How often have you needed to call in a maintenance or home improvement expert, but not known who to call? It is all too easy to be bamboozled by the numerous advertisements in the Yellow Pages, when all you really need is a tried, tested, trustworthy tradesman who comes with a recommendation.
Now, thanks to the brainchild of husband and wife team Alison and Mark Wilmot in Bristol and Bath, householders can ‘find a tradesperson’, and feel safe in the knowledge that they will provide a quality service. Alison saw the opportunity when she was running her lifestyle management business ‘Find me Time’ in January 2004. Whilst organising the lives of her busy clients she discovered the difficulty in finding reliable trades people. To solve the problem she invited local carpet cleaners, renovators, utility providers and plumbers to join her network. ‘Find me a Tradesperson’ consists of 30 highly reputable trades’ people; all interviewed and vetted by Alison and all able to provide impressive references from satisfied customers. Through word of mouth and a professional website Alison puts people buying and selling services in touch with each other. For making the introductions Alison charges a fee, depending on the value of work that is generated.
The business relies heavily on marketing and creating local awareness. In April 2004, having found radio advertising ‘hit and miss’ and that people threw away marketing flyers in the middle of newspapers, Alison selected DOR-2-DOR to deliver her marketing material and the rest as they say, is history. To date, DOR-2-DOR has delivered a staggering 350,000 postcards on behalf of ‘Find me a tradesperson’, with good returns.
As well as the results she has seen from her letterbox marketing campaigns, Alison appreciates the flexibility and coverage that DOR-2-DOR provides. Householders keep the postcards on their fridge and the results can be immediate – as illustrated by one householder who is quoted as saying: “Your postcard just came through the door and I had to call.” Evenings can be busy, says Alison: “Typically people look at the flyer, go to our website and then call us with a service requirement.”
As well as attracting interest from householders, local traders have responded, with requests to join the network. The network support includes using each other’s business wherever possible, thus generating more business for all concerned. Alison enjoys the challenge and has a sense of achievement for what she has accomplished. Ever hands on, she regularly visits her trades persons and informally surveys their work, to maintain the quality of the service and the network of which she is justly proud. . Inspired by the success of her venture and passionate about looking after both her customers and her network, Alison is excited about the future. With a proven business model, plans may include franchising, meaning householders across the UK could readily access trades people they could trust.
Alison Wilson said:
“10 seconds is all the time you have to make an impression and marketing repetition has built our brand. A good proportion of income has come from DOR-2-DOR leafleting, without it we would not have half of the customers and trades people we have.”