Tradespeople challenge negative stereotypes

Published:  08 January, 2016

A new survey conducted by AXA Insurance finds that 82% of the UK’s builders, painters, plumbers, joiners and electricians regularly go above and beyond the call of duty for customers, completing small extra tasks at no charge and carrying out small acts of kindness, even working unpaid from time to time for those in need.

Feeding a pet, picking up a parcel or staying on to chat with an older customer are common acts of kindness uncovered by the study, while turning up at short notice or on weekends and bank holidays gets a big thumbs up from the customer.

Despite this, 20% of the 2,000 consumers surveyed said they were still afraid of getting ‘ripped off’ when they said they needed work done.

Managing director for AXA, Darrell Sansom said: “Day in and day out we know tradespeople go above and beyond for their customers – but bad news travels fast and one rogue operator can cause a lot of damage to everyone else’s reputations.

“Of course we know that across all walks of life, not every person is as honourable as the next, and we know that no matter how skilled and professional you are, mistakes can happen. But if you are one of the good guys doing a good job, and feel you’re suffering from a negative stereotype, there are things you can do to build trust in your business.”

Mr Sansom advises tradespeople to ensure their website is free from mistakes, and suggests including trade body memberships, pictures of past work and contact details to put potential customers at ease.

The study also found that builders and joiners have the most loyal customers, with a third of relationships lasting a solid 10 years or more, while plumbers and electricians are most likely to benefit from word of mouth references. Horror stories are rife in the newspapers and on TV but most people say they’re happy with work done in their homes, and almost three quarters have longstanding relationships with one or more trusted tradesmen or women they’d recommend to others.

AXA’s survey found that the most important characteristics the public look for when choosing a tradesman are price, recommendation, proper insurance and good manners.

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