An entrepreneur has hit out at prime-time TV shows highlighting shoddy workmen for demonising a nation of tradespeople dedicated to excellent service.
Adam Callow, founder of the free Trade directory site http://www.ineedanexpert.co.uk says programmes such as Rogue Traders and Cowboy Builders are ‘scaremongering’ about an industry that doesn’t deserve to be vilified.
He says: “I have a big problem with how the media portrays [trades http://www.ineedanexpert.co.uk/] . There are too many shows that have one clear message — to be careful when dealing with trades.
“Yes, it’s important to check key details of your potential tradesman before hiring them but these series are now scaremongering.”
“We all know there are people who deserve to be held up as examples of cowboys.
“But for every one of these, there are more who are as shocked as the rest of us as to how these rogues operate. Not every trader deserves to be tarred with the same brush and people with integrity need a voice. We are giving them that voice.”
“After I decided that I Need An Expert was going to happen, I was speaking to reputable, hardworking people from different trades every day. The feedback from these conversations could not have been clearer, do everything you can to stop the minority of cowboys being allowed on the site.”
“We truly value how important choosing the right trade is. For each of the documents — including insurances and qualifications – on our profiles, we have manually checked and entered the details. That means customers can be sure the information is valid and up to date. Once checked, they are monitored and pulled when expired.”
“For example, if you’re looking for a Gas Safe heating engineer you can browse I Need An Expert to find a heating engineer who is Gas Safe and as the consumer you know this has been checked and he is fully insured.
“Another great aspect for users on the site looking for a trade is that we do not charge our trades membership fees, or sell them your information, so our trades can offer the most competitive prices.”
There are also rigorous procedures in place to make sure reviews are genuine.
The site has grown to 1,600 members in just six months. Leicester-based Adam launched the service after his brother Daniel, a locksmith, spent thousands of pounds on online advertising that brought no benefits. He’s now committed to championing the integrity and professionalism of tradespeople.
He says: “After looking into the services offered to trades online it was clear that there were these middlemen companies that were exploiting these trades. I couldn’t believe it. These trades have spent years mastering what they do yet getting found online is now the biggest issue they face. My brother is now back in construction as he couldn’t make his phone ring enough to keep him in a job.
“I can change that. We work with our members to build a presence online, to get found in Google as this is where more than 93 per cent of customers still go when looking for a trade.
“I am under no illusions that this will be an overnight success or an easy venture, but I have fallen in love with fixing this problem.
“The aspect about the company that gets me out of bed is simple – the community the site has created. It is filled with the most amazing people who take great pride in what they do and have shown tremendous levels of support from day one.