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Green Homes Grant: How to get your trades business ready to benefit

Last updated: 19th November 2020

From 30th September 2020, thousands of homeowners and residential landlords across England can 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 and landlords are booking the green jobs they’d like to have done using the grant, and this includes connecting with tradespeople for quotes, advice and inspiration. With 100,000 Green Homes Grant 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.

As of 30th September, the government Green Homes Grant scheme 2020 is now open for applications.

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 their savings from 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. This includes:

  • Replying to any reviews or comments that your business receives online. This gives you the chance to showcase good customer service, and also 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 home improvement work. You can share the positive ratings that you get on Rated People directly to social media with our new 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 more advice.

Add skills to your Rated People profile

Homeowners are connecting with tradespeople that they can hire to complete energy-efficient home improvements from now until the Green Homes Grant scheme ends on 31st March 2022. From green boilers to double glazing, the government expects green work to be carried out in over 600,000 homes.

Add the relevant skills for these jobs to your Rated People profile now. It’ll increase your chances of winning the new work for your trade:

Double and triple glazing

  • Single/Double Glazing

Energy-efficient doors

  • uPVC Windows and Doors

Heating controls and insulation

  • Hot water tank/appliance tank thermostats
  • Water tanks and Immersion Heater
  • Electrical installation/testing
  • Radiator

Heat pumps

  • Heat pump (air source/ground source)

Insulation

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Underfloor insulation
  • Roof insulation
  • Thermal insulation

Solar panels

  • Solar Panel Installation

Find out how to update your Rated People profile with expert tips from Harriet in our Customer Success team.

Register with the relevant Green Homes Grant schemes

1. Make sure you’re certified to the relevant standards

You’ll need to be certified to Publicly Available Specification (PAS) standards 2030: 2017 or 2030: 2019, by a certification body that has been accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

2. Sign up to TrustMark

If you’re not already, then you’ll need to register with TrustMark to be eligible to take part in the Green Homes Grant. It takes about one week to complete your registration.

To ensure the work carried out under the scheme is of high quality that consumers can trust, all businesses need to be certified to install energy efficiency or low carbon heat measures to the relevant standards and be registered with TrustMark. They must be Publicly Available Specification (PAS) standards 2030: 2017 or 2030: 2019 certified, by a certification body that has been accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). More information is available on the UKAS website. To install low carbon heating measures, such as heat pumps, the business must be certified with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

2. Sign up to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) if you’re installing low carbon heat measures

If you’re installing the low carbon heat measures available through the Green Homes Grant, then you’ll need to get certified by MCS.

3. Sign up to become a Green Homes Grant Installer

To apply to become accredited on the Green Homes Grant scheme, you’ll need to:

  • Use the email address associated with your TrustMark/MCS account.
  • Provide your TrustMark (and MCS, if applicable) licence number.
  • Provide your company’s details for payment.
  • Sign up to each of the Green Homes Grant measures that you’re planning to carry out.
  • Accept the Green Homes Grant scheme’s Terms and Conditions.

Register today on Gov.uk.

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 the increased consumer demand from the Green Homes Grant.

The Plan for Jobs 2020 includes:

  1. 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. This cash incentive is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment that you already get for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and apprentices aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
  2. Job Retention Bonus – You’ll get a £1,000 incentive for each furloughed employee that you bring back (they must be continuously employed until at least 31st January 2021).
  3. 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. This is because the government will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage plus the associated National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Employers can now apply for funding through the scheme on gov.uk.
  4. Traineeships – You’ll get £1,000 for each trainee (aged between 16 and 24) that you provide with work experience. Young people with Level 3 qualifications and below will be eligible to take part.

You can read more about these initiatives on the government website. We’ll keep this page update with further information on how to get involved once it’s released.

Develop a COVID-19 work policy

Thousands of new jobs are currently being created through the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme. So, it’s important that you create a company policy explaining how you’ll protect new and old employees alike from coronavirus. It should include the preventative measures that you’re taking to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading, plus staff guidelines.

You can create a COVID-19 work policy by:

  1. Completing a risk assessment – Follow the HSE guidance on the steps that you should take to do this.
  2. Creating infection control plans – Implement concrete actions. Examples include organising secure delivery drop-off points and disinfecting your fleet of vehicles regularly.
  3. Reviewing your operating procedures – Check out the Federation of Small Businesses ‘COVID-19: Health and safety checklist’ for advice on this.
  4. 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. This includes the latest government advice for the construction industry too, which you can use in your COVID-19 work policy.

Find out more about what you should include when you give a quote, how you’ll get paid for your work and more FAQs about the Green Homes Grant on our Trade Advice Centre.

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.

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