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  • Posted by Steve Playle Friday Jun 23, 2017

Jack of all trades – master of none?

If you’re having some major building work carried out on your property such as an extension, the chances are that you will use a variety of tradespeople to carry out the work. A builder will sort out the brickwork and the roof, an electrician will wire you up, a plasterer will finish off the interior walls and ceiling and a plumber will sort out any water supply and waste pipes. It is quite unusual to find someone who will be competent at doing everything that you need to a high standard.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Friday Jun 16, 2017

5 things you probably didn’t know about TrustMark tradesmen

Many customers who have done their research or perhaps been burnt at the hands of a rogue trader in the past come to us saying that they want a TrustMark tradesperson because they know they are reputable and want someone trustworthy. Others may not know where to turn to find a quality trader which isn’t surprising when there are so many possible places to look – and how do you know you can really trust someone anyway?

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Monday Jun 12, 2017

Picking the right property as a First Time Buyer

If you’re in the powerful position of being a first-time buyer after saving hard, perhaps for many years then you’re now able to move quickly when you spot the right property. But having the luxury of choice is both a blessing and a curse. Knowing when to take the plunge and commit to the biggest financial decision of your life so far might mean you keep putting it off, meanwhile the housing market could be getting stronger and you can no longer afford what you were looking at all those months ago.

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Wednesday Jun 07, 2017

Scales of Justice have been locked away for good?

When I first came into a career in Trading Standards over 30 years ago – in fact, well over 30 years ago – a fair proportion of my work was based around the enforcement of the Weights and Measures Act. In actual fact, the Trading Standards profession was born out of the role of Inspectors of Weights and Measures, originally appointed by Acts of Parliament way back in the 1830s. Their work was mainly concerned with checking the physical weights, measures and scales used by traders.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Tuesday May 30, 2017

Spot a rogue trader from a mile away

With the internet at our disposal, we have full reign for finding tradespeople at the click of a few buttons. Time is scarce and finding someone quickly and cheaply Is often high on our priority list. But what could save you time and money at first could end up costing you much more of both, taking months or even years to rectify if you become the victim of a cowboy builder. With some simple steps you can save yourself time and money with the reassurance you have found someone fit for the job.

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Friday May 19, 2017

Have a complaint? Instead of reaching for a metaphorical revolver, try using Resolver!

Over the last few years, my blog has provided advice on what to do when things go wrong with a home improvement or repair contract that you may have entered into. The main theme of my advice has always been about communication – being clear with the trader about the nature of the problem, what you would like them to do to put it right and when it should be completed by.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Tuesday May 16, 2017

TrustMark jumps at the chance to sky dive for charity

On 3rd June, 7 of us will be throwing ourselves out of a plane at 10,000ft in aid of a great cause. We’ll be raising money for our local charity of choice, FareShare. Their efforts are spent redistributing surplus food that is of perfectly good quality but would otherwise go to waste, to those who need it most.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Friday May 12, 2017

Getting paid on time

TrustMark receives calls day-in day-out from tradespeople with disputes over payments with their customers, and of course, we also get many calls from customers withholding payment because they have cause for concern over the work carried out. Efforts to keep both you and your customers happy and protected has probably up until now been rather fruitless. But there is good news which will stop things getting to this awkward stage, and what’s more there is a low-cost way that you can stabilise your income, which your customers will thank you for!

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Monday May 08, 2017

Unsolicited phone calls ring any bells?

Those of us with mobile phones are now conditioned to the steady stream of speculative calls received from anonymous call centres. Sometimes they say we can claim compensation for a recent car accident and sometimes they say we can get big cash payments after signing up for payment protection insurance on an old loan or credit card.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Friday Apr 21, 2017

Spring gardening for renters

April has been a scorcher so far and It’s looking hopeful for a long, fantastic British summer. One thing that does need a bit of TLC before the summer arrives however is my garden. I live in a rented property, which means the garden has lacked a lot of care and attention for goodness knows how long before I moved in.

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Thursday Apr 13, 2017

Think safety first when reaching new heights

It’s that time of year again when the sap is rising, the days are getting longer, temperatures are increasing and the prospect of a four day Easter break means that there is time to carry out some DIY. The external paintwork of your home may be looking cracked and flaky and a few days up a ladder may be required.

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Friday Mar 31, 2017

Time to sell your home?

Now that spring has sprung with the daffodils coming through and trees in full blossom, some of us are thinking about moving home. It may be due to a growing family, caused by a new job in a different part of the country or maybe a downsizing exercise after children have finally moved out. Either way, selling your home can be an extremely intimidating and daunting task.


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  • Posted by Steve Playle Wednesday Mar 15, 2017

Navigating the legislative maze for new businesses

Home maintenance businesses that know about trading standards law and the obligations that they have to their customers are far more likely to succeed in the long term. They are going to treat their customers fairly, provide good service and probably generate more work through recommendations. This applies to the smallest sole trader right up to the biggest multi nationals.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Friday Mar 10, 2017

Spruce up your bedroom décor in National Sleep Awareness Week.

This week is National Sleep Awareness week which means there’s one thing on our minds: bed! So how can you make sure you have a sound night’s sleep? It might be time to spruce up your dated bedroom décor and give it some loving care and attention.

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  • Posted by Ansuya Solanki Monday Mar 06, 2017

Bringing the outdoors in

Many of this year’s biggest interior trends are driven by a desire to reconnect with nature and take a more organic, authentic approach to design. Reflective of the increasing focus on both health consciousness and our environmental impact, these trends encourage you to disconnect from technology, providing some much needed balance and the opportunity to reflect and rejuvenate.

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Friday Mar 03, 2017

Cancelling contracts and dealing with the fallout

Our lives are governed by contracts - even though we may not always realise it. Every time we buy something in a shop, get a new mobile phone, take a holiday, sign up for a new energy supplier or accept a new job, there is a contract behind it.

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  • Posted by Louise Cook Tuesday Feb 28, 2017

Don’t let your home improvements flop this pancake day

Today is the last Tuesday in February, which means it’s also Pancake day! Hundreds of thousands of householders in the UK will be descending on their kitchens today to make these delicious treats. Making yummy puds in the kitchen should be something you enjoy, but if you feel that your kitchen isn’t a part of your home you enjoy being in, it may be time to give it some TLC.

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  • Posted by Steve Playle Tuesday Feb 21, 2017

Diminishing resources but continuing consumer protection

Property maintenance scams that target elderly and vulnerable householders are not unusual. There is a hard core of rogue businesses out there who sadly see the elderly as ‘fair game’ when it comes to carrying out their work. I use the term ‘work’ in the most tenuous way – it is often not actually necessary, it is always carried out to an appalling standard and it is prohibitively and criminally over priced.

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  • Posted by Simon Ayers Friday Feb 10, 2017

How valuable is accreditation for small businesses?

It can be difficult to quantify the value of joining an accreditation body for your sector of business when there are so many around and they all claim to offer more or less the same services. Joining fees are often high, and you can never really judge how much business you are getting as a result of an accreditation. Getting lost in the vast amount of information available might make you regret looking into it in the first place

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TrustMark's blog features tips, advice and inspiration for homeowners on all repair and home improvement issues and showcases some of the best projects our registered tradespeople have worked on.

With insight from our expert contributors, including Trading Standards expert Steve Playle, we hope you enjoy our blog and are able to take away helpful information and be inspired to do work on your homes.