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Why the Online directories & federations don’t work

I believe that the online directories and federations don’t do enough to try and solve the issues that the tradespeople and consumers encounter on a daily basis.

The problem with the online directories:

The online directories are merely an introductory platform for consumers to find a tradesperson and for tradespeople to find work. According to Watchdog and the One Show they claim that these directories do not really solve any of the real issues in this industry and consumers are reluctant to use them.

The problem for the consumer is in the event that anything goes wrong the customer has to deal with the situation by leaving a negative review. It is claimed that some of these directories are manipulating this feedback in order to retain the tradespeople and this is where they generate their revenue.

The problem for the tradespeople is that they pay a monthly/yearly subscription fee to be a member and generate leads. The tradespeople pay for leads and in most cases they don’t turn into jobs, leaving the tradespeople out of pocket as the customer was only looking for a quotation.

There are a number of flaws with these directories business models and one of them is asking the customer to provide a budget for the cost of the works they require. This is not practical as the customer has no idea of cost, and when the tradespeople provide a quote that exceeds the budget the customer thinks they’re being ripped off as the tradesperson accepted the lead at the budget figure they had allocated.

Statistics for consumers looking for a tradesperson

I recently carried out a survey with consumers and asked the following question:

Imagine you needed to employ the services of a tradesperson tomorrow, which of the following would you be most likely to do to find a tradesperson?

1. Contact a tradesperson you have used before 48%

2. Seek a personal recommendation 22%

3. Do a general search online 9%

4. Use a local newspaper 9%

5. Use an online directory 7%

6. Use Yell directory 4%

7. Look out for a tradesperson’s van 1%

It’s clear from the statistics that consumers seek peace of mind and reassurance when looking for a tradesperson and this is where there is an opportunity to create a new environment that will benefit both the consumer and tradespeople.

We simply have to focus on the positives and be willing to recognize when everything has gone well for both the consumer and tradespeople and simply show one another appreciation by providing each other with a recommendation and help the genuine people to stand out.

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