December 6, 2021

Consumer anxiety over tradespeople costs UK economy £6bn

The UK economy is missing out on more than £6bn a year* in lost consumer spending for home improvements based on consumers’ anxiety around hiring shoddy tradespeople and ‘cowboy builders’.

New research released today by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) shows that one in five consumers with building or repair work required in their properties, find reasons to delay due to a number of anxieties about using tradespeople.

Almost a quarter fear the final cost will be much higher than the quote, while one in seven worry the work won’t be up to scratch. The research also shows that a third has had at least one bad experience with a tradesperson, citing issues such as poor quality of work, work not completed to the full specification and the tradesperson disappearing mid-job.

Despite these concerns, a quarter of consumers admit they don’t ask their tradesperson about their building industry credentials when booking a job and one in ten say they don’t know how to find a reputable builder.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive at the FMB, said: “The anxiety around hiring tradespeople is of grave concern to us, not simply in terms of the reputation of our industry, but also the pressing impact on small construction firms and the UK economy.”

“What many people don’t realise is that the building trade has moved with the times – there are some fantastic tradespeople out there, many of whom have high standards of customer service and the best in modern technology, from digital testimonials to full 3D imaging. We would also urge homeowners to seek tradespeople through reputable industry bodies to help protect themselves from rogue traders.”

The FMB offers advice to consumers via its ‘Find a Builder’ and ‘Check a Member’ services. The FMB is the UK’s largest trade association in the construction industry, offering a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members.

*Based on cost of work required at, on average, £4,000