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To become a successful tradesman, it is imperative that you develop a good reputation. You want potential clients to choose your business over others. It can take quite some time to build a good reputation and once you have gained it, you need to work hard to maintain.

Many trades have a lot of competition; therefore, it is important to ensure that you stand out from the crowd. With the internet so easily available nowadays, many people check online for reviews and recommendations before making the important decision of which tradesmen to choose. Without promoting your business online and gaining recognition, many potential customers will not know of your existence. A good business website and presence on social media sites are vital. Ensure there are links to your social media pages on your website and vice versa.

Reviews

Traditionally, the majority of tradesmen would have developed their business through word-of-mouth referrals and printed advertising. In today’s society, online advertising and reviews are a huge part of developing a good reputation. It is estimated that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Make sure there is a space for reviews or testimonies on your website and social media pages and use them to your advantage. Ask customers to write a review for you and point out exactly where to write it – you could even have a sentence printed on the bottom of your receipt, reminding customers to leave a review. Take photographs of your work and add these to testimonies. Ask happy customers to share your business on their social media pages too. Remember, social media sites are free and extremely well used – use them to your advantage.

If someone does leave you a review, respond to it, thanking him or her for taking the time to do so. This shows that you appreciate their feedback but also gives you the opportunity to respond politely to any less positive comments. Always respond in a professional manner. Use any negative feedback constructively; take on board the comments to improve your future work. Do not be tempted to ask friends and family to complete ‘false’ reviews for you. Potential clients may be put off if they feel the review is not genuine. To help you to develop a good reputation and ensure you get positive reviews, you can take several simple steps.

Prompt Responses

Ensure to respond promptly and politely to any queries. Be friendly and polite. Where possible, respond to potential customers with a quote within 24 hours.

Be Punctual

Being on time or a few minutes early is essential. This helps to gain a client’s trust. Being a little late cannot always be helped – if this is the case, give your client a quick call to explain and apologise for the inconvenience. This gives a good impression.

Discuss the Job

Explain exactly what the job entails and what materials you will be using. Be as accurate as possible when quoting the cost of the work and when informing the client how long it will take. Once the job is underway, if you think it will cost more or take longer than originally anticipated, be honest and explain to the client as soon as possible. Let your client know in advance if part of the task is going to be particularly noisy or dirty. Ask the client if they have any questions.

Be Tidy

You should always keep the area in which you are working clean and tidy. Clear tools away when you are not using them. Respect your client’s space. When you have completed a job, clean up after yourself. Before leaving a job, ensure that your client is happy with how you have cleaned up.

Register with Referral Websites

Some local councils publish an online list of approved tradesmen within their region. Contact your local council to ask if they do this and if so, register with them. It may be worth spending a bit of money to register with trusted review sites that potential clients can use to search for trusted tradesmen. Some of the main ones are: · Checkatrade · TrustATrader · Which? Trusted Trader · Ratedpeople.com · MyBuilder.com These sites are also places where you can refer your clients to, to leave you feedback and reviews.

Join Trade Associations

Signing up with relevant trade associations can help to promote your business and build your reputation. Some associations are: · The National Federation of Builders · The Federation of Master Builders · Chartered Institute of Building · The Electrical Contractors Association · The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors There are many more you can sign up to, depending on your trade, to help boost your credibility.

When you are promoting yourself as a tradesman, consider all these factors. You have to earn trust and a good reputation, and then constantly work hard at keeping it.