This week we interviewed one of our very successful members – Neil Thompson of HomeWorks, about his business and how our service has helped it grow!

So tell us a little about your business

Well I’ve traded as HomeWorks over the last 6 years, dealing with a wide range of jobs. I mostly cover handyman services – Anything from hanging mirrors to renovation work!

Actually I just finished work on a renovation changing part of a customer’s garage into a utility room. It was a big job, involving fitting new worktops and custom building a framework for them, painting the walls, and reinstating water supply to a sink.

I think I enjoy jobs like this the most as they give me a lot of variety and allow me to plan the end result in my minds eye. I actually suggested a few things to the customer without increasing the cost to make things a bit more convenient for her, which she appreciated.

I also really appreciate the customer trust I’ve earned, on jobs like these the customer will often leave me the key while they’re busy, and the job will be completed and cleaned up by the time they get back!

Sounds great! So how successful has Checked and Vetted been for you?

I’d say the majority of my work has come through Checked and Vetted, though I think the thing that makes it work for me is my reviews. When new customers see the quality of my reviews and what people say about me, how they have used me again and so on – it really helps to get new customers to get in touch!

I think it shows my quality far better than any other kind of advertising! Having the reviews Independently verified I think gives my customers that extra layer of trust that what’s being said about me is true. Having the job report cards for older customers who prefer not to use a computer is great too, it really helps me build up reviews from those customers!

Having the C&V and trading standards logo on my business card and van really helps me display that trust people have for me and helps when I’m quoting for a new job. Plus, the signage on a van is also good advertising while on the job, people often come up to me and ask for a card. Again, the C&V and trading standards logo helps here! I definitely feel it sets you apart from other trades who aren’t members in a positive way.

I do often find if other members I talk to complain about the service they don’t seem to be proactive about seeing what they can do to use it properly – but the service is two way and it needs them to make an effort!

I think that’s definitely something important to understand about the service! How long have you been a member?

3-4 years now! Regularly go into the Durham guide, and as I’ve said, it works well for me!

Did you see results immediately or did it take time to build up reviews?

It took a little while to get my customers used to it, but once they got the hang of it the reviews stacked up – so now I have over 200 positive reviews!

Educating your customers about how important the reviews are definitely helps! What do you think is the most important thing you do to make the most of your membership?

I usually wait a week and then ring customers to check everything was alright with the job. At the same time I can remind them about the review and resend the link to do it if they’ve lost it or something. People leave busy lives, you’ve got to expect people to forget! I find a little friendly reminder is often appreciated as they did want to do it in the first place.

I’d also say you’ve got to be active – the more you put in, the more you get out. If you’re not chasing up report cards or uploading photos then you’re not making a good use of your investment!

We’ve definitely noticed our more active members are more successful! What is your favourite thing about being a member?

Getting a steady flow of enquiries! Though I’ve got to say I do enjoy reading my reviews too, when they go into depth saying nice things about you it really feels good to see!

I also think the service is good because it helps me maintain my standards. If there’s a minor markdown for something small it allows me to keep an eye out for it. This way I can improve and perfect what I do for the next customer, or the next time I do a job for them!

Fantastic! Well thank you Neil for spending the time to answer a few questions, and good luck with the next six years!

Not a problem!