Almost two-thirds of British people are hanging on to negative stereotypes about tradespeople, according to Checkatrade.
In response, Checkatrade has started a public campaign called #RespectYourTrades, which aims to combat stereotypes and provide a place for people to share positive experiences with tradespeople.
The online directory has also launched a YouTube video of tradespeople reading and reacting to mean tweets. The tweets included: “Tradesmen are just useless and unreliable and I hate them all”, “Are all ‘tradespeople’ just full of sh*t or what?” and “To all tradespeople – just buy a cowboy hat and a horse – at least that way I’ll be able to spot you”.
The tradespeople who took part in the video were: Daniel Khanlarpour, a gas engineer from Newcastle; Mark Williams, an electrician from Cardiff; Anne Duncan, an electrician from Chessington, and Lesley Kamara, a decorator from Southampton.
Checkatrade surveyed more than 2,000 people, as well as looking at most common search results from Google to try to determine what are the most common stereotypes of tradespeople.
More than one in 10 (14%) of British people admitted to stereotyping tradespeople based on their profession. Almost half (44%) of people believe that ‘cowboy builders’ are common. Other misconceptions include ‘too expensive’ (28%), ‘unreliable’ (23%) and ‘rip-off merchants’ (19%).
Most surprisingly, one in 10 (11%) would use the word ‘unskilled’ to describe tradespeople and 6% would say that tradespeople are uneducated.
Despite all these assumptions and stereotypes, 85% admitted their experiences of tradespeople had been positive, with 14% saying their experience exceeded expectations. More than a quarter (29%) have needed a tradesperson within the past six months. According to Checkatrade’s own data, only 2% of tradespeople have their workmanship score less than a nine out of 10.
Mike Fairman, chief executive of Checkatrade, said: “Our members’ livelihoods depend on their great reputations. Over the past few months, they’ve been building new hospitals, keeping communities connected, offering key workers discounts and are now helping people up and down the country with their home improvements and repairs, so it’s sad to hear so many are still struggling to shake off stereotypes.
“Each and every one of our members has been through 12 background checks and have proudly signed up to uphold our standards of honesty, transparency and professionalism. We hope that our campaign prompts people to have confidence in the expertise good tradespeople offer, to better understand the variable nature of their work, to recognise the pride our members take in making spaces safe, secure and smile-inducing and to give them the respect that they deserve.”
Julian Perryman and Chris Frediani, described as Britain’s best-known builder and plasterer, are both backing the Checkatrade campaign. They said: “Like all walks of life, there’s no getting around the fact that there are a few bad apples out there, but that’s why it’s so important to stick to reputable, vetted tradespeople.
“Our industry has been plagued by prejudices for decades, but the trades we come across everyday are incredibly hard-working, skilled and committed to doing a good job. With so many currently in people’s homes doing great repair and renovation work, now feels like a good time to ask people to reassess their value.”