Specialist platforms for trades

For the trades many specialist platforms have come and gone. I started on one called Bizzby - now no more. While there are a few newbies trying to elbow their way into game, there are three who have remained resilient.

Mybuilder.com is our favourite, it’s beautifully simple, and very accessible for tradespeople. It’s easy to set up an account and to start bidding for jobs. Customers can check qualifications and insurance which are reviewed by the MyBuilder team and read reviews and see pictures of work.

For tradespeople Mybuilder has the advantage of being pay-as-you-go – there are no monthly membership fees, so it’s perfect when there’s a lull from regular and word-of-mouth customers. However, the platform is a bit dog-eat-dog: there’s no limit to how much interest a job can receive, and the customer can shortlist as many companies as they like. Being short-listed results in the trade automatically being charged, anything between £2 – £38 depending on the size of the job.

Customers don’t realise this and some can be a bit click-happy while shortlisting, unconsciously charging tradespeople who will have no chance of getting the job. That’s why if you are shortlisted you must be quick on the draw, and ring that job-lead ASAP.

Back when there were no platforms for tradespeople

Rated People is a slick interface but requires more of a commitment from the tradesperson, asking for a monthly membership fee. The advantage is that only three trades can quote for a job, paying for the lead every time, so there’s less competition. You get a few perks with your membership, such as money off a business number, zip cars and insurance deals. There are competitions – it’s more of a community vibe.  Everything seems better regulated, and they work hard on their advertising. The problem is that the leads are much more expensive, topping off at £65 (+VAT). Although you get a little bit of credit each month, you may well end up making losing money and getting no jobs.

Paying for leads can strip tradespeople of their cash

Checkatrade is more like a traditional directory. It has a look akin to Pimlico Plumbers and offers many discounts in a similar vein to Rated People. It requires the most commitment to join, with £70 (+VAT) a month membership fees. However the tradespeople are more extensively vetted. They must pass a face-to-face interview and provide five references.  The problem with it, of course, is that you will be paying to be listed among many other trades in the area, and must wait to be contacted by potential customers.

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