When the general public think of tradespeople, they still picture a scruffy worker who turns up late and rips people off, according to Charlie Mullins.
The Pimlico Plumbers owner knows a thing or two about trades, having grown his firm into the largest independent plumbing business in London.
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Tradesman stereotypes persist
Mullins’ thoughts are backed up by statistics - an incredible nine out of 10 people fear hiring a tradesman, with concerns over bodge jobs and the price of the work.
“In general the perception of a lot of tradespeople is still scruffy, dirty old van, ‘he’s gonna rip me off,’” says Mullins.
And Mullins’ list of stereotypes goes on: “He always turns up late, he’s not transparent, never finishes a job, doesn’t leave the job clean and tidy, keeps going backwards and forwards…”
The Pimlico Plumbers chief has made it his mission to change these perceptions, after witnessing customer complaints first-hand as an apprentice:
“When I started out in ‘79 as Pimlico Plumbers, my idea was to change the stigma - or the image - of what people think of a plumber.
“I was an apprentice and I kept hearing customers complain about ‘oh the plumber before, this is what he’s done.’ So I thought rather than have that, I’ll just do it the right way.
“There’s nothing clever about turning up on time, with a uniform, a nice van, being transparent, getting the job done. You know - you’re in someone’s house.”
Are the stereotypes unfair?
If you’re to believe what tradesmen say, the lingering stereotypes are harsh.
A study earlier this year revealed the lengths tradespeople go to help customers, the elderly and those in need.
Over 80 per cent of tradesmen said they regularly do free work for those who need it, while 70 per cent said that they’d happily help an elderly person struggling with errands.
It seems many are also happy to help out financially, with 38 per cent of tradespeople saying they’ve felt sorry for a customer and reduced money from the bill.