Homeowners are relying more and more on expert and/or vetted tradespeople for their home improvements projects, according to Government-endorsed scheme TrustMark and other champions of ‘reviewed’ tradespeople such as CheckaTrade and RatedPeople.
TrustMark for example has reported more than 8.1 million searches for local firms and expert tradespeople for home improvements and repairs from homeowners through its website and telephone helpline. This represented a 12% increase on 2014 and up a significant 55% from 2013.
Interior designers saw the biggest increase in demand since last year with bedroom specialists up 42% and kitchen specialists up 30%.Carpenters and joiners, followed by painters and decorators, also saw increased demand and there was a 29% increase in search results for registered electricians, a 21% increase for plumbers and heating engineers and similar demands for handymen via TrustMark.
TrustMark chief executive Simon Ayers said: “Homeowners are increasingly understanding the importance of only using professional firms to do their home improvements and repair work, particularly at a time when people are concerned about their finances. TrustMark provides homeowners with extra security, the reassurances they are looking for and the confidence that they are working with tradespeople who are the best in the business.”
TrustMark currently has a database of 13,000 individual firms in the UK and more than 21,000 licensed trades searchable on its database. By comparison, CheckaTrade, set up in 1998 by Kevin Byrne boasts some “19,992 recommended, vetted and monitored trades” and 2,186,363 reviews published so far via its service, which it backs up with a directory based website and printed and posted versions, with both companies taking up the void left in Yell.com’s wake, with Yell seemingly favouring online sales in its directory and complementary services such as web sites, PPC (pay per click) marketing as opposed to dealing with complaints and vetting both tradespeople and reviewers alike.
Worthiness of the Review Sites
Whilst its worth noting that TrustMark claims “Government endorsed standards”, and CheckaTrade is making headway in getting similar (official) approval or endorsement, first by working with Kent County Council and Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards TrustMark however offers an Escrow service that seems to offer homeowners the edge in protecting them against rogue and cowboy tradepeople.
If you have had bad experiences with tradespeople, would like to comment on TrustMark and CheckaTrade, both as a consumer or a Tradeperson, please feel free to comment below: