The Itsawoman Supplement

My mum needs to get some decorating done in her house, so she asked a decorator to give her a quote. It’s not a big job: a couple of ceilings, a hallway and two rooms. The quote for that little lot? £160 for paint, and a further £1,600 for labour. You could build the pyramids for less.

The problem is the Itsawoman Supplement, which is charged by an awful lot of tradesmen. The formula is simple:

* Work out how big the job is
* Work out how many days it will take you/your team
* If the customer is a man, multiply the time by your daily rate. That’s the price.
* If the customer is a woman, double the time, multiply it by your daily rate, double that, and then add a bit on. That’s the price.

It’s sexism, pure and simple, but unfortunately it’s very common. A plasterer tried the same thing with my wife a few months back: the price he’d agreed with me was around £600 (it was a fair bit of work) but when I wasn’t around and Liz asked for the final price, it had miraculously jumped to £1,000. Liz chased him halfway up the street and I think he was genuinely afraid for his life. Hopefully he’s learned a valuable lesson, but somehow I doubt it.