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Recently we hit a big landmark in the history of MyBuilder. Vin Patel, of Ohm Electrical, became the first tradesman to reach 500 positive online reviews. We were so excited by this that went out to surprise Vin while he was at a customers’ house.

After losing his job contracting, Vin went back to his first love by training as an electrician. We asked Vin about the secret to his success and he was more than happy to give some advice as to how he has achieved so much in just three short years.

Even though Vin now has a record number of feedback, he still recalls how hard it was to get started on MyBuilder, “I only had a couple of references and no feedback.” He decided on a novel approach to winning his first job, by offering a no satisfaction, no fee policy for his first customer. “I said to them ‘give me a chance, if you’re not happy don’t pay me.’”

Although Vin knows the first few months with MyBuilder can be tough, it’s important that you shouldn’t give up. “Keep showing interest in leads and the success will come”, he said, “…but also make sure not to compromise on your pricing, after all, you have to make a living.”

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For the best chance of winning jobs on MyBuilder, Vin suggests responding to each new lead as soon as possible. When visiting, give a thorough explanation of what needs to be done and provide a detailed quote. These straight-forward steps will put you on the path to success.

Vin always ensures he communicates with his clients if things don’t go to plan, warning that the alternative can often lead to negative feedback. If things are going over-budget or you don’t feel comfortable completing the work, Vin believes it’s best to be upfront with the customer as soon as possible to reach an agreeable solution.

Once a job is completed, Vin ensures that the customer is absolutely happy with the work before leaving. “I will ask a number of questions, even down to details like the presentation of my team. I make eye contact when asking my client, then I can be confident they will leave feedback soon.” Finally he then chases up for feedback via text, email or through the MyBuilder messaging system.

Vin showing off his gift from MyBuilder

Vin showing off his gift from MyBuilder

It’s no surprise that Vin is a committed member of MyBuilder, he believes it delivers great value for money. “One of the huge positives of using MyBuilder is the work they do to make sure tradesmen come high in the Google ranking. It’s difficult to be noticed on the internet but my profile gets a lot of attention and even results in people ringing me directly after seeing my feedback.”

Vin is aware there are lots of other great tradesmen on the site who would love to steal his crown, but he has no intention of slowing down. Not content with reaching 500 feedback, he now has his eyes on 1000 feedback. Congratulations and good luck Vin!

Find a tradesman like Vin in your area today

Far too often, the media and press like to stereotype tradesmen as ‘cowboy builders’ or ‘rogue traders’. But we know from experience that most tradespeople are the complete opposite!

From the sheer volume of great positive feedback reviews posted to our site daily, MyBuilder can see that a lot of tradesmen love their job.

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day we thought we would try to find out more…

For the five days leading up to Valentine’s Day we asked tradesmen what they loved about their job and the response was huge. Almost 700 tradesmen posted on our Facebook page to let us know why they love what they do.

One question we asked our tradesmen was “What is the best job you have ever worked on?” – we had so many great responses.

Clare Brown from Decisions Made said she thinks the best part of being a painter and decorator is transforming a house into a home. “Making an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. A finished product can lift somebody’s mood. The best is when the client cries with joy, I’ve had a couple of those!”

But it wasn’t just the work that mattered, a lot of tradesmen said the best jobs were the ones that had a wider impact on the customer. Greg Adamson wrote, “As a heating engineer I take great satisfaction in restoring peoples heating when it fails. Especially if they’re older or vulnerable. It’s one of the many trades/professions that really make a real difference to people’s lives and health. The feeling you get when you resolve the issue is indescribable.”

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Almost 200 tradesmen let us know what their most cherished tool is…

“My most cherished tool is my Grandad, I was his apprentice so without him I would never have learned my trade.”  - Davie Curl, Tiling Solutions.

“My most treasured tool has to be the Stanley hand plane I won as an apprentice 27 years ago for apprentice of the year. It’s never been out of the box.” – Matt Stevenson Carpentry & Joinery services.

“A wallpaper hanging brush which is worn down and not suitable to use, it belonged to my dad who got me into the decorating business. I’ll never throw it away, it’s got too many memories” – Mick Morgan, Handy Devils.

And we received over 150 photos of jobs that tradesmen are most proud of. There was a lot of impressive work posted!

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When asking our trades why their customers love them, Russell Tullis said “I think it’s the fact I go and see every customer to discuss and quote for work, or it may simply be because I always leave properties as clean I as found them – if not tidier”.

Nic Forbes George also explained how he makes sure he is flexible on weekends and evenings at no extra cost. He also always asks the customer if they are happy before he leaves a job as customer satisfaction is “number one” for his company, as well as honesty around pricing.

“A happy customer makes me happy” expressed Warren Schmid of W Schmid Landscapes. He said he treats every job as though he was doing it on his own home and wants to make sure the customer is “very happy” when he’s left.

Over the week we received a lot of heartwarming and sentimental comments from tradesmen all over the UK, who regularly go above and beyond for their customers. Not only that – but they are clearly extremely passionate about what they do, taking the utmost pride in their work.

We think these comments prove that for all the talk of cowboy builders, there are plenty of tradespeople that are hardworking, charitable and above all, great people.

Want a tradesperson who loves their trade? Hire a tradesman today!

Recently I caught up with Nick Kilshaw from Kentish Builder, February’s tradesman of the month. Receiving 250 positive feedback with MyBuilder over a five year period means Nick is well placed to give great advice to both homeowners and tradesmen. He offered us some tips on maintaining a healthy working relationship during the course of a project.

If you’ve got any great advice for creating a great working atmosphere please add a comment below.

Give as much information as possible when you post a job, then you’ll get a committed tradesman

With a MyBuilder job, if the homeowner doesn’t give enough detail I don’t know if I can help them or not. You don’t need to know specialist terms, but I need to know some detail. With a garden wall for example, it can be as simple as “I need a wall 10m long and a metre wide, I want all the footings done, brick on edge.” That gives me a decent indication, and I’ll know how to help. You’ll get more tradesmen interested in your job if they know they can give it their full commitment.

Nick Kilshaw from Kentish Builder

Nick Kilshaw from Kentish Builder

“There’s no substitute for seeing the job”

I lost money on the very first job I won through MyBuilder because I sent a quote over after seeing a photo on the job page. Now 99% of the time I will go and see the customer and the site before sending my quote over. Viewing the job is beneficial to both sides and will mean a better understanding of the job in hand and a more realistic quote, with less trouble down the line.

“Keep to agreements”

It’s important to get an agreement in writing, when I send my quote it says what I’m going to do exactly, otherwise any adjustments can cause friction. During the job, if the customer wants to make a big change then we can come to a new agreement, while little changes throughout aren’t as much of an issue. Timing is important too, if I say I will send a quote to the customer then I’ll make sure it’s in their inbox just a couple of hours later.

“Make sure both parties are comfortable with each other”

Sometimes a homeowner and tradesman aren’t right for each other, this can be down to differences in personality or personal tastes. If something doesn’t seem right it’s easier to part ways before the work begins. For example, one client didn’t want to pay for stone slabs, so she bought indoor floor-tiles instead, it would’ve been like an ice-rink!

If alarm bells ring, I will say “sorry, but you’re better off getting somebody else”, it’s important both parties feel they can work with the other.

A driveway and wall completed by Nick

A driveway and wall completed by Nick

“I stick to what I know”

Homeowners often make the mistake of hiring a tradesman for one job, then giving them another project which is beyond their capability – this is a recipe for disaster. A handyman probably won’t have the qualifications to replace a bathroom. I won’t do anything I don’t have the skills for, this means I am proud of all the work I complete. If you need a different trade, post a new job on MyBuilder.

“Feedback benefits both parties, for tradesmen that’s what wins them their next job”

I ask customers to be honest, and if possible to mention trust within the feedback. If a customer leaves me with their house and keys all week, I’ll ask them to put that in there as I think that’s important to share. After all, my reputation is built on my clients.

Do you agree with Nick? Or have any pointers for a healthy working relationship between client and builder? Tell us your experience, leave us a comment on the blog.

Post a job today to find qualified tradesmen like Nick.

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At MyBuilder we know our tradesmen love their job and really care about their work, so we want to give something back!

With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, we want to hear why you love what you do. Join us on Facebook every day this week to be in with a chance of winning one of 150 limited edition #ILoveMyTrade t-shirts.

Enter on Facebook now

Good luck!

Ben & Hannah
Community Team

By entering the competition, you agree to these terms & conditions:

  • Competition is open to all MyBuilder trade members
  • Entries accepted between 7.30am and 4pm each day between 9th-13th February
  • Tradesmen can enter every day, but can only win one t-shirt each
  • Draw will be made at 4pm each day and winners will be contacted via email
  • All decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into

Last week I met with Russell Tullis, a carpenter from Nuneaton who is our tradesman of the month. Russell has been with the site for over six years and in that time has gained a mountain of feedback so positive that one client went as far as comparing him to Jesus!

Russell stands with a pergola completed for a client.

Russell stands with a pergola completed for a client.

Meeting our tradesman of the month

Russell began working as a carpenter in an accidental fashion after a neighbour was completing some work on a barn conversion. Back in 2006 he was working in transport but after a chance meeting with the foreman of his neighbours job, he found his calling. Russell went on to join MyBuilder in 2008 and has amassed 88 positive feedback comments from customers he has met on the site, so it was a pleasure to go and check out some of his work in person.

When I arrived, what really excited me about this property was not only the quality of the work, but the versatility that Russell had displayed on the numerous projects he had undertaken for the client. In the six short months after they had moved in Russell had knocked through their kitchen/diner, created a beautiful pergola and was now putting the finishing touches on a new summer house.

Russell enjoys being a tradesman because of the variety in each new job he takes on. Even if there are similarities, he still sees a challenge, ‘no two flooring or extension jobs are the same’. A lot of his success could be chalked down to his attention to detail, ‘I’m anal like that, someone might think some skirting looks OK from a few feet away but I want to make sure it’s perfect’.

Putting the finishing touches on a summer house.

Putting the finishing touches on a summer house.

Finding the right tradesman for your job

I asked him his advice on hiring the right tradesman for the job. He explained that he always paid a visit to the client before pricing up the job, this gives both parties a chance to get to know each other and build up some trust from the start. He also thinks it can save time, ‘often clients think they might need ten different people in when just a couple of tradesmen will suffice’.

When it comes to hiring the right tradesman, Russell trusts in online reviews. ‘MyBuilder feedback can only be given by customers who have previously hired a tradesman. Go and read the reviews before making a decision’.

I couldn’t help asking what the homeowner intended to do with the beautiful summer house that overlooked the Warwickshire countryside. He plans to put a 25 foot model railway in there, what a fantastic use of space!

MyBuilder has over 11,000 tradesmen like Russell who are ready to help you with your home improvement project. Visit the site to post your job for free today.

Check out Russell’s profile

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All year long our tradesmen work hard hard to please their clients. We recently heard from Anthony Lunt from Liverpool who was eager to meet the Christmas deadline for his clients, which shows that while everyone else is winding down tradesmen are still working away to make their customers’ happy. We want to give a little something back to treat our tradesmen.

Starting today, we’re giving away a bunch of prizes on our Facebook page as a little way to say thank you. The competition is called the 12 Trades of Christmas and couldn’t be simpler to enter.

12 Trades, 12 questions.

Each day we’ll be asking a question, the first 150 tradesmen to answer a question correctly will receive one of our limited edition MyBuilder mugs. At the end of the competition, tradesmen with the MOST correct answers will be entered into our prize draw.

Prizes

At the end of the competition one lucky winner will receive a complete Scruffs workwear outfit, a christmas hamper full of festive food and drink and a year’s supply of tea. Two runners-up will also win a complete Scruffs workwear outfit!

Enter the competition now!

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By entering the competition, you agree to these terms & conditions:

  • Competition is open to all MyBuilder trade members
  • Entries accepted between 1st December at 8am and 13th December at 6pm
  • One competition entry per trade member
  • Draw will be made on Monday 15th December and winners will be contacted via email
  • All decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into