From a national skills shortage and lack of resources to unrealistic targets, tradespeople have long been suffering the consequences of the failing construction industry. Now, 'Cowboy Customers' are costing sole traders and SMEs in the sector thousands of pounds every year.
With more footage showing disputes between homeowners and tradespeople circulating social media, Fix Radio - the UK's only national radio station dedicated to tradespeople - revealed that close to a third (28%) of tradespeople agree that they have lost over £1000 due to clients not paying for the work they have done.
- 28% of tradespeople agree that they have lost over £1000 due to clients not paying for the work they have done
- Over 5 million Brits have requested a quote for a project from a tradesperson when they know they will not choose them- Over 2 million Brits have forgotten about an appointment and been out when the tradesperson has arrived at the agreed time
- Over 1 million Brits have unfairly criticised work done during a home improvement project in order to receive a discount- 1,743,000 Brits have delayed payment to a tradesperson in order to try to negotiate a lower price
- 27% of tradespeople agree that their business is on the cusp of collapse due to lack of guidance
To avoid becoming a 'Cowboy Customer', Clive Holland, broadcaster on Fix Radio, has outlined some common behaviours which homeowners should avoid:
Asking for quotes when you have no intention of hiring the tradesperson
"We found that over 5 million Brits have requested a quote for a project from a tradesperson without the intention to use them. While it’s wise to get a few quotes to make sure you’re going to be charged a fair price for work, make sure to communicate your intentions to not waste your time or the tradesperson's."
"For a householder forgetting an appointment is just a case of apologising and rearranging, whereas for a tradesperson, time is money, and that wasted time could’ve been spent doing another job. We calculated the average tradesperson spends around £140 on parking and congestion charges to carry out a job in the capital, and that's before they have even walked through the door."
"If you feel like a job hasn't been done properly, of course, you are in your right to complain to the tradesperson who’s done it. However, in some cases, householders made unfounded complaints so they can get some money off their bill. We have estimated over a million homeowners have unfairly criticised home improvement work in order to get a discount."
"Not only do tradespeople need to earn money to live, they need money to pay for materials they use and staff they employ, so if customers are late paying for completed work, it can cause a tradesperson major cashflow problems – particularly if it’s a hefty bill from a small business."
Requesting a lower price
"Everyone loves a bargain, but it’s a different story regarding paying someone for their time and skills. We found 1,743,000 Brits have delayed payment to a tradesperson in order to try to negotiate a lower price. With home improvement prices costing 40% more than they did two years ago, as a result of rising materials costs and chain supply delays, it's worth noting the quote from your tradesperson will be higher than usual."