Checkatrade Review: Is it Worth it for Tradespeople?

Checkatrade Review & Deep Dive

By: John Devlin

Lead Generation

Is Checkatrade the #1 Option for Tradies?

As a tradesperson, you might find it difficult to find the right customers from month to month.

Work can dry up every now and then, and the fact is, you can only ever rely on word of mouth so much.

Traditionally, this is what tradespeople thrived on.

However, things have changed.

Since the dawn of Yellow Pages, services such as Check A Trade (Checkatrade) have helped to bring people together.

On the flip side of things, customers can use directories online to find tradespeople who have been fully vetted, and who they know they can trust.

But is Checkatrade actually worth it? 

What’s in it for, say, the average builder and joiner looking to increase their workload?

In this Checkatrade review, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know, and why it might be the best alternative to Rated People out there right now.

What is Checkatrade?

Checkatrade is a one-stop-shop for listing your services as a tradesperson.

Whether you are: a builder, a gardener, a roofer, a plumber, a painter, an electrician or otherwise, it’s pretty easy to list yourself via the website.

Essentially, the Checkatrade mission is to help customers check a tradesperson to see whether or not they are well-rated.

If they have public liability insurance, and what they can offer to them as a tradesperson or company.

Again, it’s a bit like the Yellow Pages, or at least, where members of Checkatrade pay a fee to get listed and therefore appeal to the right people.

You may have seen similar services out there, too, such as Rated People.

Rated People is a directory website which, again, aims to give the point of view of the customers of experts across.

Checkatrade tends to get good reviews from the average tradesperson member, so we thought we’d dig a little bit deeper into what the service is actually like.

Do you have to pay anything per month to use Checkatrade?

Is it open to anyone?

Keep reading and you may well find the answer to your question below.

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Key Features of Checkatrade

You’re naturally going to want to know more about the features of Checkatrade before you sign up.

The Checkatrade website, right now, lets you register a business for free.

This may change in future, however, so make sure to keep an eye on the terms and conditions of the website before you go too far in.

Checkatrade more or less gives you what you need to grow your company online.

If you don’t have a website of your own or a Google listing, you might find the Checkatrade directory useful if you’re short on work.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key features available through Checkatrade right now:

  • Leaflet distribution – help to get the word out and about regarding your trade with physical flyers
  • Full company or tradesperson listing via the website
  • Marketing materials such as car and van stickers and vinyl
  • Telephone review stats and details
  • The ability for people to review you directly via the website and leave feedback
  • Information on trading standards
  • Free Google indexing
  • Photo galleries for you to show off your work
  • Buying club membership – which allows you to save money on trade essentials – meaning you can cut the cost on work vehicles, tools, materials and more

How Do Potential Customers find Checkatrade?

It’s great to be able to share your point of view online. Checkatrade bases itself on the idea that it shares unbiased reviews and opinions.

That’s because the reviews and ratings they publish are all verified.

Unlike a few other sites and directories where people can leave reviews on tradesmen without having to go through any checks, Check A Trade is actually pretty stringent.

People are normally able to find a local tradesman business through Check A Trade pretty easily just based on Google search.

The company’s online advertising is pervasive but not overwhelming.

In fact, the brand has a good reputation for trust, and has a way with both the tradesmen who use the service to list, as well as the people who look to hire electricians and more for advice.

Checkatrade’s SEO is pretty strong, as you can see from the graph below.

This means they do compete pretty well against the likes of Rated People. It’s likely that anyone searching for traders or something relating to handyman work will come across Checkatrade first.

Therefore, on the basis of these stats, it seems to do a pretty good job of directing the right people to you. Reviews on Trustpilot, too, seem to give the impression that getting regular job connections through Check A Trade is pretty easy, regardless of the catchment you actually look for jobs in.

Visitors to Check A Trade through Google normally number around 500,000 per month.

That’s a lot of clicks, and a pretty healthy figure on the whole.

Many people will find that job demands and jobs in general drop off around December for obvious reasons through Checkatrade.

However, it’s likely to be the same over at a few of the site rivals such as Rated People.

The fact is, people are winding down for Christmas and New Year!

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How Much Does Checkatrade Cost?

To answer the question how much is Checkatrade? Checkatrade is free to sign up for as a tradesperson, which is more generous than some other websites might expect from you.

However, there is a way to access more profile features and more job support by paying a regular membership fee.

Membership Fees

The membership fee you pay may vary depending on the level you choose and the services you’d like. For example, some may give you more support with advertising platforms if you pay a little more.

Unfortunately, Check A Trade asks that you fill out a bit of information before you can find out more about what each membership level actually does.

However, members can expect to pay as little as £69.99, plus VAT, per month for the service. The upper bracket to list here as tradespeople is £119.99 plus VAT. Other sites’ fees may vary (VAT inclusive), but Check A Trade tends to lead on the quality of posts you get, the advertising strength, and the discounts you receive.

The Checkatrade prices to become a member will vary depending on the type of contract you sign up for, as well as the type of trade you operate in.

There has been a bit of discussion over the pricing and packaging through Check A Trade over the years, meaning it may well change again in future. 

There’s no guarantee, but keep a close eye on what people have to say about the brand, too, if you are thinking of trading with them long term.

We’d recommend all tradespeople make a point of getting in touch with the Check A Trade customer service team, either via online form, or by calling them directly. 

You can call Check A Trade as a tradesperson looking to list a job on 0345 2411 393.

When Was the Last Price Increase?

The latest change to the pricing at Check A Trade seems to have taken place back in 2018.

At this point, the company decided to restructure its plans and packages by allowing members to pay based on the work they do and the traffic they are likely to see.

This change in pricing reportedly happened in an effort to make the site fairer to trade customers. It seems to have worked, so far, as the site and company still have strong Trustpilot ratings.

It’s not clear when or if there will be another update to the pricing available for Check A Trade, though it has changed a little over the years. As the last year has seen a dip in interest from people as a result of the pandemic, we’ll have to see how this works out for the service.

Should I Join If I Have Enough Work Right Now?

Yes, it’s absolutely worth joining Check A Trade even if you have much work on.

This is because the site does more than just find tradespeople work. It helps to establish them as trustworthy professionals, and essentially works as a form of online word of mouth.

For example, even if you are helping a lot of people as a tradesperson right now, the nature of your work might mean this drops off in future.

In your line of work, it’s important to try and keep the job streams going.

To do this, you’ll need to look for a site like Check A Trade, or Rated People, which will allow you to show customers that you are fully accredited, well rated in your area, and that people trust you.

Therefore, you can expect to keep bouncing back with regular work when you might normally see a bit of a lull. It’s worth taking a look if you’re already noticing dips in your trade.

How Does Checkatrade Work? - What is the Membership Criteria?

Checkatrade runs a tight ship when it comes to vetting members, and for good reason.

They run a thorough background check, make sure that you are suitable for listing, and will also conduct an interview.

It’s much like applying for a job, or a loan. If you run a limited company you likely will have jumped through hoops like this before, so there’s actually not that much you need to worry about, if at all.

Part of the appeal in Check A Trade to customers is the fact that they can honestly say they give unbiased opinions and don’t favour specific tradespeople.

This is why their pre-screening tends to be fairly tight. You’re going to need to prove your credit history, your reputation with other customers, and that you are covered by liability insurance.

Essentially, before Check A Trade can tell their customers that you are honest and reliable, you’re going to need to prove it to them, first. This is more than understandable.

What Does the Background Check Involve?

The background checks at Check A Trade will cover the following:

  • A full credit check (for limited applicants)
  • Proof of public liability insurance
  • A full photo ID
  • Full proof of trading address
  • At least five references from previous clients
  • Proof of qualification in your given specialism
  • Proof of legal right to operate a business

Check A Trade will also require you to sign and agree to their code of conduct and ethics, too. You must also submit to a full interview, and expect a background check into your corporate or trading history.

Never sign up with the site unless you have all of the above. You’re likely to have your application kicked back with immediate effect, and that’s not going to look good.

If you are in doubt about joining and want to know more about the membership controls Check A Trade has in place, it’s always worth reaching out to their representatives.

This stringent series of business checks is important because it helps to uphold the name of the site with UK clients.

If Check A Trade didn’t offer such a stringent process, you probably wouldn’t be able to find many jobs through their advertising and posts. A few people dislike so many checks, but I think any trader worth their salt – and with nothing to hide in their business history or otherwise – has plenty of reason to submit to it all.

Is it Straight Forward Leaving Checkatrade?

It’s a good question, and the answer is it’s actually pretty easy to leave the site as a trader if you really want to.

Checkatrade membership rolls over every 12 months. However, as part of the checks they run, this is subject to approval.

However, if you do want to terminate your contract and any tradesmen posts or listings you have available on their advertising board, you must give the company notice.

You will be tied into a 12 month contract term, initially, if you choose to set up as a member with advertising posts and full reviews.

Their full terms and conditions state you will need to give written notice to Checkatrade if you want to leave. As there are a few different reasons why tradesmen might want to stop advertising posts on the site, different cases may require different notice periods.

It’s worth asking for more advice from Checkatrade directly.

Is Checkatrade Reliable?

The most common question I hear from tradies who have never used the site is:

Is Checkatrade any good?

Checkatrade has been in operation since 1998, and in that time, they’ve received multiple awards. As with other sites that offer reviews of tradesmen and services, their accolades revolve around what both customers and tradespeople have to say.

Check A Trade has won awards for innovation as well as for their work ethic in general, but actually received the accolade for Online Trade Directory of the year in 2018.

This reportedly put the brand ahead of other directories for traders.

The firm has made a point of sponsoring and advertising a lot over the past two decades plus, meaning that beyond the main reviews alone, theirs is a name amongst traders which is pretty well trusted.

Whether you run a business or are looking for a trade website, Check A Trade prides itself on its reliability mainly thanks to its intensive background checks.

You won’t be able to make any kind of posts until the team at Check A Trade can evaluate that you are legitimate, and that you provide a worthwhile business service.

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Can They Get Fake Reviews?

There are accusations from corners of the web, through disgruntled reviews on other sites, that the review system at Checkatrade isn’t fair.

However, the website receives good support in this regard on the whole, and their process for hosting reviews and ratings from customers is just as thorough as their checks for tradespeople.

Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that you will get fake reviews popping up on job posts. I can’t speak for other sites in this review, but Checkatrade tries to stand apart from the directory sites out there based on its intensive application process. They pride themselves on being unbiased.

If you are worried, again, it’s worth either taking things up with the firm directly, or doing a bit more homework and research. I’m only here to state my opinion and the facts I’ve been able to find for you!

What Checkatrade Customers Say?

Check A Trade has a solid reputation and rating on Trustpilot, where customers at present have rated the business as 4.7 out of 5.

This is over 12,000 different verified ratings and reviews, too, meaning the numbers add up to this being a pretty popular service.

It’s always a good idea to look through what customers have to say before you actually sign up. That’s because you are going to want that added confidence that this is a site that’s going to pull in the paying customers.

I can assure you that Check A Trade is more than reputable and more than well-loved. However, if you’re looking for a bit more assurance, check out the individual Trustpilot ratings.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is only what the customers and everyday users of Checkatrade have to say. This ‘excellent’ rating is all well and good, but when it comes to working out whether or not it’s right for your business, you need to look at what tradesmen think, too.

What are the tradesman Checkatrade reviews saying?

Checkatrade reviews from tradesmen on ToolTalk are more on balance, with tradespeople generally giving the company favourable reviews at a rating of three stars out of five.

A handful of tradespeople claim that the site may not be worth your time if you already have your own business sites or websites elsewhere. This may be, but then other sites such as Rated People might not be worth looking at for the same reason.

It’s also worth pointing out that this score only represents fewer than 200 unique reviews. Therefore, it’s worth taking the feedback and review posts you see online with a pinch of salt.

That goes for the reviews from customers, too, not just tradespeople who are interested in advertising with Check A Trade.

Is Checkatrade here to stay?

Take a look at our Google Trends graph below. This information clearly shows that customer search and customer interest in Check A Trade is constant, and that it’s gone a long way to remain that way. It remains one of the most popular ways to find trade business and trade companies.

Even during COVID-19 in 2020, there was only a slight dip in customer interest. Above all, it’s pretty safe to assume that Check A Trade is going to be serving customers and tradespeople for some time to come.

Google search trends like these really do the job when it comes to looking for a site you can rely on. The profile of this company is already pretty strong, which definitely helps. It’s not the be all and end all, but it shows that customer interest is unlikely to dwindle in the time to come.

Could this be what you’re looking for from regular posts? Check out the statistics and judge for yourself.

Checkatrade Alternatives

As you probably know, there’s more than one way to get a job or posts out there. Check A Trade just happens to be one of the biggest sites people head to when they want to leave feedback.

While this site might have been around for longer than most of the competition, it’s worth comparing them to some of the bigger players in the game.

Let’s take a look at how well Check A Trade squares up against Rated People, My Builder and Trustatrader.

If you are wanting to sign up up to directory sites, then see what we think are the best tradesman websites out there for UK pros.

Checkatrade vs Rated People

Rated People is a name I’ve mentioned a lot in this review, and it’s for a good reason. It tends to be one of the bigger customer draws away from Check A Trade, and therefore, we need to look at what the major differences are.

Rated People is much different from Checkatrade based on their background checks alone. They tend to operate a ratings system behind closed doors, which means that you can only leave a review as a customer once you’ve overseen a job.

Rated People also offers a different payment and membership profile. You can normally pay for job leads after job leads as and when through Rated People, and that’s not all – the monthly pricing system tends to appeal more to the wider market.

There is some discussion online over which offers the more lucrative job service – Check A Trade or Rated People. The fact is, in my eyes, both services offer very different ways of promoting tradespeople.

Rated People does a lot to promote you, but you may be a fan of Check A Trade if you are really looking for as many advertising channels as possible.

vs My Builder

MyBuilder is a bit of a different entity compared to Check A Trade and Rated People, mainly in the sense that it uses a matching system.

This means that you can list a job on the website and then get interest via replies from registered My Builder users. You get to leave reviews and feedback privately, but like Check A Trade and Rated People, you do get to see all of the details on a service.

What’s shared between MyBuilder, Checkatrade and Rated People is the fact that there are only details on tradespeople at all – there are no price listings.

vs Trustatrader

Trustatrader is another big rival to Checkatrade in similar lines to Rated People. However, there are some key differences.

Trustatrader tends to go a more exclusive route when it comes to job and profile listings. While there are many trader professionals working through Trustatrader, it has a competitive limit as to how many people can register per catchment area.

This means that traders may have to wait in a list before they can start posting jobs or taking new jobs on. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all.

Many jobs are applied for through both services, mainly because they are two of the most advertised websites of their kind. You may well have heard the Trustatrader jingle before through the radio or on ITV. Can you say the same for Rated People?

Checkatrade also offers arguably more support in terms of job advertising. It’s argued that there is more opportunity for jobs to land through Checkatrade thanks to the number of avenues it actually has available.

However, there are definitely pros and cons to listing jobs on either.

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Lead Generation

John Devlin

With over 20 years working in the home improvement industry, I have successfully transitioned from a small trades business owner to a digital marketer. I knew very early that the secret to growing a trades business would rely heavily on learning scalable lead generation strategies and marketing the business better than others online. This blog is where I share everything I learned (and continue to learn) on my journey.