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RCI JULY 2014

TRUSTMARK TrustMark strides ahead By Stuart Carter, head of marketing, TrustMark In April the government reaffirmed its full support for TrustMark, a scheme which for the last eight years has helped millions of homeowners across the UK to find reliable and reputable local tradespeople to work in and around their home. Consumer minister Jenny Willott MP and the government’s chief construction adviser Peter Hansford stood shoulder to shoulder to declare their backing for TrustMark as the primary scheme to protect consumers and to boost the reputation of the construction industry. TrustMark was granted a new unrestricted licence from government, new improved consumer protection standards were launched and the message went out to more industry bodies, firms and sole traders to sign up to the scheme. What’s in it for tradesmen? But why would a tradesperson follow such advice, given the plethora of online directories and findanyoldbuilder.com websites these days? What makes TrustMark any different, and what’s in it for tradesmen? In short, TrustMark is the only scheme which provides official recognition to tradespeople working to government-endorsed standards. It is now much changed and has a reinvigorated vision and drive to better support consumers and to deliver even greater business benefits to the best firms. TrustMark-registered firms undergo more rigorous, independent expert checks than any other kitemark scheme. It is the only ‘find a trader’ scheme that requires qualified inspectors to carry out onsite visits, so that workmanship and technical competence is checked as well as 024 JULY 2014 RCIMAG.COM good business practices and customer satisfaction. All tradesmen registered with TrustMark are assessed on a regular basis to ensure high standards, and consumers have assurance that the work will be carried out to a consistently high professional standard. A not-for-profit organisation, Trustmark is a scheme of increasing value to the growing retrofit market, to social housing maintenance contractors, to insurers and others who are promoting higher standards in the domestic RMI sector. That badge is also now being promoted much more vigorously to the private homeowner market. Last year the TrustMark website gave out more than five million referrals to the public in search for a good tradesperson, with an estimated two million jobs per year being undertaken by registered firms. We currently have more than 14,500 firms within the scheme covering a wide range of domestic trades. The vast majority of TrustMark-registered firms are SMEs, and as well as the marketing boost and competitive advantage that comes from the scheme, they also value the fact that they are not being fleeced to support an advertising directory or a website that just sells leads to the highest bidder. There is also very strong support from industry bodies such as the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), who has been with TrustMark since it was founded. As Roy Horwood, NFRC chief executive, explained: “As founder members of TrustMark, the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) has been a strong supporter of ensuring that consumers get the best advice for roofing work delivered by competent and qualified Stuart Carter, TrustMark’s head of marketing contractors. From the start the NFRC has made it compulsory for all NFRC contractors operating in the domestic market to be members of TrustMark and it is now part of our joining procedure for new members. Regular inspections of companies are conducted to ensure that they are delivering on TrustMark’s requirements. We believe that there is a need to have a strong oversight body that understands the industry and its procedures to support the consumer – TrustMark provides this.” Tarred by the same brush The good news is that the vast majority of people now have a very positive experience of working with tradespeople. But unfortunately, there is still a sizeable minority who fall foul of unscrupulous or incompetent traders, and too often the best tradespeople are tarred by the same brush. Tackling this problem is exactly why TrustMark exists and why we won’t stop until the cowboys are starved of work for good. www.trustmark.org.uk


RCI JULY 2014
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