Tradesmen comparison & review sites, a help or a hindrance?
Well lets start with the basics. These sites dominate the pages of search engines and leave very little room for real tradesmen companies to rank well on searches. Most are big profit driven companies that somehow seem to want to tax the real working tradesmen for their hard earned money, giving them very little in return. We are now seeing more and more popping up on our search results, far more than anyone could possibly need. This is because it is a lucrative profit driven industry, one that is over subscribed and one that has tradesmen and customers alike thinking that they somehow serve a greater good. This couldn't be further from the truth, they could in fact be ruining the industry and ruining small business. Today, these sites are over loaded with all sorts of different tradesmen, from tilers to plasterers, painters and decorators, carpenters, landscape gardeners and handymen to name a few, which make for a very difficult time to be competitive and get back what you are expecting from them. This usually results in very few referrals for most tradesmen who subscribe to such services, expecting to build their customer base and profits, alot of the time, with very few results. The unfortunate part is, even if you do end up with a few referrals, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to bag the job over your competitor who is also haggling for the same customer, by this time you have already been charged for the referral, doesn't seem a very fair process does it? Tradesmen are forced to lower their prices just to compete against one another on these sites, this is not necessarily a good thing for the customer, as they may then decide to cut corners to make it more financially viable and it is most definitely not good for business. Who's to say that all of the companies that you are competing with on these sites are even reputable? Some tradesmen comparison sites allow the customer to offer a price they're willing to pay for a particular piece of work they need doing. Many tradesmen who have registered with those type of comparison sites complain that a lot of customers who use them offer well below an acceptable amount for the work that is required and sometimes compare it to an ebay type of environment where everyone wants something for next to nothing, yet you still have to pay these comparison sites whether you are chosen by the customer or not. Some may even call it exploitation from big companies trying to muscle in on small business in a market that is basically feared, caused by the likes of cowboys, which real tradesmen resent to the fullest, they are cowboys full stop, they're not tradesmen nor are they builders.
Ultimately you will have to decide for yourself if tradesmen comparison sites are for you and your business but keep an open mind, they're most certainly not for everyone.
Check out what some actual tradesmen think of comparison sites on an impartial business forum below...