Trusted Tradesman Checklist

Customer matters

8 January 2016

The very best professional tradesmen never cut corners when it comes to their craft. However, these days it takes more than just technical skill to win business, with consumers becoming increasingly savvy and cautious about who they bring in to work on their homes.

To find out how you measure up, take our checklist challenge and see how many of the below points you can tick off.

1. Industry accreditation

We surveyed 2000 UK consumers and found that, when looking for a tradesman, 55% will check to see whether you're registered with a recognised industry body. Having a seal of approval from an impartial authority like the National Federation of Builders, Guild of Master Craftsmen or Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, is a strong marker of confidence – and could give you the edge over a non-accredited rival.

2. Punctuality

Unsurprisingly, poor timekeeping is a big turn-off for the nation's consumers, with 39% of those we asked reporting frustration that tradesmen don't return calls when promised.

However, while a third complained that tradesmen typically fail to turn up for pre-agreed appointments, a larger proportion (36%) disagreed with this view.

Good timekeeping is another sign of a trustworthy, professional tradesman and it’s clearly one that matters to customers. Keeping your calendar in check is another step towards keeping your customers satisfied.

3. References

What's the key to winning business? Our survey found that, aside from offering a fair price, being able to show positive references is another crucial factor. Just under half of consumers will ask for references from previous customers when choosing a tradesman, while 78% of people rely heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations to make a decision.

4. Photography

It may be a bit of a cliché, but a picture really is worth a thousand words – at least when it comes any kind of home improvement project. Thanks to smartphones, taking quality, high-resolution photographs of projects is now easier than ever, and showing evidence of your work is a key way to win trust. Our survey found that 40% of consumers will check for images of a trader’s completed work, with just over a quarter of 25-34 year olds paying a visit to a tradesperson's social media channels. With that in mind, posting pictures of projects on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram could be a handy way to drive business.

5. Presentation

Customers seek reassurance that the trader they've hired is competent, trustworthy and qualified to do the job, so scruffiness is a definite no-no. First impressions inevitably count for a lot, and over half of Brits asked in a recent poll by Helly Hansen Workwear said that a professional appearance was a key factor in choosing the right person. A clean uniform and generally 'tidy' look is more important than you might think.

A spokesman from Helly Hansen commented: “When it comes to placing our trust in a tradesman, we need to see a professional appearance, polite etiquette and disciplined attitude in order to have faith we've picked the right person.”

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and for tradesmen it seems impressions count for a lot. A professional appearance could let your customer know they’ve picked the right tradesperson for the job.

7. Behaviour

When asked about whether tradesmen typically swear on the job, over 40% of our respondents disagreed, and only 23% confirmed this was their experience. The older the customer, the more likely they were to consider tradesmen as polite and well-mannered, with more than half of over-65s stating this was the case. Conversely, younger consumers had a very different perception, with a third of 25-34 year olds agreeing that tradesmen typically swear.

When it comes to rude behaviour in general, a whopping 60% of consumers disagreed that tradesmen are rude. Once again, older customers were even more likely to hold this view, with almost three quarters of over-65s feeling that rude behaviour is not a problem with tradesmen.

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