The immediacy of consumer expectations and rise of an “I want it now” culture is putting householders at risk of dangerous and sub-standard work, according to new research from the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC).
The research found that over 50% of 2,000 householders questioned would only be prepared to wait for two weeks for the start of a major home improvement before looking for another tradesperson with more availability – potentially sacrificing quality for a job done quickly.
Following reports of APHC members missing out on jobs due to consumers not wanting to delay, the new findings show that only 12% of the people surveyed would be willing to wait more than four weeks for a major non-urgent project or improvement, such as a new bathroom or boiler upgrade, to begin.
Despite these being considerable financial investments, the on-demand nature of consumers’ decision-making is also showing an increase in members called out to fix sub-standard work as customer patience is being exploited by rogue traders prepared to cut corners, turn a blind eye to Building Regulations or leave work unfinished.
The APHC was alarmed that 38% of people questioned said they would not be concerned or question why a tradesman had immediate capacity to start a major project. As with many services, professional and reliable traders are often in high demand due to the quality and reputation they have established with a healthy pipeline of jobs booked in.
In addition, they allow realistic timeframes dedicated to each job to avoid juggling projects. In some cases, immediate availability should ring alarm bells with consumers of this being due to sub-standard work, a bad reputation or unrealistic pricing to complete the work. A further 24% were unsure if they should be concerned about the lack of demand.
John Thompson, chief executive of the APHC, said: “Our members have, over time, seen a definite shift in the expectations of consumers who make a decision and want the finished product as soon as possible rather than prioritising the longer term view of an excellent job, carried out by a qualified expert. We’re familiar with the saying ‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur’ – in this case waiting time can also impact upon costs.”