What’s the best way to find a tradesman online?
Whether you have a Grand Design project planned or a leaking toilet, you’ll be in need of a trusted tradesman. But with a growing number of online search sites out there, where do you start and can you trust them?
There are several sites in the UK that help you find a tradesman online. Most of these websites contain a feedback function that means in theory, traders are judged and rated based on previous jobs. We’ve chosen the main find a tradesman online sites that are free to access and have national coverage to give you the lowdown. But first things first.
Can I trust find a tradesman online review sites?
In theory, yes. The more reviews, the better idea you get of what that tradesman is like. But just bear in mind that these find a tradesman online sites exist and most are paid for by the tradesmen they are hosting. And some sites contain very little negative feedback which seems counter intuitive. This may be because, in some cases, reviews are only left when requested by the tradesman which means you’re unlikely to ever hear from their unhappy customers.
You’ll want to get your tape measure out so you can give the trader as much information as possible and you get as accurate a quote as possible.
What can I do if it all goes wrong?
Most review sites are very weak on what to do if you aren’t happy with your tradesman or the service you’ve received. That’s because they are simply introducers and have no responsibility for the quality of the work.
What’s out there and what do they offer?
How does it work? You are in control. You search for a relevant trader and request a call back or email them. Customer reviews help you choose the tradesmen you want to approach for a quote.
Checks: Tradesmen’s ID, credit status, public liability insurance, qualifications and references are checked by the site. They also aim to spot check 30-40% of feedback received each month.
How to complain: CheckaTrade will contact the trader advising they have 7 days to resolve the matter before the complaint is put on the website. 3% of their members are suspended each year.
How does it work? Search for a tradesman based on your postcode and job requirements. You can then contact the tradesmen personally or post a job and wait to be contacted with quotes. If you post a job, Plentific’s concierge manages the process for you, chasing quotes and helping you find the right tradesman. Each tradesman has a Plentific profile showing information on their business and customer reviews, and a user can access these freely to help them compare their options.
Checks: Verified Plentific tradesmen (look for the gold badge) will have been checked for public liability insurance, Company House registration, ID, proof of address, VAT number and all appropriate qualifications. If you select a tradesman without the Verified by Plentific badge, you’ll want to do your own checks
How to complain: In the event of a dispute Plentific will act as a mediator between customer and tradesman, advising both parties to come to a mutually beneficial solution. Should anything go wrong and you have used a Verified by Plentific tradesman through the site, you are covered by their guarantee. So if resolution is unsuccessful, Plentific will designate another home professional to work with you and will pay that professional to remedy the problem – to the value of the original job cost or £1,000 (whichever is less).
We’ve partnered with Plentific because we like their user-friendly approach, their concierge service and they offer a guarantee with certain tradesmen.
How does it work? Post your job and wait for traders to respond. You then make a shortlist and tradesmen pay to get your contact details. Once you have your quotes you can choose based on the quote, the tradesmen profiles and reviews
Checks: Tradesmen’s references are checked at the outset but nothing else. Reviews are verified by the website as true and bad reviews are never removed.
How to complain: MyBuilder suggests you work with your builder to avoid disputes. If this doesn’t work, they point you towards your contract (fingers crossed you have one) the builder’s Trade Association (don’t forget to check they belong to one) or independent mediation.
How does it work? Post your job and wait for traders to respond. The tradesmen pay Ratedpeople.com for the opportunity to quote. You then receive a shortlist from which you choose your favourite based on the quote and other customer reviews.
Checks: Tradesmen’s ID, accounts, credit status, public liability insurance plus qualifications are checked by the site. But they do say they accept no responsibility for the accuracy of what the tradesmen say and they strongly advise you verify credentials before awarding work.
How to complain: Ratedpeople say they will suspend tradesmen during investigation and remove if necessary. Investigations take 5-10 days.
TrustMark are a not for profit organisation licensed by Government. They report to have the largest database of accredited tradesmen in the country. They have been around a while but the ability for customers to review their tradesman is a relatively new function. This means many firms don’t yet have a review, but what they lack in customer reviews they make up for in checks.
How does it work? You are in control. Use their search engine to find tradesmen in your area and get in touch for a quote.
Checks: TrustMark’s registered tradesmen have their ID, accounts, credit status, insurance and qualifications checked. TrustMark registered firms’ technical skills are independently checked through on-site inspections to ensure a high quality of workmanship and business practices. TrustMark relies on scheme operators to adhere to a rigorous code of standards.
How to complain: If there is a problem or disagreement the TrustMark approved scheme operator must help you get it resolved. The TrustMark website has a detailed step by step guide.