Plumbers call for more support on managing customer services

• 50 per cent of plumbers believe their training should incorporate more guidance on customer services

• 45 per cent believe their training should incorporate guidance on handling and avoiding customer complaints

• WRAS urges plumbers to read WaterSafe’s advice and guidance on reducing customer issues

New research released today reveals that plumbers believe their current training courses could provide more guidance on customer service (50 per cent) and on handling/avoiding customer complaints (45 per cent).

The survey commissioned by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS) in collaboration with WaterSafe,questioned UK plumbers about training to understand any issues and how they could be improved.

The research also found that over the last 12 months, 38 per cent of plumbers have experienced a customer dispute about payment that resulted in a late or partial payment, or not being paid for their plumbing services.

38 percent of plumbers reported cash flow problems as a result of delayed or non-payments; this demonstrates the importance of delivering effective customer service and successfully managing complaints for a plumber’s livelihood.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of the plumbers surveyed had to resort to the small claims court to recover costs from a non-paying customer.

Plumbers surveyed reported that the main reasons for these disputes were customers not being able to afford the work (45 per cent), customers not expecting extra costs (20 per cent), customers believing that the some of the work was unnecessary (9 per cent) and experiencing problems after installation (5 percent).

According to the plumbers surveyed, the top five ways to avoid late payments are:

  1. Explaining any additional charges before extra work is done (63 per cent)
  2. Itemised quotes and invoices (56 per cent)
  3. Enforcing a late payment / added interest agreement (36 per cent)
  4. Insisting on a contract up front (26 per cent) 
  5. Being paid up front (20 per cent)

Although,some plumbers felt nothing could be done to prevent cowboy customers! (36 percent)

Julie Spinks, managing director of WRAS, said: “At WRAS we work hard to protect public health and encourage water efficiency. WRAS always advises that consumers employ suitably qualified plumbers, such as WaterSafe approved. These approved plumbers have been trained in water regulations to keep water safe. Plumber training is an important topic and WRAS was keen to ask our network of plumbers about their views on training to identify any areas for improvement.

“Based on our survey findings,it is clear that many plumbers believe that they would benefit from additional training on managing customer services effectively to avoid losing out on precious income. We are encouraging all plumbers to use WaterSafe’s document with simple advice and guidance to help them avoid any customer service issues.”

The WaterSafe guide can bedownloaded here:

Visit to find out how to become anapproved plumber.

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