Trusted Tradespeople

Sorry about the hiatus yesterday folks – sometimes the whole Internet thing is beyond me.

Back today though, with sundry items gleaned from my pleasingly, if embarrassingly full, virtual mail bag. Apologies once again if I haven’t got to your question/comment/suggestion yet – I AM getting through them, I promise…

First off, two items that arrived in the same mail delivery. One from a local tradesman wanting to be included in The Phantom’s Black Book of Trusted Tradespeople. I get these requests increasingly and each time I explain how it works – that because it’s not a listings page, but a personal recommendations section, I have some very tough criteria for getting into it.

It was pretty much the same answer I gave to Kate, who is from the other side of the problem – someone looking for trusted tradespeople and who is sad that the list isn’t longer.

So I thought I’d remind you guys about the page – and ask for contributions, however tough I might make it for you to do so…

My criteria for getting into the Black Book are these:

1) That they have done an excellent job – not just a bog-standard or an acceptable one.

2) That the work has been done either for me, my personal friends (hey – it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to…) or people who comment regularly (non-anonymously) on the blog – those lovely people who take the trouble to read and say something often enough for me to know who they are.

My reasons are simple. Although the Golden Rule is always caveat emptor, really amazing tradespeople deserve to be recommended and if you’re like Kate, who’s newly arrived in the area, or you’re new to getting people in to do stuff, you can make some horrific mistakes (believe me, I speak from experience.) There are dozens of listings pages online – but they’re usually paid-for adverts. I like to think that people read this blog because it’s personal. I want the Black Book to be personal too.

If you’re a tradesperson included in my page, it is not because you’ve been cold-called by someone offering to make it look like you’ve been ‘specially chosen’ or has told you that you’ve ‘won an award’ – you won’t have paid a penny to be included.

I would rather have a really short list with just a few brilliant people on it, than a comprehensive manual with no quality control.

On the other hand, if there’s someone incredible out there, I want to know about them. The guy who contacted me this morning, landscape gardener Jon Stoller‘s work looks stunning from his website – and he tells me he has a long list of satisfied customers and references. The mere fact that he contacted me makes me warm to him (aw, c’mon, I can be flattered like everyone else…) But I have to treat everyone the same if I want the page to be any kind of use at all. So – if you’ve had a garden created by Jon and you thought he was great, please tell me. Ditto other tradespeople. Drop me an email – I’d love to hear from you.

And please don’t be sore because I’ve made it so hard. You’ll thank me if you ever come to need someone…


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