There is a question which keeps Leicester’s homeowners up at night, and that is, “Should I hire a painting contractor, or do it myself?”
Reputation Management for Tradespeople
They say your reputation precedes you. But what if that’s not a good thing?
For tradespeople, professional reputation is a serious business. This is because you probably rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and online searches for most of your customers, so a bad reputation can really make or break your business.
Are you a tradesman or woman worried about a less-than-great reputation, or just think yours could do with a bit of a boost? In this blog we’ll look at some proactive ways to help manage your reputation to help protect your business and ensure long-term success in your trade.
Time is money, so let’s get started.
What do we mean by reputation?
Your reputation is what most people believe to be true about you, and how people generally think or feel about you.
It can be good or not-so-good. Generally, tradesmen reputations, good or bad, are well-deserved, but sometimes a dodgy reputation can be based on a rogue employee or a general misunderstanding.
Why is reputation important for tradespeople?
As a self-employed tradesperson, your reputation is a precious resource. This is because you rely on it to secure business.
People love to share experiences, and if they’ve had a particularly bad one with a tradesperson, you’d better bet they’ll be putting your name on blast to their networks.
This is even more relevant in this digital age. Potential customers can look you up online in seconds and find out what other people are saying about you, your services, your conduct and even you as a person.
So, what can you do to make sure people’s impressions of you and your business is positive?
For starters, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Deliver quality work
This is probably the most important thing to remember as a tradesperson. To secure a solid professional reputation, you need to put in the work from the ground up. Building a good image is a slow and steady process and relies on you delivering great work to your customers, day in, day out.
Whatever your trade, you should deliver what you promised within the agreed timeframe where possible. Don’t cut corners and don’t leave the work area trashed when you’ve finished.
There are no short cuts to this one, and the buck ultimately stops with you here. However, if you’re anything like the tradespeople we know, you’ll take enormous pride in your work, and this will actually be the easy part of reputation management.
Step 2 – Have people skills
As a tradesperson, you’re the face of your business. If you’re well-presented, respectful and friendly to your customers, they’ll be more likely to refer you to friends and family.
So, don’t leave your people skills behind when you show up to a job. Remember, some people can be nervous about having tradespeople inside their home, so understanding the customer goes a long way.
For example, an elderly lady might want you to explain what you’re about to do before you do it, even if that’s just drilling a hole. Or someone working from home might appreciate a heads-up when you’re going to be breaking out the power tools in case it clashes with a meeting. If you’re working in a public facility, realise that you’re representing your business and act accordingly.
Step 3 – Hire the right people
If you’re one of the many tradespeople who works with apprentices, sub-contractors, or direct employees, you need to choose wisely. Your staff, even if you’re just hiring them for a short period, are a reflection of you and they have the power to bring disrepute to your business.
Being strict on-site is a must, and don’t let fooling around ever be at the expense of health and safety. Apprentices are earning money and learning a trade, they should be putting in 100% and basically doing whatever you, as their boss, tells them. (Within the limits of their job scope…. obviously).
At least you can relax if you’ve got good Public Liability Insurance and Employer’s Liability Insurance in place, so your business is protected in case someone working for you makes a serious error.
Step 4 – Mind your online presence
These days, most potential customers will probably find you through online channels. So, it goes without saying that your online presence should be a positive one.
If you’re new to social media, start with the basics. Make Facebook and Instagram business accounts, and post regularly about the services you offer. Check your inbox for message requests – this is where potential customers will contact you asking about your services.
Also, make sure you have a Business Page registered with Google (it’s free) so you can be found using Google searches, and your business will appear as an icon on Google Maps. Then, create profiles for your business on online review sites such as Yelp, TrustPilot and Checkatrade and ask your happy customers to leave you reviews. The more good reviews you get, the higher your overall rating, the more attractive your business will look and the more customers you will pull in.
Research has shown that even a one-star increase in your rating on sites like Yelp can result in up to 9% boost in revenue for your business.
If you receive any bad reviews, don’t be tempted to leave an angry reply. It might feel good in the moment, but remember other customers will see it and make a judgement about what it’s like to work with you.
Take feedback constructively, and sometimes the best thing to do is to swallow your pride and respond thanking them for their feedback and saying you’ll reach out privately to resolve it. This way, you can get a true idea of the issue, and wouldn’t you rather know if a customer is genuinely unhappy? They may also take down the review if you get it resolved, which is another bonus.
Step 5 – Be insured
Trust between yourself and the customer is so important in the trades industry. One thing customers like to see is a tradesperson who is fully insured, as it shows them you’re risk-averse and thinking about every eventuality.
Some types of tradesmen insurance, such as Employer’s Liability Insurance, are legal requirements. Other types, such as Professional Indemnity Insurance and Personal Accident Insurance, are just plain common sense and will help build your reputation as a trustworthy, smart tradesperson who isn’t going to take chances.
We hope you have found this blog useful. As you can see, from insurance for tradesmen to keeping online reviews in good shape, there is plenty you can do to ensure your reputation is the best in can possibly be.
Rhino Trade Insurance, the trade insurance experts, are always happy to chat about anything related to your trade insurance needs. We’re here six days a week on 0116 243 7904, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ping us a message via our webchat.