The app will help builders and their customers to ask all the right questions and to have more confident conversations before agreeing work to be done in or around the home. It’s championed by Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon who also sees it as a valuable tool for Green Deal projects.
The consumer need for this app was highlighted when TrustMark commissioned research among 1,000 homeowners about their own experiences when using a tradesman to quote for a job in or around the home. The report revealed that over half of British homeowners said they forget to ask the right questions when they invite tradesmen into their homes to quote for a job, and almost one in five forgets to ask a really important question.
Liz Male, chairman of TrustMark, says: “We understand that communication is vital to a good working relationship between a homeowner and a tradesman so we designed the ‘talk to your tradesman’ app to encourage more confident conversations. The checklist approach helps people ask questions that they might otherwise feel a bit awkward about, but which are essential when considering employing a firm and agreeing the work in question.
In 11 easy steps, the app creates an instant record of the conversation. It prompts questions and provides advice at every stage telling you what to look out for and your consumer rights. “You can record what is agreed using text, photos and record a brief audio note, and then email a copy to yourself and the tradesman. You can compare notes on the firms you see. And if you’re not intending to draw up a proper contract when the job goes ahead, this is probably the next best thing. It’s a valuable safeguard for all builders and their customers,” said Male.
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, who launched the new app said: “The majority of work carried out by our trades is done to a very high standard. TrustMark has been successfully providing consumers with an impartial assessment of the standards of local tradespeople, to help them make informed decisions when hiring contractors to improve their homes.
“The new application that has been launched provides another useful tool to consumers by bringing TrustMark’s expert guidance directly to householders through the latest innovative channels.
The TrustMark app is free and available for iPhones from today, with additional versions for other smartphones coming later this year. To download the app, follow the link from www.trustmark.org.uk/apps. A paper copy of the questions and guidance is also available to download from www.trustmark.org.uk/apps/print/.