As a whole, tradespeople are hardworking and honest, from plasterers and painters to gas engineers and electricians. They all have a skill and simply want to do their jobs with no hassle. Regrettably, there are several common misconceptions about tradespeople that taint the industry.
Leaving people untrusting of those working in the industry and leading to judgement and stereotyping.
So, what are these common misconceptions?
All Tradespeople Are Cowboys
Unfortunately, as is often the case, a few people can ruin it for everyone. According to Consumer Rights Expert, there are at least 100,000 complaints about cowboy builders each year.
There’s no denying that there are cowboy builders out there that aren’t qualified or skilled enough to complete the jobs they undertake. This results in them leaving people with unfinished work on their properties, or worse, dangerous work.
That said, they are in the minority, they just get more publicity than the good ones. There are thousands of professional, honest and qualified tradespeople out there. For instance, there are currently over 140,000 registered gas engineers and more than 76,000 businesses on the Gas Safe Register alone.
When people see, read or hear things about rogue traders, it can be hard for them to trust tradespeople. That’s why it’s important that tradespeople show off their work, qualifications and expertise, providing peace of mind for customers.
When you enter ‘why are tradesmen so expensive?’ on a search engine, over five million results will appear. But are tradespeople expensive? Or is this just another one of the common misconceptions?
Tradespeople have to earn a living. It’s also important to remember that to complete that job, they’ve trained and been gaining experience and knowledge for years.
Take into account material costs and the time that is taken to travel and buy them, transport and fuel to the job itself, and labour costs. Not to mention the extra time spent writing up invoices and doing other paperwork. There’s a lot more to being a tradesperson than people might first think.
According to Tradesman Saver, the average daily rates in the trades are as follows:*
- Carpenters: £120 – £150
- Bricklayer: £155
- Labourer: £100 – £160
- Electricians: £150 – £200
- Plumbers: £150 – £200
- Builders: £120 – £200
- Gardeners: £90 – £160
*This is just an average, and prices do vary depending on location and how skilled/experienced a tradesperson is.
They Don’t Clean Up After Themselves
On-site and amongst those in the trades, there are some rumours going around about electricians. More specifically, that electricians aren’t very tidy.
This, of course, isn’t strictly true. In every trade, there are those who clean up after themselves and those who don’t. Those who don’t, luckily, are in the minority, and a bugbear of other tradespeople and customers alike.
In fact, On The Tools found that for tradespeople, the second most annoying thing about the other trades is those who don’t clean up after themselves.
So, when looking to hire a tradesperson, customers can be safe in the knowledge that the vast majority are tidy.
If you’re a tradesperson, make sure you swill your mug out, sweep up any dust and wipe the surfaces at the end of each day. You’ll probably find it increases your chances of a good review and recommendations.
Tradespeople Are Uneducated
The term working class is defined as “the social group consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work.” (Source: Oxford) So naturally, many people in the trades industry are from a working-class background. The problem comes with the stereotypes that surround working-class people.
Working-class people are depicted as less educated than those of middle or high-class through TV and other media forms.
Stephanie Lawler, a British sociologist, found that media representations of working-class communities tend to focus on what the homes lack. Not just in terms of material items but “a lack of ‘taste,’ knowledge’, and the ‘right ways of being and doing, (Source: QZ).
So, with working-class people being viewed as uneducated, and tradespeople being mainly from working-class backgrounds, the misconception that tradespeople are uneducated continues.
This, in fact, couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether you’re working as an electrician or builder, carpenter or welder, you have to train and learn a lot to become a professional.
Though trades roles may not necessarily require attending university, it’s important to remember that going to university isn’t the only signifier of intelligence and/or skill. The likes of gas engineers and electricians train for years to become qualified. And after that, they continue to go through on-site training, written and practical exams, to update their knowledge and skills.
Is University the be-all and end-all? Find out more in University Vs. Vocational Training.
Laziness isn’t a trait of a tradesperson, laziness is the sign of a cowboy tradesperson.
Many tradespeople join the trade at a young age, following in the footsteps of a parent. Others first go into another industry before deciding they’re actually better suited to a more manual role. Some enter the trades at an older age, pursuing the career they’ve always wanted. Though their start points may be different, what they all have in common is the passion they have for their job.
A survey carried out by Ironmongery Direct. found that 72% of tradespeople surveyed were happy or very happy in their current role. 70% would recommend their jobs to others. And, it says a lot that plumbers have been named as the happiest workers in Britain.
The work tradespeople do isn’t completed in half a day with the other half spent skiving off. Tradespeople put a lot of time and effort into their work. You’ll often find them working late in order to get a job finished for a customer and a large percentage offer a 24/7 emergency call-out service to help those in urgent situations.
They’re Bad at Time-Keeping
Everyone has days when they’re a little late. Alarms fail to go off and traffic during rush hour is unavoidable.
According to a study by the Heathrow Express, an average of 590,000 workers in the UK show up late every day.
Perpetual lateness, however? Not ok.
Thankfully, the vast majority of tradespeople have great time-keeping skills, and why wouldn’t they? They have a diary to keep. If they turn up late to one job, it’s only going to delay the start of another job. Therefore, putting them at a backlog and under a lot of pressure, with the only way to rectify it being to cancel jobs or work late.
Again, this is just another one of the common misconceptions about tradespeople that persist due to a small number of people.
They Don’t Do Small Jobs
Plenty of tradespeople do prefer getting stuck into big projects, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, smaller jobs are exactly the kind of work they want.
Those small jobs are perfect for when they have a day or two free. A plasterer may well be capable of rendering a whole property, but they’ll still be more than happy to plaster a box bedroom or porch.
You’ll often come across a common line on many tradespeoples’ websites and other forms of advertising. ‘No job too big or too small’. And it’s true.
Common Misconceptions About Tradespeople
It’s important that customers know what to look out for when hiring a tradesperson in order to avoid cowboys. It is also important to remember that the number of honest, hard-working tradespeople vastly outweighs the number of cowboys.