The invention of the internet turned some of our cherished norms on their heads. Uber revolutionised the taxi industry, Netflix revolutionised television and internet-enabled smartphones revolutionised awkward silences at social gatherings. And advertising on business directories is no different. Fewer and fewer people are using thick paperbound directories like the Yellow Pages and are switching over to online tradesman directories like Rated People and Check A Trade to profit from their tradesman business. But the power and reach of these directories come with a price tag, which raises the question: which is better for my business?
Rated People Ease Of Use & Features
Whilst Rated People and Check A Trade were designed from the ground up to be as easy to use as possible, each has a different take when it comes to the website experience from both the homeowner’s and Tradesman’s perspective. Whilst Check A Trade gives over control to the homeowner, allowing people to search and contact Tradesmen directly, Rated People allows homeowners to post jobs which Tradespeople can actively buy leads for and contact. Rated People gives more control to the Tradesman.
Rated People from the Tradesperson’s perspective
The simple guide below gives a quick rundown of how the service works.
Rated People is designed to make the process of signing up as straightforward as possible for the Tradesman looking to advertise. Once you sign up with your details, you will receive a call from one of their account managers. They will talk to you about the different plans available and what plans would be best suited to you. They are also able to answer any questions you have and any perks or benefits you receive from signing up.
The first thing we recommend is to take full advantage of your profile’s functionality. For every job request a homeowner posts, they can accept leads from 3 tradespeople – so ensure your profile stands out from the competition. This means ensuring that your profile has:
- a profile photo
- pictures of your work
- description and information that represents you and your business well
- all your accreditations and insurance listed
Profile Set Up On Rated People
Tradesmen's insurance at hard to beat rates
Once you’ve completed your profile, it’s time to begin searching for local leads. Each lead costs anywhere between £2 + VAT and £65 + VAT and depends on the job in question. Lead costs depend on a few factors that include location, skills and resources, but generally speaking the more intensive and costly the job, the more it’ll cost to purchase a lead.
Once you’ve bought the lead, it’s time to contact the job poster and give them a quote.
Member benefits premium
This is a collection of over 190 discounts and offers that could save you money running your business, as well as on personal spending. There’s free phone insurance, up to 5p a litre off your fuel, and discounts online and on high street from Amazon to Argos. The offers are meant to give you an incentive to stay with Rated People when you’re busy and aren’t looking for new leads, making it worthwhile to stay even if you only need them for dry spells or last-minute cancellations. So there are two sides to Rated People – the leads, as well as these discounts. There’s a selection of them on their Rated People benefits website.
Ask An Expert
A great feature of the Rated People website is the ability to answer DIY questions on the Rated People Ask An Expert Section. Whilst this is of great benefit to the homeowner looking for free advice from an expert, it serves as a platform to increase your brand reputation if you’re active in answering questions.
The main features of Rated People are accessible through apps that you can download and use on your Android or iPhone smartphone. There are separate apps for tradesmen and for homeowners. Look out for the Trades app which is the one for tradesmen. The app is now updated regularly, so they’re regularly adding new features. A couple of notable ones are the chat feature, where you can send messages to homeowners directly from the app. Another one is the lead tracker, where you can move your leads into different sections once you’ve won the job, and then completed it. It’s a good way of keeping all your winning leads in one place to see how much work you’ve got from the service.
Cons of Rated People: Ease Of Use & Features
The drawback of the whole process is that you are not guaranteed to win the job if you’ve paid for a lead. The lead is just that – an opportunity to quote, meet customers, and sell yourself as the right person for the job. It’s only once the customer has agreed on a quote with you that you can begin work. This means paying up to £65 + VAT for a lead and potentially having no work if the customer decides to go with another tradesman, but each lead can only be sold a maximum of 3 times (on average they’re sold 1-2 times). Plus, they tell you if you’re first to buy or not.
In the unfortunate circumstance that a homeowner does not allow you to quote or is not contactable, you can receive credit back for a failed lead. Bear in mind that Rated People does not accept all requests for credit, partly due to fraudulent misuse of the service in the past. There is some benefit to the information that the homeowner provides when they fill out a job request, since they define their maximum budget in the job profile that they fill out; the only downside is that if the proposed quote exceeds their expectations after inspecting the job, then your work may be rejected.
Pros of Rated People: Ease Of Use & Features
The pro of using Rated People is that jobs leads are served on a first-come-first-serve basis. Which means if you can buy a lead early enough, you’re more likely to win the job on the basis that the customer is satisfied with your quote and importantly, your profile. Whilst success on Check A Trade is based on merit, since ratings are one of the most important aspects of the profile, you can potentially begin work without having established a significant number of ratings – this is important especially if you’re new.
Another significant pro of Rated People is that you can be selective of when you’d like to take jobs. This is great if your hands are too full to take more projects than you can handle or are out of service for a period of time.
Check A Trade Ease Of Use & Features
Whilst Rated People gives more power and control to the Tradesman, it also means that Tradespeople have to be proactive in securing leads and subsequently offering a quote that the customer can agree on. Check A Trade, on the other hand, operates on a more traditional directory format which means after paying the annual listing fee, it’s just a matter of waiting for customers to contact you.
Check A Trade from the Tradesperson’s perspective
Signing up with Check A Trade is the simplest between the 2 services. Once you complete the form, you will receive a call back where you’ll be interviewed and asked to supply the required information which can include proof of accreditations, references and insurance. In the last step, Check A Trade can help you with setting up, which can include a face-to-face consultation.
Check A Trade Profile
The majority of the legwork, online, will be ensuring that your profile is a shining example of professionalism and high reputation. The only way that a homeowner would be more willing to pick you for a quote over others in the same area is if your profile stands out from the competition.
This means ensuring that your profile:
- has a high rating (above 9.5 is recommended since most of the top advertisers have a rating higher than this)
- has a well written description
- lists all the appropriate checks (the more accreditations the better)
- has an uploaded business logo
- has a gallery with high quality images that represents the depth of your work’s diversity
- has all checks regarding accreditations, insurance and references
Check A Trade has a mobile app catered towards the homeowner, with no offerings for the tradesman as of March 2017. That said, the website is mobile-responsive and does everything a tradesperson would need on their mobile phone.
Cons of Check A Trade: Ease Of Use & Features
Check A Trade more closely resembles a traditional directory where users can search for and contact Tradespeople directly. For this reason, potential customers of yours may contact during a time when you can’t take a job due to a busy workload.
Furthermore, people who hold more than one business in different specialities may be forced to pay separate subscriptions to be listed in the search results for different trades. This may mean paying £600 twice to be listed in both carpentry and electrician lists if you specialise in each of these trades.
Pros of Check A Trade: Ease Of Use & Features
Check A Trade is the simplest of the two services for both the homeowner and the tradesman. Due to this, homeowners in urgent need of a tradesman may be more inclined to want to search for and contact the tradesman directly instead of filling out the requirements for a job in a form, like the case with Rated People.
There is no obligation to make any payment beyond the initial subscription fees so you’re not going to spend money buying leads, or the subsequent rejection of a quote by a homeowner.
Verdict on Ease Of Use & Features winner: both Check A Trade and Rated People have been improved over years of updates and work very well for its intended purpose.
Builder's insurance from £53* per year
Rated People & Check A Trade Cost Comparison
Rated People Costs
Rated People costs include a subscription-based service and the actual costs of the leads that you’ll be paying for as you’re looking for work. Their most popular subscription costs £35+VAT a month, but that includes £45+VAT credit each month to spend on leads. They can tailor your subscription to match how much you’re likely to spend on leads though. This includes the benefit and discounts (190+ according to the site) mentioned earlier.
Check A Trade Costs
Check A Trade costs are more straightforward. Most people will pay £600 for an annual subscription, or a monthly subscription for £60 a month. Whilst this might look relatively more costly than Rated People, the value depends on how many jobs you take from advertising on the website. The more jobs you take on, the more of a saving you’ll make on Check A Trade. There is an option to be listed in their publications and leaflets, which will bring the costs of your subscription closer to £1000.
How much does Check A Trade cost- an update as of May 2018
As of December of 2017, Homeserve, the Walsall based home maintenance company, now owns Check A Trade. The company was purchased from the original owner, Kevin Byrne, who no longer is involved with the company. Although Check A Trade retains independence and is run separately from Homeserve, the pricing structure has changed with numerous customers being unhappy with a price hike. The comments on this blog, for example, is proof of members being dissatisfied with these changes:
Dilemma of a Check A Trade Tradesman
That being said, Check A Trade did advertise a money back guarantee service, which may no longer is applicable but would have alleviated some of the concerns of users regarding price hikes.
Whilst there isn’t a refund procedure for Rated People, since you’re responsible for satisfying the customers expectations for a quote, you can, in some cases, request credit back if a customer is non-contactable or doesn’t let you give them a quote.
This is in contrast to Check A Trade, which offers a full money back guarantee if you can satisfy the full guarantee terms and conditions, which includes submitting three feedback reports each month.
Verdict on Price
Given that over 8 out of 10 tradesman businesses have reportedly renewed their annual membership with Check A Trade despite the full money back guarantee, means that the service works for over 80% of business that pay for the relatively higher fees. Rated People gives more financial freedom to the Tradesman and initial costs are cheaper, however this can be offset by the fact that work is not guaranteed nor are refunds guaranteed.
Credibility Of Rated People & Check A Trade
Reviews Of Check A Trade & Rated People
Both Check A Trade and Rated People have garnered excellent reviews with Check A Trade slightly edging out with better reviews on Trustpilot, the review site. This is understandable, since the large majority of reviews are from homeowners, which the site is more geared towards. That said, given that 8 out 10 tradespeople renew their subscription with Check A Trade, this means that tradesmen are also satisfied with the service. The higher frequency of reviews for Rated People suggest that Rated People is more widely known and on average is rated highly as well.
On the Rated People website, it’s hard to tell the average ratings of tradesmen, but you can see how homeowners are reviewing the latest jobs on the ‘local’ page of the website. On the Check A Trade website, the number of reviews are proudly displayed on the front page. However, to actually see ratings for reviews, you’d need to do a search for the respective type of trade in their easy-to-use search engine.
Testimonials from Tradesmen
Reviews from tradesmen of the Rated People service aren’t clearly displayed but there is a sprinkling of testimonials from tradesmen during the sign up process. Check A Trade has a designated Checkatrade testimonial page however like Rated People it is carefully curated for obvious marketing reasons.
History – What is the history of these sites?
Rated People and Check A Trade are 13 and 19 years old, having been founded in 2005 and 1998 respectively. Due to this, both are highly established brands and their growth has been consistent over the years. As of Feb/March 2017, both are closely matched when it comes to search volume, according to Google Trends; in the graph below, you’ll see Rated People in red, and Check A Trade in blue.
Investment Into Sponsorship & Advertisements
Both websites have invested heavily into sponsorship and advertisement, which is reflected in the regular online and offline advertisements that you see. This is of obvious benefit to you as the advertising tradesman, because it means that the website you are using is reaching out to more people and who could become potential customers.
Check A Trade Trophy League
Check A Trade are the current proud sponsors of the Check A Trade Trophy League – a football knockout competition for English teams from Division 1 and 2, and a selection of “B” teams from the Premier League. This means that footy fans of these teams and beyond will be constantly aware of the Check A Trade brand.
Phil Spencer from Location, Location, Location
Rated People have invested into their influencers as they have called on Phil Spencer from Location, Location, Location to act as an ambassador of the company. The television presenter has a collection of videos on YouTube giving tips to homeowners on the Rated People YouTube Channel.
… and the winner is?
Both are excellent and may cater to different kinds of Tradespeople. The sheer brand power of both means that if you work on your profile and ensure that you satisfy your customers, you’ll find immense benefit from using these platforms. Rated People asks for less money upfront and is potentially easier to begin work, whilst Check A Trade has the benefits of having a simple interface
and a money-back guarantee if you genuinely find it difficult to find success in using the service.
Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket when it comes to using these services, however, as Google ads are listing paid tradesman businesses and local listings above any search results. This is especially important since Google lists its ads and local services at the top of search results and above any results relating to pages on Check A Trade and Rated People. A multi-pronged approach to advertising your services is highly recommended, especially if you are looking to expand your business.
If you’re looking for additional tradesman apps, you can read our Top 5 Apps For Tradesmen that are revolutionising the industry. See more reviews: Selcobw, Jewsons Review, Roofingsuperstore.co.uk, Toolstation ,Builders Depot , Trade Point B&Q and Screwfix UK from our Builder’s Supplies & Tools Review Series
Other useful information: