Customers prefer to source a tradesperson through word of mouth recommendations rather than by responding to online advertising, according to research by WaterSafe.

The organisation found that 63% of customers choose a tradesperson through a recommendation from family or friends, while just 23% look online. Surprisingly, 22% still use the Yellow Pages or the phone book to find a tradesperson.

The research also found that one in five of those who hire a trader through a family member or friend would trust the person completely and not ask for proof of qualifications or accreditations. This is despite WaterSafe's estimates that rogue plumbers alone have cost the nation £2.6 billion in recent years.

Julie Spinks, director at WaterSafe, said: "While it is great to go with a tradesmen recommended by someone close to you, it's still not guaranteed that the job they have done is correct and, worse still, they may not even be qualified! However, regardless of whether they have done a good job in your friend or family member's home, consumers are still unaware that checking a professionals credentials is vital before any work is carried out. While experience is valuable, it's all about their professional qualifications and skills set. After all, each year we continue to see truly gifted, hardworking installers enter the industry – and their talent must not be overlooked because 'Joe Bloggs who did nan's sink was really nice'.

"We are urging consumers to look for the WaterSafe logo and ask about qualifications. All homeowners need to do is go to our website ( and type in their postcode to find several approved plumbing businesses in their local area."