Over 8,800 tradesmen have signed up to Onlinetradesmen.com since the site launched two years ago, with nearly 10pc of these having joined since September 2007.
Builders, plumbers and electricians are the tradespeople who are joining in the greatest numbers.
Since September 2007, 900 new members have joined, with 185 of these being builders, 134 plumbers and 116 qualified electricians.
The site was set up to help property owners source professional tradesmen in their locality.
This switch to the internet represents a significant change of attitude within a sector that has, up until now, largely relied on word of mouth and traditional forms of advertising to promote their businesses, according to Onlinetradesmen.com
“The internet as a medium for connecting Irish property owners with qualified trade professionals in has now come of age” commented Ted Laverty, managing director of Onlinetradesmen.com. “The recent slump in the construction sector has resulted in a marked increase of trade professionals looking online in order to combat flagging sales. Since 2006, the Onlinetradesmen.com service has processed in excess of 85,000 building and home improvement projects nationwide and now Irish tradespeople and builders are beginning to realise that they ignore the internet as a sales tool at their peril.”
Members of the service are provided with an online account from which they can create and publish their own business website, access local job leads generated by property owners in their area and avail of discounts on tools, materials and a range of business services. They can also opt to receive all job leads to their mobile phones, while onsite, to which they can create instant replies.
“We’ve taken the MySpace and Facebook model, adapted it for business use and empowered qualified tradesmen and builders with the tools they need to win business online,” said Laverty.
“Ultimately the property owner benefits as well. Before hiring anyone, they can browse each respondent’s website, view pictures of their work and read previous customer reviews online.”
By Niall Byrne