A quarter of UK tradespeople now allow customers to pay for work in instalments, as a way of helping homeowners afford renovations throughout the cost-of-living crisis.
New research by IronmongeryDirect surveyed tradespeople across the nation and found that almost two in five (39%) have been asked about payment plans in recent months.
Younger workers are leading the trend and are more than twice as likely to accept staggered payments as the older generations. A third of millennial (25-34) tradespeople allow instalments (33%), compared to just 14% of over 55s.
Certain trades are also more likely than others to offer such schemes. More than two-thirds (67%) of roofers allow their clients to pay on finance, ahead of bricklayers (57%) and locksmiths (50%).
The UK tradespeople most likely to offer payment plans to customers are:
Payment plans offer advantages to both tradespeople and customers – more than a fifth (21%) of workers think they’d help attract more business – but precautions need to be taken to ensure financial security.
To help tradespeople who are thinking of allowing staggered payments, IronmongeryDirect has partnered with Rick Smith, Managing Director at Forbes Burton, to share advice on how to stay protected.
1) Financial feasibility: “Tradespeople should assess the financial viability of offering payment plans and ensure that it won’t negatively impact the business’ cash flow.”
2) Legal compliance: “The payment plan needs to be compliant with all applicable laws and regulations, including consumer protection laws, truth-in-lending laws, and debt collection laws, as well as considering if the offering falls under the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority.”
3) Terms and conditions: “Ensure you define the terms and conditions of the payment plan, including the amount to be paid, the payment schedule, the interest rate (if any), and any late payment fees.”
4) Processing and tracking: “Establish a system for processing and tracking payments, including a method for monitoring income, handling delinquent accounts, and reporting to credit bureaus.”
5) Collection plans: “A good debt collection system is crucial. Make sure you can collect what you are owed and understand how to take things to court if necessary.”
Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, says, “The cost-of-living crisis means many Brits are more cautious about big money purchases, and that includes home improvements. As a result, tradespeople are having to adapt to maintain their workflow, and offering payment plans is one way of doing this.
“However, you should take extreme care if you decide to go down this route, as there is always the danger that you could miss out on the full amount, either due to awkward customers or simply through paperwork errors. That’s why we’ve partnered with Forbes Burton to create a thorough guide for those considering this option.”