The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically whether the main barrier to the growth of the household services sector is household disposable income. Reporting case study evidence from a study of 511 households in lower- and higher-income neighbourhoods in English urban areas, it is revealed that economic constraints account for less than half of the instances where formal services were not used. A large proportion of tasks is instead undertaken on an informal basis for reasons associated with the standardization, quality, ease and reliability of formal service delivery. The paper thus concludes by discussing how formal businesses could tackle these barriers to the expansion of the household services sector.
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