then you’re all dumped on.

  7. Sergey

    Excellent examples of professional work. I myself am a neatness freak, and I try to do everything as neat as possible. It makes no difference if it is wiring, piping, etc… not only the job looks neat and professional, it simplifies troubleshooting should something go wrong. Would love to see more of such articles.

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