ANORTH East building supply firm has launched a new website to help homeowners find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople.
Joseph Parr set up localandtrusted.com to help take the hassle out of finding a good quality local specialists.
Builders, joiners, plumbers and handymen who want to become members of the site must provide three testimonials from jobs they have done before they can register.
Homeowners can log on for free, see profiles and get quotes for a job.
Joseph Parr managing director Dave Anderson said: “From a customer’s point of view, the site works on vetted testimonials, unlike other sites like Trip Advisor where anybody can put whatever they like on. These are genuine testimonials that we check out.” The site also has another arm, designed to put a stop to people losing money to cowboy contractors.
Called Bondpay, the insurance- backed payment scheme works by letting homeowners deposit the cost of a job into a holding account.
An agreed amount is released to the builder either in stages or when the work is finished.
“You see TV programmes where a cowboy builder runs off with £20,000 and doesn’t finish the job. This completely eliminates that from happening,” explained Mr Anderson.
He cites the example of a customer putting down £10,000 for a job. If the tradesman disappeared half way through a job, the money would still be safe in Bondpay and it’s also insured to an additional 50% value of the job. This would mean the customer has an additional £5,000 to pay for another contractor to correct and finish the work. There’s also a year’s guarantee on work and mediation if there are any disputes.
Within a week of launching in the Middlesbrough area, more than 50 contractors had registered and more than 300 inquiries were posted by people looking for a tradesman.
Now the website is building up its rapidly growing database of tradesmen in the Tyne and Wear area.
“For the public, it is a new method of trying to find a reliable tradesman that is local,” said Mr Anderson. “We get inquiries for all kinds of jobs.
“The new website will help our tradesmen increase business in what is a very difficult trading time in the construction industry.
“In the past they may have gone from extension to extension, but now they might have to change the way they do business and take on smaller jobs too.”