One of the solutions recently introduced to combat this dramatic decrease is the recently launched Homefit service where B&Q will provide customers with access to fully qualified and vetted local tradesmen at pre-agreed fixed prices, removing questions about working with unknown tradesmen.
A service that looks like B&Q will not employ these tradesmen but instead contract them in with the tradesmen having no allegiance or even commitment to B&Q meaning that customers could receive a poor service as tradesmen juggle their own jobs while having a serious commitment as they pursue a venture from a reputable retail giant.
At SES we have tried various trusted tradesmen schemes where we are vetted and have to pay for customer leads, we quickly opted out of all those schemes as a large proportion of customer leads we received had us competing against tradesmen who were under the VAT threshold and these schemes were also driven by a large percent of customers looking for rock bottom prices without considering customer service or value for money.
The Homefit scheme is not a 'Buy for Leads" Scheme but I still worry for both tradesmen and customers in this latest venture as in the very competitive trades game the big player here similar to supermarkets will have to keep their overall sell price low so tradesmen while under the supervision of a B&Q project manager will be looking to work at hourly or job rates which in turn could affect overall service provided by the tradesman as they look to carry out a job quickly and as cheaply as possible within the budget set by B&Q.
It's not a venture SES will be looking to get into, it may work out for some customers and tradesmen but it's one we are staying well clear of.