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Are tradesmen unfairly stereotyped as ‘cowboys’?

1-minute read

Are tradesmen unfairly stereotyped as ‘cowboys’?
Bonny Dellow

Bonny Dellow

20 January 2016

Tradesmen are often stereotyped as cowboy builders, but is this reputation fair? Well, if recent research is to go by then most certainly not …

Lending a helping hand

From helping the elderly to working unpaid for those in need, the UK’s tradespeople – despite their reputation – are a helpful bunch it would seem.

More than 80 per cent of tradesmen frequently work for free for those in need, whilst 38 per cent have said that they reduced money from the final bill after feeling sorry for a customer.

The study, carried out by Axa, also highlighted the lengths they will go to – 70 per cent mentioned that if they see an elderly person struggling with errands, they’d help out after work.

Righting the wrongs

Whilst many professionals get the unwanted ‘cowboy builder’ tag, DIY enthusiasts are often praised for their resourcefulness. However, monumental mistakes – such as those featured in our top builder fails of 2015 – are inevitably common.

So common, in fact, that the average tradesman wastes 22 per cent of his week fixing the mistakes of others – that equates to a whopping 80 days per year!

Of the tradesmen surveyed, painters and decorators were found to be the most helpful of the bunch, with nine out of 10 regularly going beyond the call of duty.

Reputations die hard

Yet it seems helping those in need, fixing things for free and going the extra mile isn’t quite enough to shift the lingering perception.

The study found that over 60 per cent of the population think it’s fair to describe tradespeople as ‘cowboy builders’ or ‘rogue traders’. TV shows of the same names hardly help the stereotype, and both the public and tradesmen agreed they were at large fault for the prejudice.

The cowboy builder stereotype includes wolf whistling, swearing, and leaving houses a mess.

However, only six per cent admit to swearing in the presence of customers, two per cent confess to wolf whistling and 66 per cent consider cleaning up part of their job.

Have you ever been labelled a cowboy builder? Or have you experienced a rogue trader? Let us know below.

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