Homeowners are losing confidence in British tradesmen, according to a warning from TrustMark, the government-endorsed quality mark for firms in the home repair, maintenance and improvement sector.

It’s a concern for government too, which launched its Industrial Strategy for Construction earlier this week. The government says the reputation of the domestic sector is important to the success of the construction industry overall and its ability to attract bright young people into jobs in the industry.

TrustMark has commissioned new research into public perceptions of tradesmen. At first glance it seems that most people have a good impression – 71% of respondents felt their overall experience of using a tradesman was more positive than negative. When given a list of good and bad adjectives to describe tradesmen, the five most frequently used words were ‘skilled’, ‘hardworking’, ‘professional’, ‘helpful’ and ‘trustworthy’.

However, almost a quarter say they have had an overall negative experience with tradesmen, and more than half of all respondents (52.5%) felt their perception of tradesmen had become more negative because of the ‘cowboy builder’ TV programmes, which pursue the worst rogue traders and criminals masquerading as tradesmen in the domestic sector.

Liz Male, chairman of TrustMark, said: “The appalling activities of rogue traders are tarnishing the reputation of British tradesmen, and this must stop. The government has committed to help us extend the TrustMark scheme so that far more good local firms can get the TrustMark badge. We will be working with these firms, as well as government and industry and consumer advice groups, to boost customers’ confidence in the many excellent tradesmen in the sector.”

Key findings from TrustMark’s poll reveal: