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Find a painter – ideas to consider

Listed under Blog, Marketing Posted Oct 01 2008

How to find a painter and decorator? This must be a nightmare question for members of the public who move into a new area and don’t know anyone to ask for a reliable reference. The first port of call is usually a business directory of trades.

Find a painter through Yellow Pages

In days of olde, there was Yellow Pages, a telephone-style directory of local businesses. It was delivered free through every door, once a year. It looked impressive and trustworthy. However, for most customers, Yellow Pages represented a glorified lottery, because there were no checks and balances about the integrity of the advertisers. The more a company paid, the better their ad looked. Hardly a reflection of the quality of their service

Online trade directory

Nowadays, online directories are especially useful for customers looking for a painter. In the US there is White Pages.com an online version of the Yellow Pages. There is even a mobile version of the White Pages, courtesy of Google. In the UK, Yell.com is the online business directory many turn to.

In the internet age, each entry is compiled by the business, and there is a whole raft of options to make ads stand out even more than the basics. The entries are easy to search. The bottom line though, is that, just like the paper version, many listed businesses are still not vetted for integrity. There are checks and balances gradually coming online, however, that may eventually give potential customers some peace of mind.

Online reviews

The beauty of the internet is that anyone can air their opinion. And by and large, if you look at Amazon as an example, people give truthful reviews about products and services, and they review in sufficient numbers to give you confidence in your choices.

The online Yellow Pages family has the facility to accept reviews, and in theory, the more it is used, the better the quality of reviews to help the public make an informed choice of trades people.

Business websites

Rather than glossy catalogues, company websites can provide literally unlimited info about a company. The marketing aim is to drive traffic to your website. One option is a £220 priority ad on Yell.com with a link back to your website, to help customers gain further insight into a business. Of course, a business website may or may not be useful or truthful, but for the public, it is a big improvement on a simple ad in a directory.

Conclusion about How to Find a Painter

The bottom line, directories are a starting point for members of the public looking for a trades person to employ. Whether online or in a hard copy directory, the info on display is basic and needs to be verified. Reviews are a good start, but the best way forward for anyone looking for a good painter, is a personal recommendation

Other tradesmen are usually the most reliable in terms of an opinion on technical expertise of other decorators. We see things that homeowners maybe don’t. If you want to know if a decorator is trustworthy, and clean and tidy at work, you ideally seek the opinion of a trusted friend who is a previous client.

Update 2020

In 1886, when Reuben H. Donnelley established the first classified telephone directory advertising, he helped create an entire industry that we know as the Yellow Pages


Yellow Pages in book form is now obsolete in the UK. January 2019, the final edition was delivered. The online alternative is Yell.com, but options for promoting a decorating business have been multiplying over the years.

Review site options

Google Local Search spawned Google Reviews. You find a business and start writing a review. I am not sure that this is a reliable way to collect reviews! Primarily, reviews on Google Local will bolster a business’ ranking in the search index. In other words, there is an incentive to fudge Google reviews, for businesses to create their own reviews. The law says reviewers should disclose their connection to a company, but that doesn’t always happen. Self written reviews stand out like a sore thumb and decrease trust, the exact opposite of what a 3rd party testimony is supposed to do. I don’t believe Google are as clever as they say they when it comes to spotting fraudulent use of their platforms. They certainly need to rewrite a few algorithms.

Yelp have a policy not to allow businesses to ask their clients for reviews. They have a policy based on the logic that you are only going to ask happy clients for a review. Fair enough.

Facebook is the biggest social platform on earth. So many business people believe that having access to 2 billion bodies is good. Of course there is plenty of opportunity to spread good words about good work. Who knows how far a good review might travel. However, it costs to reach a big audience. And it can cost everything if disgruntled reviewers decide to take advantage of zero moderation. A business has little right to reply if someone decides to spread false words beyond their own Facebook account.

Reviews, a strategy to find a painter

Looking at how 3rd party review sites operate, I am not convinced by any of them. They are stood between the client and the business. Their policies are open to interpretation and the scale of their operations lends itself to unsolvable abuse. In my view, every business should have an open invitation to all their clients – If you have paid for our service, please post reviews, good or bad, on our website, before you post anywhere else.

Traditional Painters around the UK operate on that basis. See what homeowners who have employed one of our group have had to say. There are 2 negative reviews that I haven’t published. They are both disturbing personal attacks, and one isn’t even a client.

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