The building and landscaping industry is still battling against consumer concerns about rogue tradesmen, according to a recent survey by Bradstone Assured.

In a poll of 2,000 homeowners, nearly three quarters said they felt anxious when dealing with workmen they haven’t met before, and 60% thought it was difficult to find an honest tradesman.

The main concerns focused on whether a job would be finished in time, being charged more than the original quote and fears that their builder would go out of business before the job was complete.

However, the poll revealed that consumers are not taking the simple steps that could protect them from the unscrupulous minority within the industry. Less than a third of people check for professional credentials, only one in four take up references and 70% don’t even know the surname of the person they have employed.

When asked how they would go about finding a builder or landscaper, 72% said they would ask for recommendations from friends, over a third searched online and 35% said they would go through a professionally accredited scheme.

Professional branding, a good website and offering references up-front were the things most likely to reassure consumers, along with a professional and polite manner.

The research was carried out by Bradstone to raise awareness of its Bradstone Assured scheme, which puts consumers in touch with a national network of landscapers that have been approved by the company after meeting strict professional criteria.

Homeowners can search online for landscapers in their area, view their profile and ratings from previous customers and see examples of completed jobs. Bradstone Assured members benefit from an online profile, through which customers can contact them direct and access marketing and sales support, distinctive branded work wear and an Assured Points loyalty scheme.

A Bond Pay scheme, whereby money is held securely by a third party and released in stages, also offers peace of mind to both homeowners and landscapers.

Bradstone Assured spokesman Mike Leeming commented: “Our research suggests that falling foul of rogue traders is still a real concern for homeowners. One in 10 even admitted to attempting work they weren’t capable of rather than risk bringing someone in.

“Our aim is to work with landscapers to get the message out to consumers that the vast majority of those in the industry are trustworthy and provide a quality service. Schemes such as Bradstone Assured help to change perceptions for the better, enabling consumers to make an informed choice by making the necessary checks for them.”

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