How Checkatrade lost its credibility

Checkatrade’s concept is very simple; advertise trustworthy tradesmen to people looking for them. Whilst the website is still popular, it’s easy to argue that Checkatrade has lost credibility both amongst tradesmen and consumers, thus potentially spelling murky waters in the coming future.

So what has caused this?

Too many tradesmen

Despite their apparent appeal being the quality of the tradesmen they list, Checkatrade seems more than happy for anyone to join their website, resulting in an oversaturated marketplace.

Even if I narrow my search to be within a mile of my home, there are more tradesmen listed than necessary.

Without an element of exclusivity, Checkatrade is pretty much identical to any other directory.

Unclear quality ratings

In addition to the sheer quantity of tradesmen on Checkatrade, deciphering which are actually worth hiring isn’t made any easier by Checkatrade’s rating system, which seems to rate everyone above 9/10.

Checkatrade’s rating system isn’t a particularly fair one, though.

Any reviews that are submitted need to be verified for them to go live, and you can’t simply “submit a review” onto a tradesman’s page. Additionally, as the review information is submitted to the tradesman directly, there’s pressure on the customer to be more favourable.

As a result, a plumber who is 3 stars on Google (6/10) can get a 10/10 rating on Checkatrade. Or a builder who commonly overprices work or doesn’t complete the job can easily be rated over 9/10 (because they’ll cherry pick the reviews left on their profile).

As a result, Checkatrade’s ability to keep people using the website after the first time is questionable.

Increased listing costs

For the tradesmen themselves, Checkatrade continues to be an uphill battle.

The oversaturated listings combined with the expensive fees has made many tradesmen leave the Checkatrade.

These don’t tend to be the “cowboy” tradesmen who are leaving, and are probably those who have a reputation for their quality work elsewhere (or have good marketing outside Checkatrade) so can afford to not be listed.

The future of Checkatrade…

With tradesmen leaving the site and the trustworthiness of the website becoming more questionable, Checkatrade’s future doesn’t seem particularly clear.

Potentially the website will survive as a simple directory, but even as a directory it still lacks the review transparency of other websites.

My guess would be that another website that operates in a similar way to Checkatrade will replace it in the coming future, or Checkatrade will just become irrelevant.

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