Survey Suggests Lack of Trust for UK Builders

Data released by leading home improvement service marketplace Plentific.com indicates that less than half of us trust our builders!

The company posted the results of a survey, conducted by Opinium, which asked 2000 adults in the UK whether they thought members of certain professions were 'trustworthy'. According to the results, a mere 43% of us trust builders.

Interestingly enough, other tradesmen ranked high on the list: four of the top five spots on the list were taken by tradesmen, with gardeners coming in second with a score of 69%. Members of the police only just managed to top the table with 70%. 

Many homeowners put themselves at risk by asking to pay cash in hand, while others fail to establish any kind of paper trail with their Pros, which can make it much more difficult to hold them accountable.

While builders ranked relatively low, they were still better trusted than most white collar professions on the list. Only 33% of respondents said that they trusted bankers, while politicians scored a measly 13%!

Spokesperson for Plentific Stephen Jury said: "Lets face it, when you hire a tradesman, you want to be able to trust them. You want to feel safe in the knowledge that they’re verified, have the appropriate qualifications, positive reviews and the relevant insurance for the work they will carry out. All these things are what Plentific values, by giving homeowners details of who they are hiring and being protected by our guarantee."

One reason that builders have ranked so poorly could be their negative portrayal in the media. 'Cowboy builders' seem to appear in the news at least every other week, with more and more stories of customers being ripped off or homes being left in tatters. This has contributed to a highly negative stereotype that has left many potential customers feeling wary.

Incidentally, only 18% of respondents claimed to trust journalists.

Trust

In fact, it is fairly simple to avoid cowboy builders, provided that you know the proper steps to take when hiring a Pro. To ensure that you find a top notch builder, remember these simple steps:

  • Always check a Pro out before hiring them - Do they have a company website? Reviews from previous customers? A legitimate business address? Details on insurance, warranties or VAT?
  • Get an agreement in writing - Set up a contract with your builder to establish what you are getting for your money. A contract should also contain any warranties or guaranties that the tradesman has offered.
  • Ask about your Pro's qualifications - While qualifications are not necessarily required for many tradesmen to do their jobs, a legitimate Pro will have no trouble telling you how they learned their trade. It can be good to look up qualifications as well, as certain courses claim to teach trades but are not industry approved.
  • Never pay cash in hand - While it can be tempting to pay with cash in exchange for a lower price, this method of payment comes with several risks. Taking lower payments like this can allow cowboys to undercut legitimate tradesmen. Without making any kind of payment paper trail, it can also be much harder to hold cowboy builders accountable if you need to involve the authorities.