By: John Devlin
While there are plenty of great tools like out there to help you find customers and clients, what is the best tradesman website for traders to find new leads?
We’ve been there.
We know only too well that any tradesman business is going to rely on customer word of mouth and strong reviews.
After all, anyone searching for a plumbing or electrician business online is going to want to avoid the slew of cowboy builders and services which, sadly, are still operating.
That’s why sites such as My Builder and Checkatrade are so popular. However, what’s not always easy is knowing which service or site is going to be best for you as a tradesman.
Finding reliable, regular leads, traffic and business from paying customers takes genuine effort.
In this guide, we’re going to be taking a look at the best tradesmen directory sites available for UK traders right now.
We’ll look at fees, benefits and feature services you can expect from the major players.
We’ll also consider why customer reviews and feedback are so critical to your success when it comes to getting jobs ahead of those annoying rogue traders.
Whether you’re a builder, a joiner or a plumber, there’s a good chance you’ve come across trade recommendation sites before.
When you become a member of any of these sites, homeowners and potential customers will be able to find your profile, read other customer reviews and get the confidence they need to call you and book in.
There are four main websites offering this type of service. You may have seen one of them pop up online or on TV ads before.
If you’re thinking of becoming a member of a trade listings and ratings service, be sure to keep reading, as we’re going to review each of these four sites one by one a bit further down.
What inspires a browser to use these sites?
Customers use an online trader service or site to find genuine tradesmen and businesses based on reputation, qualifications and customer experience. However, there are more than a few differences between Checkatrade and the other big website operators out there.
It’s all well and good for an average customer to look for cheap job quotes on building work or home maintenance. However, consumers want to look for a trade expert who can guarantee them a job well done. They want to know they can expect to call on someone with full insurance, and to call on someone who won’t let them down at the last minute.
These tradesman websites do really well in search and capture lots of customers.
Instead of potentially throwing money behind rogue traders that most people will want to avoid, they can simply fill in a quick search form and look for the best tradesmen in their area based on customer reviews, years in service and reputation. It’s easy to see accreditations, contact information and more.
Many tradesmen websites also require builders and businesses to pass a thorough background check and interviewing process, too. This means that all the businesses and tradesmen customers find through these sites have been thoroughly vetted.
These sites help homeowners and other customers find the best rated tradesmen – not just the lowest bidders. There are, of course, a raft of benefits for genuine tradesmen, too, when it comes to building job leads and getting regular business time after time.
Most of the best quality tradesperson websites on the internet will require businesses to jump through a few hoops before they can become full members. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s worth it!
For example, a business may have to fill in a form and agree to a few things before they even pay a fee. This may include agreeing to a credit check, offering full trading history details and insurance proof. The list may vary from job site to job site.
Once a business or tradesman is accepted to a site and charges clear, they will have their own online work profile in a directory. This means that customers and leads will be able to find them via Google as well as through a specialist form via the company listing website.
Customers and visitors will be able to see a list of top rated tradesmen in their area after a quick search. It’s a great advertising opportunity for local company owners, as it means you can show off your years of experience, as well as which trades you are specialised in, and relevant qualifications you may have, too.
How each of these sites operates varies, though whether there is a subscription model or not, the aim is always the same. These sites aim to increase trader leads, and to ensure that everyday customers can search for and contact genuine businesses with provable expertise and support.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the four main choices and online features available for company owners and tradespeople to take advantage of right now:
Checkatrade remains one of the best-known UK company directory websites. This may be thanks to their fantastic TV and radio advertising, however, word of mouth has gone a long way to help boost their profile since 1998.
The way Checkatrade operates is to ensure that all of their tradespeople are verifiable and run honest companies. Checkatrade supports one of the most stringent membership interview processes online. This is a good thing, as it means that cowboys have no way of hoodwinking their way into the website.
Local companies and tradespeople can then find work by putting up a full listing for the jobs they offer in terms of home improvement, building or otherwise. Customers can then leave full, honest reviews under your name.
Checkatrade annual costs for tradesmen users will vary depending on the work you do – in categories such as plumbing and carpentry.
As of the time of writing, you can expect to clear between £69.99 and £119.99 monthly, before VAT.
This means the minimum cost you can expect to invest each year is £839.88 plus VAT. For many tradesmen looking for regular job connections and detailed profiles, it’s good value.
You are paying for a large audience scope as well as extensive job listing support. However, as always, it’s worth looking at the competition to see if there is better value for your needs elsewhere.
Rated People works a little bit differently to Checkatrade. Like Checkatrade, tradesmen will pay for job listings on their site, however, unlike Checkatrade, you pay for leads in credits. More about how it works for tradespeople here.
This means that Rated People expects tradesmen to top up their account and to appeal to connections and potential connections who may approach you through the website. This means you have to really refine how you approach customers on the site!
It’s a little bit different to how other websites connect tradesmen with customers. However, it appears to pick up lots of great reviews. One of the big pros for this method of job generation lies in the fact that you can directly compete with rival services. It is an active form of bidding for job leads, rather than passively leaving one or more job listings up on a website.
Another win win for many tradesmen using the Rated People site is the shortlist fee structure. It’s very affordable from as little as £35 plus VAT each month.
However, you will also need to pay for each lead, which generally prices up at around £15 plus VAT, which you’ll pay for in terms of credit on the website.
One of the biggest selling points of this buying process, according to Rated People, is the fact that you will compete for a connection with up to two other companies per project. This means it’s pretty easy to get your name out there.
TrustaTrader tends to feel a little more like an exclusive club for tradesmen than some of the other business services out there. As with services such as Checkatrade, you’ll need to pass a stringent review and application process for membership. What’s more, there’s no public information on fees when it comes to their listing services. However, there are lots of reasons why you should consider Trustatrader time and again.
Your average tradesman, according to Trustpilot reviews, feels the process to be worth the wait, and worth the relative mystery. Trust a Trader offers a raft of services to help tradesmen and smaller companies find genuine work in their area. In fact, they offer extensive support in the shape of tradesmen app tie-ins, and even card payments directly through their website. There’s lots of ways to find the best links.
One of the main focuses of Trust a Trader is the customer experience. In fact, it’s their central focus. They want to list UK business owners and traders who abide by trading standards to the letter, who have relevant public liability insurance, and who have provable customer service standards, trade experience and expertise.
Therefore, none of the searches customers make via Trust a Trader should ever be wasted. If you are a growing name in your trade and have nothing to hide, Trust a Trader could be one of the most rewarding trade recommendation sites for regular jobs.
My Builder is the last of the ‘big four’ tradesmen listing websites, but that doesn’t mean they are last on the list of advertising and marketing quality.
As the name suggests My Builder tends to focus on building, though there’s a lot of scope for other traders. One of the most appealing points of this platform is the fact that their fees model tends to be one of the most attractive to traders.
You can set up with My Builder free of charge, and you can also get in touch with consumers directly without needing to pay for connections up front. This means that you can offer services and quotes without having to part with money.
What’s more, you will only ever need to clear small amounts of money once you start exchanging contact details. This side of the scheme is all well and good, but if you are running a company in need of regular, guaranteed work, you may find a different tradesperson website service to give you a bigger safety net. That said, this kind of system and website will likely be of use to many people on either side of jobs.
We live in the age of the app, and therefore, it’s not surprising the big sites we’ve looked at offer programs and downloadables which you can use to reach out to consumers for discussion.
The Checkatrade app is generally well rated by tradesmen as it offers a simple interface. You can easily look at new reviews and profile views, as well as for response to callback requests.
The Rated People app is a little similar in that it is easy to use, but this program mainly offers up a number of listings and postings in a style you might expect to find through a hotel finder app or similar. This isn’t a bad thing at all, but it might be a case of appealing to certain tastes.
The My Builder Leads app tends to be a solid choice amongst tradesmen and customers looking for services. It’s got a firm positive verdict on the Apple app store, and it’s one of the quickest and most convenient to use when it comes to shortcutting to conversations with customers. You’ll also find that there are simple shortcuts for quote requests as well as customisable push notifications.
The pros outweigh the cons when it comes to signing up to a number of different sites. After all, the more you put your business’ name out there, the more connections you will potentially convert on. The more posts the better, honestly.
However, as there is a fair share of different sites and resources for tradesmen out there, it makes sense to try and start with one or two scheme or service platforms before you go whole hog and post on absolutely everything going!
Quality may be better than quantity in some cases.
It’s worth remembering that consumers will use more than just the odd vetting or feedback platform to ask questions or find the right person with the right skills.
As always, customers will continue to use different types of social media and platform to rate tradesmen. They’ll also use community groups on Facebook, for example, to share complaint details and to discuss any kind of problem they might have with local services.
You’ll also find that customers will discuss problem services through platforms as diverse as Trustpilot, Google My Business and more besides. Anywhere that customers can leave reviews and feedback, they will.
This all has an impact, of course, on your company SEO, regardless of the platforms consumers use to rate you. It’s important to keep in mind that anywhere reviews can be left for you – you’ll find honest opinions.
Therefore, as well as using a service such as Mybuilder or Trustatrader, you’ll always need to check the social media scene and make sure your customers are happy from platform to platform. Google, in fact, is likely to be the first place customers will find you and look for answers to questions – before they find something as advanced as a tradesman website!
The shortlist of tradesman websites we’ve set up for you here have plenty of benefits. Your needs may differ to another trader’s needs – meaning it’s worth looking at all types of trade website, considering cost/price, vetting, strength of profiles, etc. There are also likely to be others in addition to what we review above, such as Trustmark.
Consider this your first step in highlighting your trade skills online – check the factors, the costs and the reviews for each of the sites we’ve reviewed here. The right tradesman website will depend on what you’re looking for from the perfect connections!
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