Hiring artisans in Nigeria can come with a lot of stress especially when you fall into the wrong hands. Anyone who has ever found themselves at loggerheads with some of these underqualified, poorly skilled artisans will agree with me that it’s not an experience to look forward to.
From doing the job with low-quality materials to running away with deposits and not completing the job or doing something clearly different from what you asked them to do, artisans can be necessary evils.
However, you can’t entirely blame these artisans for their misbehaviour all the time. People who hire them also have a part to play. Here are 8 of the most common mistakes people make that mess up projects and relationships.
Hiring based on sentiment and not the skill
When you hire artisans, ensure they have the skill set needed to get your job done. Your decisions should be based on facts: like what they’ve done before and positive testimonials, and not emotions.
Any other reason aside the fact that they could get the job done is not justifiable no matter how much they or anyone tries to convince you otherwise. After all, you’re the one footing the bill and should focus on getting the best value for your money. Don’t let anyone talk you into paying for a service you aren’t convinced about.
Paying the artisans charges in full before the work is completed
Paying charges in full is a no-no when hiring artisans in Nigeria except you have a guarantee for either a job well done or a refund should there be a flop. If you don’t have anything like that, then I’ll advise you to pay the artisans you hire just enough money they need to actually get the job done at first and pay the balance when the entire job is delivered.
Some of these artisans would insist you pay some percentage before they can even get your work started. Whatever happens, ensure you play it safe and get the best value for your money.
Being unclear and indecisive about expectations
Sometimes when artisans disappoint, it’s not entirely their fault. Some clients are the ones to blame, but they’ll never admit that. Hirers need to communicate effectively with artisans about what they want. If possible get pictorial representations or prototypes to communicate clearly and make up your mind before getting the project started. I know there’ll be times you need to make adjustments to improve the original idea, but going back and forth on what needs to be done is setting yourself up for disappointment.
Not putting expectations and agreement in writing
Very close to the point I made earlier is putting things into writing. This is nonnegotiable especially for big funded projects and can be adapted for even smaller projects depending on what is at stake. Summarily, putting your expectations and agreements into writing helps you become specific and clear about what you want and puts the other party on the same page with you.
Being vague and unrealistic about their expectations
Being vague about what you’re asking artisans to do can set you up for a big fall. For example, telling your interior designer you want a breathtaking decor doesn’t explain anything. This is because breathtaking in this case is relative. What that means to someone else might not be what it means to you. Except you really trust the judgment of this artisan, ensure that you share in-depth details of what you want to avoid disappointment.
Not allowing a third party or middleman
Third party agents can be good middlemen to ensure that your work relationship with your artisan is a win-win. They ensure that your job is delivered to satisfaction and for the artisan; they ensure they’re paid every dime the client is meant to pay them. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Middlemen are for you not against you.
Ignoring other peoples testimonials
The other day I was trying to hire a fashion designer to sew a new dress for my sister’s engagement party. After looking over photos on Instagram I was sure she was the perfect person to do my job but my cousin kept warning me that people say negative things about this particular designer. I didn’t want to listen, I even read comments on her Instagram where people were saying all sorts of things about her work, but my mind was made up. Cut the long story short, I got my clothes 3 weeks after the deadline and something entirely different from what we discussed. I should have listened.
Find out what other people are saying about this artisan you want to hire. Especially people he/she has done similar work for.
Building unnecessary closeness
My last point is a bit personal and you don’t have to apply it if it doesn’t work for you but from experience, my advice to you is to keep relationships with artisans as professional as it can be. As much as you can, avoid building further relationships apart from work. If you avoid these 8 mistakes carefully while hiring artisans to do your job, you’ll save yourself tons of unnecessary drama and as a big plus, you’ll get the best value for your money, all the time.