Friends launch intermediary between tradespeople and customers – that holds payments while work is done

An online platform has been created to help ensure tradespeople always get paid on time for a job well done.

Pay The Trades is described a revolutionary escrow service that acts as an intermediary between tradespeople and their customers – holding onto payments while work is carried out.

Founders Harvey Croft and Owain Hughes have now rolled it out nationwide and say it is the first company in the world to bring peer-review escrow services to the trade industry.

They hope to have one-in-10 UK tradespeople using the service by 2026 and a turnover £4.15m within three years.

Based in Grantham, Lincolnshire, with links to Peterborough, Leicester, and Nottingham, Pay The Trades will look to employ upwards of 10 people in the coming months as it launches its accounting, legal and customer service teams.

Managing director Harvey Croft said the aim is to protect the customer and the tradesperson – ensuring customers receive the quality of work they pay for while tradespeople always get paid.

He said: “We’re excited to provide this solution to a market of hard-working individuals whose need for payment is overlooked.

“We’re also passionate about ensuring customers get the quality of work they are promised and removing ‘cowboy’ tradesmen from the market by bringing a whole new business process to the trades industry.”

Rather than paying the tradesperson directly, customers pay via the Pay The Trades escrow service.

Once the project has been completed, a 14-day holding period follows to ensure the customer is satisfied with the quality of the work and then the tradesperson is paid without the hassle of chasing invoices.

If a customer is unhappy Pay The Trades will provide a review process, checking the work and offering a refund where appropriate.

After building a successful career in production and logistics, Mr Croft decided on a career change and began exploring plumbing as a potential option.

He spotted a gap in the market after encountering some of the standing issues with payment that many tradespeople experience.

The founding team of three includes Owain Hughes, who Mr Croft has worked with before.

Mr Hughes said: “Harvey is somebody that I have known and worked with for most of my professional career.

“We joined a construction company and climbed the ranks side by side – I always was, and still am, impressed by his determination, passion and dedication.

“Harvey brings all the qualities that you want to see in a founder and business operator; he’s passionate, focused and truly committed.”

He said as small trade businesses begin to recover from the challenges of the past 18 months, Pay The Trades seeks to ensure that they are paid on time and in full for their services.

He said: “The last year and a half of everyone’s lives have been made significantly harder as a result of the pandemic.

“Now that the world is opening up once again and tradespeople are working relentlessly, we thought it would be the perfect time to launch our service.

“We hate the thought of people in the trades industry finally being able to work again, but being hit by late or non-payment issues. That’s really where we want to make a difference.”