Asda and Tesco could be set to go head-to-head again as both consider launching a network of tradesmen to cash in on consumers' fears over cowboy workmen.
The service would include a directory of maintenance services, such as plumbers and electricians, which would be guaranteed by the supermarkets, removing the worry of bad workmanship and rip-off merchants.
The move would be a logical next step for the supermarkets following the creation of an estate agency service. Asda confirmed last week that it would be the first to launch its in-store and online estate agency, while Tesco is yet to set a date for its venture (The Grocer, April 29, p5).
Asda financial services director Gev Lynott told The Grocer that it had been looking at what such a service would entail, as one of the key problems for new homeowners was trying to find good tradesmen. "It would be great if Asda could set up this sort of network. We'd need to make sure the people we used always did a good job, so it would be tricky. But why not?"
Lynott's comments echo those of Tesco's then marketing director, Tim Mason, last year. He revealed that Tesco had been looking at offering a similar household maintenance service, which would capitalise on the trust people had in the Tesco brand (The Grocer, September 10, 2005, p6).
John Giazzi, development manager for the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors, said the move would be welcomed by the industry. "We're right behind anything that helps improve quality of work and stamp out rogue traders."