ROGUE tradesmen, as we all know, give builders, plumbers, painters, joiners, electricians and roofers a bad name and get them all branded as cowboys.
The media must accept their share of the blame for this because only horrific stories of bad workmanship ever make the headlines even though they make up a small proportion of the work carried out across the country every day.
However, a recent survey of 2000 consumers and 320 tradesmen in the UK by insurance giants AXA has confirmed what Checkatrade has been saying for years – that most tradesmen are reliable, dependable and professional.
The AXA research bucks the ‘cowboy builder’ stereotype, but finds tradesmen and women suffer from unfavourable typecasting.
Despite acknowledging positive personal experiences, 60 per cent of people surveyed said it’s fair to label tradespeople as ‘cowboys’ or ‘rogue traders’, and 20 per cent said they’re afraid of being ‘ripped off’ when they need work done.
Yet the survey findings paint a different picture, and show the UK’s tradesmen and women to be reliable, skilled, helpful and even kind. This is backed up by Checkatrade ambassador Craig Phillips.
While horror stories are rife in the media, most people say they’re happy with work done in their homes, and almost three quarters have long-standing relationships with one or more trusted tradesmen or women they’d recommend to others.
In fact, far from uncovering a gang of rogue traders who leave work botched and incomplete, AXA’s research reveals that 82 per cent of the UK’s builders, painters, plumbers, joiners and electricians regularly go above and beyond the call of duty, completing small extra tasks at no charge and completing small acts of kindness for their customers.
1.Thirty eight per cent step up to save the nation’s DIY disasters, and the average tradesman spends 22% of his week – that’s eighty days a year - fixing other people’s mistakes.
2.Rather than being a target for unscrupulous merchants, it seems it’s actually elderly and vulnerable people who get the best deal.
3.Eighty one per cent of tradesmen say they work unpaid from time to time and they’ll take on extra tasks to help out someone in need.
4. 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.
Checkatrade’s Craig Phillips endorses everything in the survey and adds: “In my years of experience, working for the consumer and on television, it would be fair to say that attitudes have changed towards tradespeople, certainly over the last decade.
“The industry itself is a great deal more professional than it used to be, this is down to a number of reasons.
“The introduction of vetting sites like Checkatrade.com has made a huge difference as this will naturally raise the standard of everyone’s work as it can ranked and viewed in the public domain.
“Checkatrade has a number of partnerships in place with local Trading Standards across the UK, this itself is a major breakthrough as the tradesperson is not only vetted and approved by Checkatrade but also get the seal of approval from Trading Standards which gives the consumer reassurance and confidence when they decide to use the services of a tradesperson.
“It’s all about offering added value, tradespeople are competing for work more than ever and therefore completing a very simple task for a customer for free may just be the reason you get the work next time round.
“Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes, if you do, 9 times out of 10 you’ll win the work and then you just have to ensure you do the best job possible!”
Checkatrade are in partnership with AXA, offering members insurance for Public and Employer’s Liability and vehicle insurance.