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Can you trust approved tradesman directories?

The Internet is flooded with companies offering you access to ‘recommend and approved’ tradesmen.  Almost all of these companies are an online business and some now even sponsor popular property and DIY programs on TV.

Manufacturer Repairs wanted to give you an insight into these types of business and explain how they operate.

How do they work?

These online sites normally operate in 2 ways, they will advertise tradesman through a tradesmen directory, giving you instant access, or they get you to ‘post a job’ and then the tradesman will contact you.

If you ‘post a job’ then you’ll be contact by around 4 tradesmen offering their services to you. You can read their reviews by previous customers and chose the quote that best suits you.

What’s in it for them?

They make their money in various ways. If it’s a tradesmen directory then they normally charge the tradesmen an annual fee to be listed. Under the ‘post a job’ facility the company would charge the tradesmen a fee it each customer lead it provides them and normally a percentage of the total job fee.

If I’m a tradesman should I join?

Some approved tradesman businesses offer a trail period giving you opportunity to test their services. We would say look at the fine print because you will pay for the lead, even if the customer declines your quote. If you’re new to the site it make be difficult to generate business because you have no online reviews. This may result in you having to under cut your competitors quote in order to get business to gain reviews.

Are the tradesmen’s reviews real?

Well, we have our own opinion on this one. It’s impossible for the some companies to monitor all tradesmen reviews posted online by customers, meaning they could open to fraud. We visited two of the largest sites and picked 4 tradesmen at random and attempted to post a fake review. To our horror they posted that review on to a tradesman’s profile. If this is the case, what’s stopping a rogue trader joining one of these sites and posting their own fake reviews? We past our evidence to the ASA and they upheld our complaint and forced these sites to remove wording like ‘real customer reviews’. In the past series of Watchdog they unearthed a rogue trader, even though they had positive reviews of a large national approved tradesmen directory website.

Our conclusion

We are not saying that you can’t trust these types of companies, just be on your guard. Some sites are easy to use and if your enquiry is not an emergency then the ‘post a job’ facility may be an easier option for you. If you have a burst pipe then you may not want to wait for a tradesman to contact you.

Manufacturer Repairs is the UK’s leading boiler specialist. We feel our company is the answer to the UK’s rogue trader problem. We achieve this by only offering fixed price boiler repairs. A fixed price boiler repair removes the tradesman’s cash incentive to charge and replace unnecessary parts.