We’ve all heard horror stories about cowboy tradesmen butchering jobs and scamming clients. Customers are all too aware of the risks of being ripped off, so when it’s time for them to look for a tradesman like yourself, one of the first things they’ll do is try and suss out whether you’re legit.
Whether you’re a carpenter, builder or plumber, trustworthiness is the trick of the trade. You have to convince clients you’re reliable if you want to secure work. And even if you’re as honest as they come, telling your customers you’ll do a good job just won’t cut it — they need to see the evidence.
The first step to proving you’re trustworthy is to secure insurance. No matter what kind of tradesman you are, having cover will definitely help put customers at ease — and protect your business too. We offer tailored insurance policies for over 200 trades here at Tradesman Saver.
But beyond that, there are lots of other ways to show you’re worth hiring. Follow these foolproof tips to get your clients on board.
Go above and beyond
Ensuring every job is carried out safely and professionally to high standards is a given. No one wants a bodged bathroom renovation or dodgy plumbing work. But the key thing is going above and beyond what is expected of you as a tradesman. This will show your clients that you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep them happy, making you appear more trustworthy.
Prior to carrying out a job, you could ring the client for a quick natter. Remind them of your scheduled visit, any safety precautions, and just have a general chit-chat about the work. This shows you care about more than just the job itself. Then once you’re at the client’s home, try to anticipate their needs. For instance, often customers ask for little extra favours around the house, like moving furniture. You have no obligation to do such things but it will earn you extra brownie points. And at the end of the job, remember to always tidy up and leave the house looking exactly how it was when you arrived, with no dust, paint, or exposed wires. This extra effort can go a long way and customers will be more likely to work with you again.
Make a positive impression
Your client’s first impression of you could be the difference between securing a job or losing it. Being friendly, polite, and easy to chat to is important, but so is your appearance. Customers may be less than impressed if a scruffy-looking tradesman turns up at their door. We know, we know — these jobs are messy at the best of times. That said, arriving at a client’s home covered in paint and dust isn’t the best look, so always try to tidy yourself up between jobs. Another thing to consider is the cleanliness of your van and equipment. While clients might not see these up close, it looks professional on your part if they’re spotless.
Have a professional online presence
Almost everyone is online nowadays, and most tradesmen benefit from a website. Consumers tend to look at a business’s site before engaging with its services, so perhaps consider setting one up if you haven’t already. And remember, it will only take a couple of seconds for a user to decide whether they want to work with you. Make sure your website is functional and professionally-designed to show off your portfolio, generate more leads, and establish your livelihood as a trustworthy business.
Social media can be just as important as a website — a whopping 71% of homeowners use Facebook to find tradesmen. You can upload photos of your work and share customer reviews to help paint your business in a good light. However, it’s not enough to just have a social media profile. You need to be regularly posting to show you are available and well-established (frequently uploading photos of your work can show customers you’re actually in action). What’s more, social media is a great place to showcase the people behind your business and help the company come across as more human. This is a brilliant way to form even better relationships with clients and create a trustworthy image.
Ask your clients to leave reviews
A study by Vanarama found that 70% of people rely on positive word of mouth to help them choose a tradesman. This is evidently a very powerful marketing tool, so it’s essential you encourage clients to rave about your services to help you secure future work. While some will give you a review of their own accord, others may need to be prompted. The best way to go about this is simply by asking them whether they’re happy with your work, and if they are, would they mind leaving a review. This could be on your website, social media channels, or through a traders review site like Checkatrade or Rated People — whatever you prefer to use. It’s okay to ask for a review, and there’s no need to feel cheeky about doing so. The worst thing that can happen is a customer saying no, so always remember: nothing ventured, nothing gained. We have some more tips for collecting reviews here.
Don’t be too disheartened if not every review is glowing. While you should take criticism as an opportunity to improve your services, negative comments can actually benefit your brand. 68% of consumers trust reviews more if there’s a mixture of positive and negative ones, with all-positive profiles looking a bit suspicious.
Display your credentials
Customers are likely to check your credentials before booking a job with you as it gives them peace of mind that you’re accredited and insured to carry out your work. Display this information on your website and be prepared to prove it when meeting with your customer. This includes sharing proof of any organisations you’re a member of such as the National Federation of Builders, as well as your qualifications and insurance (especially your public liability policy). Doing so will immediately make you appear more credible and reliable, and therefore a customer is more likely to place their trust in you.