Homeowners losing confidence in British tradesmen

Published:  03 July, 2013

Homeowners are losing confidence in British tradesmen, according to a warning from TrustMark, the government-endorsed quality mark for firms in the home repair, maintenance and improvement sector.

It’s a concern for government too, which yesterday (2 July) launched its Industrial Strategy for Construction. The government says the reputation of the domestic sector is important to the success of the construction industry overall and its ability to attract bright young people into jobs in the industry.

TrustMark has commissioned new research into public perceptions of tradesmen. At first glance it seems that most people have a good impression – 71% of respondents felt their overall experience of using a tradesman was more positive than negative. When given a list of good and bad adjectives to describe tradesmen, the five most frequently used words were ‘skilled’, ‘hardworking’, ‘professional’, ‘helpful’ and ‘trustworthy’.

However, almost a quarter say they have had an overall negative experience with tradesmen, and more than half of all respondents (52.5%) felt their perception of tradesmen had become more negative because of the ‘cowboy builder’ TV programmes, which pursue the worst rogue traders and criminals masquerading as tradesmen in the domestic sector.

Liz Male, chairman of TrustMark, said: “The appalling activities of rogue traders are tarnishing the reputation of British tradesmen, and this must stop. The government has committed to help us extend the TrustMark scheme so that far more good local firms can get the TrustMark badge. We will be working with these firms, as well as government and industry and consumer advice groups, to boost customers’ confidence in the many excellent tradesmen in the sector.”

Key findings from TrustMark’s poll reveal:

  • One in five people would encourage friends or family to get a job in the sector only if there was more recognition of good quality and skilled tradesmen
  • Forty-three percent of people agreed with the statement “Many tradesmen do a good job – there are some great firms out there”, but 50% of people also said they were not confident about the level of consumer protection available to them when they employ a tradesman to work on their homes
  • Almost 94% of people would have more confidence and trust in tradesmen if they had undergone a full vetting and inspection process to ensure their work met an industry standard – exactly the safeguards which TrustMark provides.

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