Word Of Mouth Recommendations Cost Brits Up To £13.6 Billion | Checkatrade
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Blind faith in word-of-mouth recommendations cost Brits up to £13.6 billion

With 1 in 4 UK adults intending to carry out home improvement work this August bank holiday weekend, new research from Checkatrade reveals that Brits are £13.6 billion out of pocket due to not checking up on word of mouth (WOM) recommendations.

The study of 2,000 adults1 found 49% of Brits have been left disappointed by only trusting a WOM recommendation with restaurant (13%), hairdressing (9%) and plumbing (8%) services the most common WOM fails.

Fast Facts

  • Word of mouth fail: 49% have fallen victim to a poor word of mouth recommendation
  • Negative reviews: Restaurant suggestions, hairdresser tips and plumber services are the most common word-of-mouth recommendations ending badly
  • In those we trust: Friends (44%) and partners (32%) are who we listen to most and yet, 30% admit to not doing further checks of reviews online
  • 5* advice: Checkatrade launches hiring advice guide to help remove the stress of finding a verified tradesperson

Word of mouth suggestions

With 84% using a WOM recommendation, we trust suggestions made by friends (44%) and our partner (32%) most with booking a restaurant (48%) and watching a new movie or play (46%) among the most successful.

And with 38% of people trusting a WOM recommendation to hire a tradesperson, a worrying 30% admit to not doing further checks of reviews online potentially putting them at risk of hiring a rogue trade.

To help showcase the steps people should take when hiring a trade whether that be via WOM or using a directory, Checkatrade has produced a hiring advice guide. The guide encourages people to always do a follow up check on any recommendations given.

When things go wrong

While WOM recommendations can be helpful in finding a tradesperson, there are times when a suggestion can go wrong. As a result, just over a quarter will hire a professional to redo the work (26%), fix the issue themselves (25%) or pay more to have the work re-done (23%).

20% of us will complain to others behind closed doors, and 1 in 10 have even lost a friendship or relationship with the person who provided the initial recommendation.

Checkatrade’s top tips on hiring a reputable tradesperson:

  1. Start with a clear plan for your project: This helps when speaking to tradespeople. It gives them a picture of what you are looking for, allowing them to advise you and quote accurately
  2. Do some research before making contact: Check their profiles on social media and their business website; check reviews – on social media, Trustpilot or Checkatrade; check references – ask to speak with recent customers; check work in real life – ask to visit a home where work was recently completed and, check face-to-face – meet in person and get a feel for them
  3. Use Checkatrade to check your shortlist: You don’t have to contact a tradesperson through Checkatrade, but it’s always worth checking up on who you’re bringing into your home to work

Mark Bowden, Interim CEO at Checkatrade comments, “With almost a quarter of people set to be doing home improvement work this August Bank Holiday, we want to ensure they don’t get caught out by a word-of-mouth (WOM) fail. While WOM recommendations can be great, it’s important for homeowners to take the time to check a tradesperson’s portfolio, reviews, ask for references, proof of qualifications and to source up to three quotes.

At Checkatrade, we do a lot of the hard work for you. We have produced a hiring advice guide to showcase the steps you should take when finding a trade plus the extra measures people should also follow when it comes to getting the paperwork right from the start.’’

Tradespeople on Checkatrade have all been verified and passed up to 12 rigorous checks. Those who don’t meet the Checkatrade Standard during their membership are removed, and when you contact a trade through Checkatrade, our guarantee could cover you for up to 12 months. You can claim up to £1,000. Exclusions and T&Cs apply.

Word of mouth fails


Notes to Editors:
¹Research conducted by Opinium on behalf of Checkatrade. Total sample size was 2,000 nationally representative UK adults. Survey conducted online between 11th and 15th August 2023.

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