A water leak, the lights go out, a tile falls off the roof. In these situations you may well know the ideal person or company to make repairs. Generally this is someone you have dealt with for years or they may have been recommended by friends or family. If you are one of those lucky people, then things will get fixed, but what if you need assistance and you have to go the other route and find your own tradesmen: where and how do you find someone dependable? You may decide to have three quotes and pick the one that sounds the best, but how reliable is that?
As a landscaping company we unfortunately come across people who have been victims of unscrupulous traders. We are in an industry that is largely unregulated which, for a potential client looking for an honest trader, makes the selection process a challenging one. Traditionally, landscaping was referred to as a ‘tramp’s trade’ – those of us who are trained professionals seek to remove some of the so-called ‘cowboys’.
How do you find someone that is trustworthy, knowledgeable and good value for money?
Trawling through the Yellow Pages, searching online for a flashy website, accepting the offer of new tarmac for your drive from a guy knocking on your door? These really aren’t your best choices. The selection process for any form of tradesman in any industry needs to be far more rigorous.
With this in mind we developed an A5 information card titled ‘How to choose a landscaper’ which details all the questions and criteria customers should be considering when seeking to use somebody’s services. We give these cards to prospective clients so they have the information ready to hand to ask the next company we’re trying to compete with. We have found that this also acts as a great marketing tool. We handed them out at two of our local garden centres, where we received good feedback and several very good leads.
This type of idea can easily be transferred to other trades and professions. Only those with dubious trading standards need to be wary!
I’d be interested to hear if any other business owners have done anything like this.