Big Plumber is Watching You: Brits Keeping Tabs on Their Tradesmen

May 21, 2013, 13:49 ET from HomeServe

WALSALL, England, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  • One in 50 Brits has set up a hidden camera to monitor a tradesman
  • 44% say TV programmes have altered how they view plumbers and engineers
  • But just 30% ask for qualifications and accreditation when they hire someone

Nearly 100,000 Britons have set up a hidden camera to keep tabs on potentially troublesome tradesman, thanks in part to the influence of rogue trader TV programmes and a lack of understanding of what they should look for in hired help.[1]

Figures from HomeServe, the home emergency specialists, find that one in 50 Brits (2%) has set up a hidden camera to monitor a tradesman left in their home - and a further 6% admit that they have considered it.

But it seems that television programmes like Rogue Traders are colouring people's perceptions, with 44% saying they have changed how they view tradesmen as a result of such shows and 46% that they would not let someone work in their home unattended.

And the often unfavourable impression given by TV is compounded by the public's lack of understanding of what to look for in reputable tradesmen.

The HomeServe research found that the most widely-known accreditation is CORGI, which 81% of people would look for - yet this has been defunct for four years.

And although more than one in two have heard of its replacement, the Gas Safe Register (53%), a fifth (19%) believe they have heard of the Plumbing Standards Agency and one in seven (13%) British Licensed Electricians - despite both being invented for the purposes of the research.

Indeed, more people would ask to see the defunct CORGI accreditation (49%) than the Gas Safe Register (36%) and only three in 10 homeowners (30%) admit that they do ask for proof of qualifications or accreditation.

This lack of knowledge perhaps explains why more than one  in 10 (12%) admit they have used an unaccredited tradesman in last 12 months alone and why, even in the 21st century, Britons are still reliant on word of mouth, with a personal referral (45%) the most common way to find a tradesman, ahead of an online search (24%).

HomeServe Membership CEO Jonathan King said: "Thankfully, rogue traders are rare. But letting a tradesman into your home nevertheless takes a great deal of trust. The main thing you need to be able to trust is that they are able to get the job done efficiently and safely, as you put the wellbeing of your family in their hands, particularly in an emergency.

"In the 20 years that we've been around, we've wanted to make sure that householders can find reliable tradesmen. To that end, all HomeServe engineers are well-trained and vetted and their work backed by a guarantee, so customers can have peace of mind."

Nearly a quarter of people claim to have had a run in with a rogue trader in the last three years (23%), while 10% have called someone out and then realised that they didn't know what they were doing.    

Notes to editors:

All research conducted online by Canadean Consumer on behalf of HomeServe, February 2013 among a representative sample of 2,005 UK adults.

[1] There are 48,844,900 adults in the UK, of whom 2% have set up a hidden camera to monitor a tradesman while out of the house. Therefore 48,844,900 x 0.02 = 976,898

About HomeServe

With over 2,700 directly employed and sub-contracted engineers, HomeServe is a national emergency home repair service backed by a 24 hour claims handling and repair network.

HomeServe's new tradesmen service provides households with access vetted tradesmen who are qualified to carry out hundreds of different jobs around the home.

Homeserve also offers insurance cover for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Sheen on +44(0)20-7861-3013 /

SOURCE HomeServe