31 January, 2017 – for immediate release

Online professional skills directory launches February 2017

How many times have we heard tales of friends or acquaintances who have fallen foul of cowboy builders, electricians, or plumbers? Most of us are familiar with the term ‘P&O Qualified’, which refers to the shady operators who suddenly sprout skills and qualifications on the ferry to France, but how can we avoid the costly mistake of inadvertently letting them loose on our own homes?

Recent research* shows that 97% of people said they usually seek recommendations for tradespeople from friends and neighbours, but how can they be sure that the people they recommend are actually qualified to do the job, and are properly insured should anything should go wrong?

This is where a new online service, launching in February 2017, can come to the rescue. Developed by founder Mary Mills-Brown, Artisan Central is a free-to-use consumer service, which fills the gap in the market for an online directory of pre-checked, highly skilled artisans working throughout France. Or, as Mary describes them: “Artisans you can trust”. A combination of pre-checks and customer reviews make Artisan Central the service that homeowners in France have needed for a long time, whilst enabling professional, appropriately qualified and insured artisans to promote their businesses and differentiate themselves from the cowboys.

When moving to a new country or area, it can be impossible to distinguish between legally registered, highly skilled artisans and the many rogue traders. Artisan Central provides the solution to this problem by offering membership to pre-checked artisans who pride themselves on delivering excellent customer service and the highest quality of workmanship. Artisan Central members are proud to share their customer reviews, to represent Artisan Central’s principles of quality, skill and professionalism, and to uphold the Artisan Central Code of Practice.

Members have an online profile which includes the information customers are often afraid to ask for and which cannot be included in standard magazine or online advertising.

Mary Mills-Brown moved to France with her husband in January 2012, and has worked with skilled artisans to renovate her own property. She has over 30 years’ experience of working in professional roles where trust is of the essence, including seven years in the British Army, another seven years working for the Royal Family and, most recently, 17 years as a director of an international charity helping young people to start up in business.

“I am delighted to be able to offer a platform for exceptional artisans to stand out from the crowd, and look forward to connecting these skilled professionals with new customers across France.” She comments. “I believe Artisan Central will fast become an important resource for home owners in France, who are looking to hire artisans they can trust.”

Artisan Central is currently accepting membership applications from artisans covering departments 16 (Charente), 24 (Dordogne) and 86 (Vienne). Reduced rates are available for founding members.

*April 2016, online survey of 138 adults living in France, via Survey Monkey.

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Artisan Central is a directory of pre-checked, highly skilled artisans working throughout France. Artisan Central members represent quality, skill and professionalism.

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