The concept of Compare Your Plumber (CYP) was developed by a group of professional plumbers who have worked in the trade as employees, self-employed or sub-contractors, giving them an in-depth understanding of the business from all sides.
Chief Executive Gary Burns says: “With our industry know-how we have been able to develop a service which sets us apart from other trade recommendation websites. CYP aims to build a community of local tradesmen working in local communities.
“We know from experience that many plumbers looking for work will accept a job, even though it may involve travelling long distances, increased costs and waste valuable productive time. By keeping work local, they can get to the customer quicker, at a lower cost. They can then pass the savings on to the customer. It even makes it easier to fit in weekend and evening work close to home.”
The service launched in Greater London in April, and had more than 250 sign-ups in the first month. They are looking to sign up over 300 in May and once a strong community is established in this area, the recruitment drive will be repeated region by region across the UK.
So how does the system work? With the emphasis on local, tradesmen are offered between three and five postcode districts, and one to nine categories, such as plumbing, heating, gas, solar, etc, depending on the level of membership, which starts at £15 per month.
Using unrivalled technology, CYP cuts out the middle man, leaving the customer to make direct contact with the registered tradesmen. Tradesmen are free to determine their own rates and CYP charges no commission or transaction fees for work done, just a basic monthly subscription.
A customer can make an informed decision in minutes by entering a postcode and a specific service request. Up to five tradesmen can be selected for a comparative display of key information, including VAT registration, trade memberships, certifications, experience, insurance details and customer feedback.
Tradesmen are prioritised by locality and hourly rate and, when selected for a job, they are notified via automated text message or by a direct phone call from the customer. So receiving a text or call from a customer means that the plumber has already been selected for a job.
CYP uses a unique traffic light system to manage availability allowing customers to see at a glance who is available for immediate call out and the status of a favourite plumber. The indicators can be set to green (immediately available) red (unavailable)
Gary Burns says: “No other similar websites offer access to emergency work in this way and because the service is local, no call-out fees need be charged, keeping the cost down for the customer and building a loyal customer base for the tradesman.”
Registered members are also given the opportunity to quote for regular contract work at no additional cost, subject to the right credentials. CYP has already signed up to work with over 600 letting agencies in the Greater London area with over 130,000 properties under management.
Commercial customers are offered a free service including credit facilities, scheduled maintenance and Gas Safe certification, one consolidated and analysed monthly invoice and an 0800 number for tenants to use at evenings and weekends. Gary Burns continues: “We manage all the billing and collections on behalf of our members on a monthly basis for this service and unsurprisingly, it’s proving very popular with agents.
“We want to ensure that there will be plenty of work for our members and we’ve spent the last six months signing up letting agents providing access to emergency call outs as well as routine maintenance work. Our team is adding to these on a daily basis so we are constantly growing our property portfolio.”
Membership of this community marketplace guarantees to minimise a tradesman’s operating costs, through the provision of a whole range of free business benefits, put together specifically for plumbers by plumbers in an inclusive promotional package for just £25 a month.
Included free in the promotion is a business management software package worth over £100 a month, which can record jobs and estimates, manage customer information, prepare VAT returns and schedule appointments. Free use of credit card payment facilities is also offered and will save members at least £30 a month on hand-held costs. CYP will bank all credit card receipts within 14 days.
CYP doesn’t expect to be the only source of work for its members, so to help tradesmen attract their own customers they offer a free a web development and hosting service during the six month promotional period.
Michael Ince from Ability Plumbers was one of the first tradesmen to join up and his first job was worth over £4,500.00. He’s now benefiting from a drip feed of regular work and says: “I was a bit sceptical at first, as some of these websites don’t deliver what they promise, but CYP is quite different. In my first month I paid £25 for 5 postcode areas for plumbing and heating jobs and recouped the money within the first week.”
Gary Burns believes the success of the membership site depends upon building trust and reliability with both members and customers. He says: “The service is designed with earning loyalty in mind. We offer an extraordinary service in exchange for members placing their trust in us, with the main focus on helping them build up a loyal customer base from the service.”
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Issued by Esplin PR, a no-nonsense public relations and communications service using common sense and creativitiy to help position a brand, business or person in front of the people they want to reach and in the places they want to be seen.