Fleet News

Van condition could make or break your business

A poll has revealed that over 90% of homeowners would not use tradesmen if their vehicles were in poor condition.

The van was viewed by the consumers as not merely a means of getting from A-to-B, but instead its appearance was a clear reflection of the tradesperson’s standard of work.

Becoming savvier to potential bad workmanship, 56% of those surveyed said they would consider a contractor who didn’t look after his/her own vehicle as unable of looking after their property. With a further 35% stating tradesmen with poorly maintained vehicles would be immediately viewed as ‘cowboys’ – a sobering thought when every contract counts for self-employed traders.

The main reason given in the research, undertaken by Hycote, was the feeling that a tradesperson that takes care of their vehicle will be capable of doing a better job.

Commenting on the findings, managing director of Hycote Mark Lyth said: “In the age of austerity all businesses are looking for cost-effective ways to save money. Neglecting, seemingly minor repairs, such as bumps and scratches, may be seen as a way to save much needed cash, but, as the research shows, it is these very things which could be costing you the job.

“Our research has revealed some interesting consumer views. Whilst the old adage that a business is built on word-of-mouth is still as relevant today as it was before the recession hit, it seems that a trade-based business can be brought to its knees by its four wheels. Instead of considering it as a simple method of mobility, tradesmen and women should be treating their vehicle with added care and attention – after all, their vehicle is one of the main marketing tools they have.”

The survey follows the recent automotive production figures by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) which revealed the majority of professionals are keeping their vehicles for longer – meaning more miles on the clock, bumped bodywork and consequently, less chance of securing vital contracts to keep small businesses afloat.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom; the survey also championed trades which are perceived as having spotless vehicles. A whopping 56% of the consumers cited electricians as owning the most professional vehicles, with plumbers closely following.

Over half (54%) identified the increasing use of silver and black vans as the most professional with white vans, the once staple choice for contractors, perceived as being the most unprofessional and incapable of doing a high standard of work.

Hycote carried out the research amongst 1,024 consumers to understand the impact of trades-peoples appearance on a homeowners’ decision to employ.

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