From September 2020, thousands of homeowners across England will be able to get a voucher worth up to £5,000 (or £10,000 for those on low incomes) to pay towards the cost of energy-efficient home improvements, through the Green Homes Grant scheme.
Right now, homeowners are planning the green jobs they’d like to have done using the grant by connecting with tradespeople for quotes, advice and inspiration. With 140,000 jobs expected to be up for grabs across England, here are some actions that you can take now to make sure that you’re ready for the increase in new work.
Improve your online presence
Before the coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic hit, many trades businesses relied on word of mouth and other similar sources of work. However, with people spending more time on the Internet during lockdown, lots of trades businesses are moving online to thrive – and they’re using online services like Rated People to reach new customers.
Now that lockdown’s easing, people are investing the savings that they made on commuting and leisure activities into improving their homes.
You can make sure that you’re at the forefront of their minds for this work by having a strong online presence, which includes:
- Replying to any reviews or comments that your business receives online. This gives you the chance to showcase good customer service, and lets your clients know that you value their feedback.
- Showcasing your work on social media. By doing this, you’ll expand your reach – it only takes one connection to share your work for it to be seen by someone who’s in the market for some home improvement work. You can share any positive ratings that you get on Rated People directly to social media with our new social sharing feature.
- Creating new content that’s valuable to your industry. Examples include quick tips, case studies, videos and product or service guides.
- Boosting your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO). This will help your business to show up higher in Google searches for your trade. If you’re a Rated People member and you don’t have a website, your unique profile page already acts as one for you.
- Tracking customer data. By doing this, you can see how many new client opportunities you’re getting through digital marketing.
Check out our digital marketing tips to make your small business stand out post-lockdown for a detailed guide on how to do the above tasks.
Add skills to your Rated People profile
Over the next few weeks, homeowners will be connecting with tradespeople that they can hire to complete energy-efficient home improvements from September onwards. From green boilers to double glazing, the government expects green work to be carried out in over 650,000 homes.
Add the relevant skills for these jobs to your Rated People profile now – so that you can increase your chances of winning the new work for your trade:
Double and triple glazing
- Single/Double Glazing
- uPVC Windows and Doors
Heating controls and insulation
- Water tanks and Immersion Heater
- Electrical installation/testing
Loft, wall and floor insulation
- Thermal insulation
- Solar Panel Installation
Find out how to update your Rated People profile with expert tips from Harriet in our Customer Success team.
Increase your business capabilities
The government’s new Plan for Jobs 2020 includes financial incentives for businesses that hire young people and bring furloughed staff back. This will allow you to increase your workforce at a reduced cost and make sure that you have enough staff to meet any increased consumer demand from the Green Homes Grant.
The Plan for Jobs 2020 includes:
- Cash incentives for new apprentices – You’ll get £2,000 for each new apprentice that you hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged over 25, between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021.
- Job Retention Bonus – You’ll get a £1,000 incentive for each furloughed employee that you bring back (they must be continuously employed until the end of January 2021).
- Kickstart Scheme – A new scheme, offering 6-month work placements for 16-24-year-olds that are on Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. There’s no cost to you if you provide work placements through the scheme, as the government will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage plus the associated National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
You can read more about these initiatives on the government website. Further information on how to get involved is set to be released from the end of July – we’ll keep this page updated.
Develop a COVID-19 work policy
With thousands of new jobs being created from the government’s green jobs plan, it’s important that you create a company policy which details how you’ll protect new and old employees alike from coronavirus. It should include details of the preventative measures that you’ve got in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading, as well as guidelines for staff to follow.
You can create a COVID-19 work policy by:
- Completing a risk assessment – Follow the HSE guidance on the steps that you should take to do this.
- Creating infection control plans – Implement concrete actions, such as organising secure delivery drop-off points and disinfecting your fleet of vehicles regularly.
- Reviewing your operating procedures – Check out the Federation of Small Businesses ‘COVID-19: Health and safety checklist’ for advice on doing this.
- Introducing green processes – In the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report: 2020, we found out that 35% of homeowners would be more likely to hire a tradesperson if they were eco-friendlier. Take a look at our tips to make your business more eco-friendly to find out how you can do this.
We’ve also put together our top tips on working during the coronavirus outbreak along with the latest government advice for the construction industry, which you can use in your COVID-19 work policy.
As you get ready to take on the new green jobs, check out 6 lockdown lessons about running a business – by using these learnings after lockdown, your business can come back better and stronger from the pandemic.