In today’s digital age, establishing a reputable presence in the trades industry has never been more crucial. One effective strategy to build your reputation, grow your business, and attract clients is by joining a tradesman recommendation site. These platforms provide customers with the ability to leave genuine reviews about your services, potentially leading to more job opportunities and growth for your business.
Tradesman recommendation sites serve a dual purpose. They help customers avoid unscrupulous builders and handymen while providing tradesmen with a platform to promote and expand their businesses. This symbiotic relationship can be a boon for legitimate and reputable businesses.
In this article, TradeSkills4U, the leading provider of electrician training in the UK, will explore and review the top tradesman recommendation sites. We’ll also look into key differences between sites that charge tradespeople an annual fee for vetting and listing and those that generate revenue by selling leads. Additionally, we’ll incorporate insights and reviews on Rated People and Bark.com, two additional players in the field.
Checkatrade: The pioneer in trade recommendations
Checkatrade stands as one of the original trade recommendation websites, predating the mainstream adoption of the internet in the late 1990s. Its inception was a response to a destructive tornado that hit Selsey on the South Coast of England in January 1998. Rogue traders swarmed the area, leaving a trail of shoddy repairs and financial losses in their wake. In a bid to counter this problem, Kevin Byrne initiated the ‘Scout’ printed directory, which later transitioned into an online platform.
Understanding Checkatrade’s origins is essential, as it underscores its commitment to consumer welfare and ethical business practices. This ethos continues to permeate the company, defining its reputation as a trustworthy platform for both consumers and tradespeople. Checkatrade’s revenue primarily comes from tradespeople who pay to undergo vetting and be listed on the website. Once registered, tradespeople do not face additional charges for leads generated through the platform.
Customers can browse the site, view profiles of tradespeople in their area, and request quotes. After the job’s completion, customers are encouraged to leave honest feedback, giving them leverage if the work does not meet their satisfaction.
One of Checkatrade’s significant draws for tradespeople is its consumer-focused approach. The company invests heavily in TV and radio advertising to attract customers to the website. This commitment to consumers indirectly benefits tradespeople by generating brand awareness and increasing customer inquiries. Many tradespeople have reported that simply being listed on Checkatrade is sufficient to keep them busy throughout the year.
Rated People: Putting tradespeople first
Rated People offers a different perspective compared to Checkatrade. Rather than focusing primarily on consumers, Rated People places the tradespeople at the forefront. This approach translates to a low monthly fee of £15, and tradesmen only pay for leads that align with their interests and availability. The platform carefully vets customers by gathering detailed information about the job, including specific details and budget constraints.
This model benefits tradespeople by allowing them to incur costs only when they encounter the right job, in the right location, at the right price. It also minimises the time spent on providing quotes to customers who may be contacting multiple companies, as only three tradespeople can purchase job details.
While Rated People serves tradespeople effectively, some consumers may find that the platform lacks the ability to search for and contact tradespeople based on feedback or reviews easily. However, Rated People does provide customers with access to tradespeople profiles, allowing them to review feedback from previous clients before making a hiring decision.
TrustATrader: A trustworthy companion for tradespeople
Similar to Checkatrade, TrustATrader emphasises the vetting of tradespeople and showcases their services online for consumers to explore. This platform is also consumer-focused and actively advertises on TV and radio to attract a broad customer base.
TrustATrader offers unique advantages for tradespeople that Checkatrade may consider adopting. It permits tradespeople to accept card payments without monthly fees, limits the number of memberships in each area to prevent excessive competition, and offers a text-a-trader service. These additional features make TrustATrader more appealing to tradespeople seeking to join a recommendation platform.
The website itself is well-designed, making it easy and intuitive for users to navigate.
MyBuilder: A challenger in the field
MyBuilder is often compared to Rated People, much like TrustATrader is to Checkatrade. It is a smaller player but offers a similar service. However, when it comes to vetting customers and jobs, MyBuilder is not as detailed as Rated People. For instance, customers are only required to fill out one form when posting a job.
While this simplicity may lead to a higher volume of job postings, tradespeople might find that the quality of leads varies. Notably, MyBuilder charges tradespeople based on the value of the job, which can be convenient, especially for those just starting out.
Bark.com: A broader spectrum of services
Bark.com is another player in the tradespeople recommendation space. It claims that buyers request 10,000 jobs every day through its website. However, it’s important to note that Bark covers nearly every type of professional service imaginable, not just building-related trades. This means that while the volume of job requests may seem substantial, the actual number of jobs relevant to your specific trade could be much smaller.
Bark is straightforward to set up and use, taking approximately ten minutes from their homepage to receiving leads. However, the ultimate success of these leads remains to be seen.
Bark doesn’t charge annual memberships or fixed fees. Instead, it employs a credit-based system. You can purchase credits at £1.10 each. When a customer needs a service like yours, they provide information to Bark, who then gather additional details through questions to help you provide an informed quote. Details of the customer’s requirements are then forwarded to you. To contact the customer with a quote, you exchange your credits for their contact information. According to Bark, most jobs cost between 1-20 credits, with the average falling around six or seven.
The question of whether Bark is worth it remains subjective. Reviews on TrustPilot indicate mixed opinions, with some tradespeople expressing satisfaction and others voicing concerns. Complaints often revolve around the qualification of leads and their cost.
On the positive side, using a platform like Bark prevents customers from finding you online and contacting you for quotes when your workload is already full. Instead, you can better manage your usage of the site and find new clients when it suits your availability.
Amazon Selling Services: The new contender
Amazon Selling Services is a relatively new entrant in the UK tradespeople recommendation scene. This platform allows tradespeople to offer their services to Amazon’s existing customers, with Amazon taking a percentage of the earnings.
Amazon’s stringent vetting and background checking process ensures that only qualified professionals are eligible to sell their services through the site. However, once approved, the process of acquiring work is incredibly straightforward. Most services are sold at fixed prices, eliminating the need for quoting and negotiations. Customers add the desired service to their cart, choose their preferred contractor based on reviews and feedback, and if you are selected, you accept the job and proceed with the work.
Amazon Selling Services is free to sign up for and use. Payment for services rendered is processed through Amazon, with a commission of 20% for jobs up to £1,000 and 15% for those exceeding that amount.
Is Amazon Selling Services worth it? The answer may depend on your experience and business goals. Some experienced tradespeople have expressed concerns about the 20% commission, which could affect the profitability of certain jobs. However, for newcomers to the industry, the absence of initial sign-up fees may make this platform an attractive option for securing initial customers and building a reputation.
In conclusion, when choosing a tradesman recommendation site, consider your specific needs, your location, and your budget. Each platform offers unique benefits and challenges. Thoroughly research the competition in your area and be prepared to deliver exceptional service to maintain a positive online image. These platforms offer a pathway to success in the trades, allowing you to showcase your skills and connect with clients in an increasingly digital world.
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