Article first written in Which? Trusted Trader
We talked to Chris Hopkins, managing director and founder of Ploughcroft Ltd, to find out more about the December 2016 Which? Trusted trader of the month.
Ploughcroft Ltd is a roofing company, set up by Chris Hopkins and his wife Helen in 2012. Thanks to some inventive flair, a lot of hard work and some great customer service, four years on they have more than 20 employees and two apprentices, and are looking to expand beyond their West Yorkshire base. The cherry on the cake has to be winning December 2016’s Which? Trusted trader of the month.
Chris started out as a roofer at the age of 16, later working as an energy assessor – using thermal-imaging cameras to track heat loss from buildings. He brought his experience from both areas to his new company, Ploughcroft Ltd, which specialises in eco roofing.
Chris describes himself as a ‘wacky entrepreneur’, taking a non-traditional approach to the roofing industry. Ploughcroft Ltd’s team works on regular roofing jobs too, but eco roofing is its speciality. Chris says: ‘Most roofers have one aim, to keep the rain out. I never understood why, when they had the opportunity, they weren’t interested in keeping the heat in.’
Chris saw things a bit differently. Using the understanding gained from working as a heating assessor, he designed a thermal blanket that could be fitted across the roof structure while the roof was being repaired. Chris has trademarked the product and refers to it as ‘the roof that pays for itself’, as it should save you enough on heating bills over 10 years to completely cover the cost of its installation.
Business is booming, and Chris now aims to bring the technology right across Yorkshire and over the Pennines into Lancashire.
Ploughcroft Ltd joined Which? Trusted Traders in September 2015. Chris said it felt like a natural fit, as it’s a professional company that cares about its presentation, product and customer service.
Helen agreed. ‘We try to be better than the average roofer. Our industry has a very poor reputation for customer service. It can be intimidating to get traders into your house, especially for the older generation. We work mostly with domestic customers, and we pride ourselves on how we treat them. Right from the initial contact, we build a rapport and carry that through to the end of the contract.’
She adds: ‘Being a Which? Trusted trader gives us increased credibility. Which? is one of the brands people look for when they’re searching for reviews. Having reviews on the Which? Trusted Traders site means customers trust that they’re genuine, ie what people actually think.’
Chris has found that being a Which? Trusted trader has made a huge difference to the business in terms of the number of sales conversions he makes. ‘Before joining the scheme it was one in ten,’ he says. ‘With Which? Trusted Traders that has gone up to one in three.’
Ploughcroft Ltd won the Which? Trusted trader of the month award thanks to the way the company really embraces the scheme. Chris said: ‘As soon as I realised that conversion was easier with Which? Trusted Traders, it was a no-brainer to push the brand.’ Helen added: ‘We consciously try to put the Which? Trusted Traders brand on everything.’ The team also makes excellent use of social media, and is getting lots of great reviews on the Which? Trusted Traders site.
Chris is delighted with Ploughcroft Ltd’s success as Which? Trusted trader of the month, and is keen to win again (it is possible) and keep the momentum going. Many congratulations to Chris and all the team at Ploughcroft Ltd – December 2016’s Which? Trusted trader of the month.