Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 66 total)
  • Your tradesman's image – how important is it to you as a customer?
  • So, it’s time to invest in some new kit again – clothing, tee-shirts, work trousers, etc.

    I’m wondering whether to just get the stuff I normally get or whether to get my logo on some tee-shirts, jackets etc. A lot of you folk get “a guy” in to do jobs for you around the house – so when he comes, how important is it that he has some kind of image…you know what I mean, his company name on the breast of a polo shirt…that kind of thing.

    Is a sign-written van a must? I’m always a bit uneasy about having my name and number down the side of a van – don’t know why and could be convinced that it is actually the right thing to do.

    For those of you who don’t know, my business is timber flooring – and without blowing my own trumpet, it’s slightly at the higher end of the market, so no laminates and a lot of parquet flooring. I don’t get my business through advertising (been there, wasted money on that) but get recommended by either a shop that sells it, past customers or another flooring company that uses me for the more complex stuff that their guys can’t manage. I’m, for the most part, a one-man band so it’s just me, myself and I on site.

    I know it’s important for bigger companies (e.g. British Gas, Virgin Media, Sky etc) to have their guys dressed in corporate kit, but how important is it for you as a customer to have a “specialist” in to do something – does it make a difference? I’ve often had a sneaking suspicion that it’s just a bandwagon that everybody’s jumped onto that doesn’t make a difference.

    It’s a serious question (though I am fully expecting the usual piss-ripping replies too) 🙂 so just canvassing opinions from the hive before I go ordering stuff.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    some sort of ‘uniform’ is a plus – you know (think) you’re getting someone employed by the company, not a contractor.

    discrete signwriting on van door, again, you know who it is then.

    of course all this might be an issue if you’re being subcontracted by another company and they’ve not let on it’s not them doing the work…

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    For most folk I know the important things are:

    – turn up on time
    – do what you said you were going to do, by when you said you were going to do it, for the price you said it was going to cost
    – if any of the above can’t happen then tell them ASAP and be honest
    – leave the place tidy

    As long as your dressed appropriately for the work then logo’d tops don’t get a look in next to customer service.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    I am always impressed when the tradespeople I have out to give quotes look and communicate in a professional manner. I agree that bigger companies need the labelled gear, but I can’t say that I have noticed it on the individuals I have hired.

    Vehicles can make a differecne, though. Young men in rusty white vans tend to send me looking elsewhere. Seriously.

    EDIT: And what thepurist said.

    if you’re known for skill rather than price then image is not as important in my humble opinion.

    i’d like some floor please, how much for a floor?

    Young men in rusty white vans tend to send me looking elsewhere. Seriously.

    🙂

    I have a shiny black Berlingo – new shape, only a few years old.

    – turn up on time
    – do what you said you were going to do, by when you said you were going to do it, for the price you said it was going to cost
    – if any of the above can’t happen then tell them ASAP and be honest
    – leave the place tidy

    These things I try and do as a minimum – under-promise, over-deliver and all that 😉

    actually dont worry, i dont want to feel like i’ve been responsible for your heated mirror extravagance!

    I have a shiny black Berlingo – new shape, only a few years old.

    oh how the other half live?!?!!

    Quite out there for a van – and it only bloody well DOES have heated wing mirrors 😀

    alfabus
    Member

    Where are you based deadly? I’m going to be looking to get our living room, dining room and hallway done soon in Cheltenham

    Too far away for you?

    Dave

    edit: don’t mind if you don’t wear a uniform, just be good at fitting flooring and don’t nick my bikes.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Doesn’t bother me one bit, but the “pro workwear” Dickies, Snickers etc seems to be becoming the norm. Usually the embroidered polo shirt logo is all you need to keep it smartish and corporate if that’s what you’re aiming for. Unless you have a secure compound for the van, stealth seems the sensible option with so much tool theft.

    Premier Icon mintimperial
    Subscriber

    When a properly stickered-up van pulls up outside it definitely makes me think I’ve got a professional in rather than some random cowboy. Not always the case, of course, but I think it’s often an indicator that the person whose name is on the side is someone who gives a toss about their reputation. Can understand the reasons not to as well, though.

    Not sure I’m that bothered about uniform and that, I tend to associate uniforms with big corporations, which makes me think ‘Oh god I’m going to have to talk to a call-centre and fill in paperwork’.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    The newness of the van is an interesting one though..

    Crap battered van = someone that doesn’t give a toss about their van probably won’t give a toss about the quality of the job they do OR they do a good job at a good rate so don’t make a lot of profit to splash out on fancy non-essentials

    Nice van = hard grafter with a professional outlook that knows the importance of a professional image and demonstrates he’s willing to invest in his business OR cowboy type that does a half-assed job and rips pensioners off and makes so much money he may as well spend a fraction of it on a shiny van (and it helps to dupe people into believing he’s professional

    project
    Member

    Well ive got a nice van, decent tools, a hoover to clean upp after us, dust sheets, no markings on van, the insurance company i use want allow it as it asks to be broken into say they.Jeans trainers and a tshirt, always clean and tidy,written estimates and receipts.

    a fellow workmans van parked near by, numerous catalogues and paper all over the dash, scruffy dirty van, loads of bashes and dents,parked awkwardly in car park,materials scattered around, seriously bald tyre.

    Another workman nearby, logo on his t shirt, and overalls, always clean,chatty , freindly, proffesional,nice tools, etc.

    Which ones would you employ.

    how much for 1 whole square foot of posh flooring? (thinking of buying a flat in london and getting it completely re-done you see)

    Spangley new sign written van, smart gear and a average job ‘v’ average van/ presentation but top class job? I know which one I’d go for!

    Word of mouth and quality of work is much more important in my opinion. Couldn’t care less if you looked like a tramp as long as I get, and I am happy with what I paid for.

    xiphon
    Member

    In a previous job, as a lowly field engineer, I requested that we had a basic uniform for all engineers.

    Smart trousers, light blue cotton shirt (and polo neck ones for the summer) with our company logo on the breast pocket.

    Many clients (including those been around the longest) said it was a substantial improvement, and made the company appear much bigger (read: successful) than it was….

    Interesting so far – I like the idea of a guy having a reasonably smart van – if I see some souped up transporter that costs around £30K, then I start to worry a bit. Old rust-bucket – definitely worrying.

    Having said that, I know guys who drive great vans and do a shit job, and vice versa. But it’s interesting to get opinions as it’s prospective clients what matter, not what I think.

    oh look, tsy is here to be all misygomathingy 🙄

    *reports to mods for not replying to my textsomething or whatever*

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    Small company logo on a polo shirt, general neat and tidy appearance, taking workbooks off when going into a home to give a quote ect can all add up to an air of professionalism.
    There was something on the bbc website recently about how a range of faces graduating from Caucasian to African were judged differently (as white or black) depending on how they were dressed. There are little cultural things that are learned rightly or wrongly that shape our image of people we meet, of course most stw’ers will claim they are not affected.

    Smart trousers, light blue cotton shirt (and polo neck ones for the summer) with our company logo on the breast pocket.

    Many clients (including those been around the longest) said it was a substantial improvement, and made the company appear much bigger (read: successful) than it was….

    I would echo this. A smart apperance and company name on the tops gives a good impression but don’t think you need a company logo on the side of the van espcially if you mainly get jobs through word of mouth.

    Merely pointing out how sexist the term ‘Tradesman’ is!

    Best go have a look at my phone, eh?

    I do carry disposable shoecovers for looking at jobs in case I’m on the way home – it would just embarrass everyone if I took my boots off. 🙂

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    What thepurist and saxonrider said re. communication and reliability.

    Now I think about it, the tradesmen I recommmend to others do tend to be neat and tidy and drive clean but not swanky vans though – so that may have impressed me.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    . I don’t get my business through advertising (been there, wasted money on that) but get recommended by either a shop that sells it, past customers or another flooring company that uses me for the more complex stuff that their guys can’t manage. I’m, for the most part, a one-man band so it’s just me, myself and I on site.

    Everything you do is marketing, but if the majority of your work is by word of mouth recommendation and you are busy enough then it makes no sense to spend on logod uniform and a sign written van.
    Personal recommendations mean that you do need to make a good impression once on the job though – and part of that is looking the part.

    Van needs to be smart but not flash.

    why not get yourself a wood panelled van?

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Subscriber

    Clean van and a clean set of work clothes.

    I have not used a bloke before because he turned up to do a quote looking like he’s been in a food fight.

    BTW, I’ve just remembered that you once saved my life.
    Thanks again.

    jonba
    Member

    We had a load of work done on our house when we moved in. IT was something around 30k.

    We went with the company that we felt most comforable with. They weren’t the cheapest. They were, however, professional, curteous, honest and punctual.

    I think you should have your name on the van and on the “uniform”. It gives the impression you are proud of your company and want people to associate you with it. It also suggests that you directly employ whoever is doing the work and haven’t subbed it out to someone you met in the pub. The unmarked van, guy in a T-shirt with only a mobile number gives the impression he has something to hide.

    A few other things that we noticed/liked. Proper addresses and phone numbers. Not Dave on a mobile number who can disappear half way through the work. People who don’t suck their teeth and say how expensive everything is going to be. We knew 15 hardwood sash windows was not going to be cheap but what we wanted was a proper quote and suggestions on ways to save money or get batter value.

    We also liked honest straight talking advice. I don’t know what I’m doing on a building site but I’m not stupid so explain it to me in a way I can understand. If you try and impress/confuse me with jargon you are not going to make me think you are an expert. Someone who is really good can explain it to someone who knows nothing in a way they understand.

    What thepurist said…..but you’re often not to know that before they’ve done at least one job for you, so, what I look for when someone turns up for a quote….

    – Discrete logos/corporate clothing, clean etc presents the right image
    – Turn up when they say they will
    – When noting stuff down for the quote, put it on company paper or in a job book AND BRING A F**KING PEN/PENCIL WITH YOU. YOU KNOW YOU’LL NEED ONE – DON’T ASK ME FOR ONE!!!
    – Actually take measurements/ask questions/discuss requirements in a language other than grunts that our chimp ancestors would recognise.
    – If you say I will get the quote by Wednesday make sure I get it by then – or communicate that fact so I’m not hanging.
    – Be prepared to field Q’s about the quote and be prepared to revise it.

    Just my tuppance worth….

    @ alfabus, sorry mate, missed your post. I’m based in Bristol, but travel as far as Cheltenham. email in profile.

    phil.w
    Member

    Everything you do is marketing, but if the majority of your work is by word of mouth recommendation and you are busy enough then it makes no sense to spend on logod uniform and a sign written van.

    True, except a simple print on a van costs so little the only reason not to is if it bumps insurance up massively or your van is a heap.

    Premier Icon hels
    Subscriber

    Sounds like your customers have money and taste, so whatever you do keep it low key and tasteful, if a van can by definition possess those qualities.

    And don’t get the van logo’d up if you drive like a knobend, or you will get rude phone calls.

    jackthedog
    Member

    The newness of the van is an interesting one though..

    Crap battered van = someone that doesn’t give a toss about their van probably won’t give a toss about the quality of the job they do OR they do a good job at a good rate so don’t make a lot of profit to splash out on fancy non-essentials

    Nice van = hard grafter with a professional outlook that knows the importance of a professional image and demonstrates he’s willing to invest in his business OR cowboy type that does a half-assed job and rips pensioners off and makes so much money he may as well spend a fraction of it on a shiny van (and it helps to dupe people into believing he’s professional

    Basically, a shiny new van is either good or bad, where as an old battered van is either good or bad.

    For what it’s worth, at the really high end of the market I often think branding can detract from what you do. Real skilled people don’t need a corporate image to do the talking – their work should do that.

    If you look smart and do a good job, that’s all the corporate image a good sole trader needs.

    LOL Harry! I remember that – didn’t realise it was you.

    @deadly – hmmmm….. based in Bristol you say….. interesting….. <makes note of email for future flooring needs>….

    khani
    Member

    As above, tidy van (inside and out). Be on time, or at least tell me your not coming, proper tools (not B an Q value type stuff)
    And don’t leave it in a shit tip even if it takes more than a day = happy me 😀
    Not that bothered about clothes tbh, as long as your wearing some that’s fine…
    I have found, a constant supply of tea and coffee and sausages to anyone working here are worth their weight in goodwill and cooperation though,

    Premier Icon stumpy01
    Subscriber

    A lot has been covered, but my tuppence worth:

    – the vehicle is an important one. Too skanky and it looks unprofessional, too blinged up and it looks a bit naff. I would have thought that some subtle details on the side of it wouldn’t go amiss, although there are the comments about increased risk of theft to take into account.
    – uniform. If a few logo’d polo-shirts can be done cheaply enough, then why not? It does put across a more professional air and the impression of perhaps a bigger company than a one man band.
    – headed paper for quotes & decent business cards also give a professional air.
    – do you have any simple leaflets/flyers that you could staple to quotes with a couple of photo’s on. Just something something visual that will remind the potential customer & make the quote stand out in a drawer full of bills & takeaway menus?

    None of that of course covers the obvious professionalism already mentioned about quoting on time & contacting people if there are delays etc. Most people can handle a delay, so long as they are informed of it.
    We had a bloke come round to quote for a kitchen re-skin when we were looking to sell our old house. He was recommended via a good friend & spent ages taking measurements and giving suggestions/alternative ideas. He said as our kitchen was quite old he’d have to do some digging about to find doors etc. that fitted, but he would get back to us.
    He never did. I suspect it was too much leg work for too little reward. But, if he’d have been straight and said that, we wouldn’t have minded. Now we’ve moved and when it comes time to re-do the kitchen we definitely won’t be looking him up.

    tyke
    Member

    I would echo most of the above suggestions. When I’m looking for somebody then I’m interesed in who’s done work local to me. So if I see a van with a tradesman’s details on it parked up outside a house in the neighbourhood I will tend to take a note of it, or more likely take a photo with my phone.

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Member

    I think it’s worth mentioning to the punters that the insurance co. has said no name and number on the van, I’d never heard that before. I say it because I’d be wary of a tradesman with only a mobile number. But you’d hand out a card with your details on, any way.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    *disappointed*

    thought this was going to be a thread about darcy bleaching his ringpiece 🙁

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 66 total)

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