We just want you to know that we’re listening and value your opinions. In the information below we are sharing additional detail around some of the issues and concerns you have raised as well as a Q&A to answer some of the key concerns raised.
- Managed Contacts
Managed contacts are unique phone numbers and email addresses allocated by Checkatrade to your web and directory public profiles. These numbers will re-direct consumer enquiries to your own phone numbers and email addresses. Managed contacts are a great benefit for you as they are measurable and will give you clear visibility of the contact you are receiving as a direct result of your Checkatrade profile. They will also help us make sure that you are charged a fair price by Checkatrade – a price which reflects the amount of business you’re getting from your membership.
On the 19th March 2018, we went live with Managed Contacts in the Central West area of England. Because of this, we know that our members experienced an average of 28 contacts a month. We also protected our members from 2 high-volume spammers attempting to email and phone our members.
We have not introduced Managed Contacts on our Website to any other locations as yet.
- Changes to pricing
The price changes being implemented across Checkatrade will allow us to invest in our business and ensure that you continue to receive great value through your membership. Our ethos has not changed - we continue to concentrate on connecting consumers to the best reliable tradespeople and our members are the beating heart of what we do. However, many new competitors are arriving in the market, some of who take up to 20% commission from their members for the work they generate. We never want to adopt that business model but we do need to invest more in marketing, brand awareness and technology to continue to be competitive.
We have restructured our membership costs to introduce an element of fairness which takes into account that every business is individual. You told us that the previous ‘flatline’ rate we used did not take into account the fact that different members are able to generate different values from the membership and was less fair. And every member is different - for example, a large building company would have the opportunity to generate more work (and therefore higher revenue) from a Checkatrade membership than a small window cleaning business.
Restructured pricing will ensure a higher level of fairness across the trades.
The Checkatrade platform provides great consumer exposure – 59% of consumers go directly to us rather than Google to search for tradespeople. However, we do acknowledge that some trades receive higher consumer exposure than others, and now this is reflected in our pricing. If you show up in more searches and receive more work alerts, the value we are able to give you is higher and therefore should be reflected in the pricing.
This pricing restructure will allow us to reinvest revenue to generate more value for you – Our goal is to generate more demand on the Checkatrade website and, in turn, generate more jobs for you. Nationally you will benefit from Television advertising, including a deal we have agreed with the ITV Weather which started on 9 July, which is sure to encourage more consumer searches and to continue to grow and strengthen our consumer base. The Checkatrade brand will be very visible on TV nationwide. On a more local level, we will be focusing marketing campaigns in areas where we have a lot of members to ensure that the consumer-to-member ratio provides a great balance, meaning more work for our members in ‘busier’ areas, fairly shared around. This will provide more opportunity for everybody so that nobody is missing out. We have a national radio sponsorship with TalkSport, and we cover all the main areas of the UK with 33 local radio stations. Since December, we have also invested significantly in paid advertising on Google, ensuring Consumers can find our great members.
We trust that what we are doing is fair and that we will be able to provide all of our members with excellent value for money and great business support – whether your aim is to grow your business or to maintain your reputation and consumer base, we want to work alongside you. We believe in our assurances so much but are also aware that some of the benefits we have mentioned here are yet to take effect so – If you feel that you have not received a fair amount of value for your membership, we are offering a £10 discount on your monthly fee. Please do feel free to call your Membership Advisors to discuss this – We value and appreciate your feedback and hope that this reassurance of value will help answer some of your concerns and reassure you that we believe Checkatrade is a partnership with our trades and we want to work with you.
- Owned Feedback
We understand that your reviews have ongoing value to your business, even if you unfortunately decide to leave Checkatrade you will be able to take those reviews with you. If you then decide to re-join Checkatrade within 12 months, those reviews will return with you.
If you decide to part ways with Checkatrade, you can request a copy of the feedback generated over the term of your membership. We will endeavour to provide copies of your feedback within 28 days of your formal request.
- Checkatrade giving away traders’ work to HomeServe
This concern is simply not true. HomeServe has a significant number of plumbers and gas engineers, employed to carry out the repairs that HomeServe customers need based on the insurance cover (policy) those members hold. HomeServe customers have an annual insurance policy to cover gas, plumbing and drainage issues. They contact HomeServe directly with any claims and HomeServe employed engineers are fully focused on these claims.
In reality, there are several benefits to Checkatrade members of the relationship between HomeServe and Checkatrade. Checkatrade members can complete work on trades that HomeServe doesn’t specialise in for their two million customers. HomeServe Customer Service Representatives actively direct Customers to Checkatrade through:
Offering HomeServe Customers access to Checkatrade members via their website:
We have also been testing through Home Experts which has now come to an end.
HomeServe only promotes Checkatrade members.
- Help-Link and Checkatrade
The concern that Checkatrade favours Help-Link over independent traders is not true. Help-Link abides by the same rules as all members.
Help-Link are paid up members of Checkatrade with 13 regionally based accounts, subject to the same pricing structure, membership terms and conditions and search results / listings as any other Checkatrade member.
Help-Link’s listings on the Checkatrade website are subject to the same rules in terms of feedback volumes, scores and frequency as any other Checkatrade member to determine their listing in search results. Help-Link have also appeared in Checkatrade directories where they have purchased a directory listing as part of their paid for membership.
No leads or referrals are passed from Checkatrade to Help-Link. Like any other Checkatrade member Help-Link generates calls as a result of direct, relevant searches on the Checkatrade website.
As a result of Checkatrade's ownership by HomeServe links to Help-Link and HomeServe have been listed on the Checkatrade website as is normal for a group of companies to promote each other’s activities for purposes of transparency and consumer choice.
This has been undertaken to support our consumers in choosing the most appropriate service for them, but we recognise this could be deemed as promotion over and above our members. We have also used blog content written and referencing Help-Link on the consumer facing part of the Checkatrade website.
Following recent concerns raised by our members we have removed these links.
- Checkatrade Now
Checkatrade Now is a new solution for consumers to find a member when they have an emergency. This service is currently in testing in the Hampshire area. When launched we believe will generate more work overall for our members.
We want to provide homeowners with local, high quality emergency trades when they need them most. With Checkatrade Now, consumers will be able to request emergency jobs, leaving you with the option to accept the jobs.
What trades will this impact?
The following trades:
- Alarms & security
- Central heating
- Double glazing
- Pest control
- Tree surgery
- Water mains
How much does this cost?
Registration to the additional work provided in the service is currently free in the test area but this may change once the service is rolled out.
Leads are sent directly to your smartphone on a free, easy-to-use app. For both your own, and the consumers’ convenience, the distance from the job is taken into account and the fastest member to accept receives the lead. As an emergency service for our consumers, members are required to accept and call the customer back within five minutes to discuss and book in the job, otherwise it will pass to the next available member to ensure a smooth ‘emergency’ trade service.
Once the testing is completed we will share more information about Checkatrade Now and how you can join. Some of the benefits will include:
- No additional cost: Sign up for Checkatrade Now and get free leads, it’s included in your membership.
- Increased work: Boost your business easily.
- Total freedom: Receive the job on your phone. You decide whether you want to accept it or not.
- Never miss out: Get text alerts and notifications on your free app to ensure you don’t miss out.
- Jobs close to you: Choose your preferred work area and get emergency jobs, when and where you want.