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British public put off tradespeople who neglect vehicles

A new study has revealed that 9 out of 10 clients believe tradespeople should take more care in the appearance of their commercial vehicles.

Lex Autolease, a research company focusing on client attitudes to different companies, has shown that an overwhelming 90% of people are less than impressed with the care and attention paid by tradespeople towards their vans and cars.

Responses also suggested up to 63% of customers have been put off re-hiring a perfectly good trader because his vehicle was in a poor condition and showed signs of neglect.

The data produced by Lex Autolease, canvassed 2000 people in the survey. And the findings appeared to show that a large proportion of British tradespeople were underestimating the importance of first impressions when it comes to client retention and customer satisfaction. Now tradesmen are being told to clean up their vans or risk losing customers to rival businesses.

Vehicles said to be in a ‘condition of repair’ was the factor most likely to put off customers and prevent them from getting in touch next time they had a problem. The survey found 40% of respondents would not consider going back to a company if their vehicles were in disrepair, even if they were satisfied with the service they provided because they associated it with poor service and the possibility of being ripped off.

Similarly, words such as ‘poor service’ and ‘ripped off’ were used in conjunction with tradespeople driving vans that did not include clear signage or livery – shedding an unprofessional light on otherwise competent companies.

Cleanliness was revealed to be another major factor in the report, with 26% of respondents saying this was an important factor when choosing to call out a contractor. Again, unclean vans were associated with poor service and inconsiderate drivers.

Interestingly, cleaner vans were closely linked to customer perceptions of how experienced the tradesperson was – with 38% of answers indicating they thought cleaner vans would be owned by more experienced tradespeople.

Geography also came into the results. East Anglia respondents had particularly strong views on cleanliness of vehicles owned by tradespeople, as 71% said they would think again before rehiring such trade people.

Tony Murtagh, head of SME Direct at Lex Autolease, said: ‘Repeat custom is absolutely vital to the success of any business, but it appears that many SMEs could be falling at the first hurdle and putting off consumers before they even start a job.’

Continuing, he said: ‘Trade vans act as “calling cards” and play an important role in forming people’s first impressions of a business. Our research shows that the British public are quite discerning. They will draw conclusions on the quality of a business’ goods and services by the condition of its vans.’

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