By Richard Churchill – First Published March 2011
I have noticed that fewer and fewer people are using the big printed directories. The Internet is slowly taking over as the primary way to find the trades people. Using the internet gives you a very wide choice, you can check reputation of the company you have chosen and often find out in great detail what they do before you pick up the phone, or email them.
So how do you find a company online? One option is to use the online version of your favourite big book. Thomsonlocal.com, yell.com, btphonebook.com are the services from Thomson, Yellow Pages and BT respectively, most of the directory enquiries services also have an online service for example 118118.com (The Number) 118500.com (BT Directories).
There are hundreds of independent services on the net, from local edited directories, to national and specialist directories. Lastly the big search engines offer company listings along with their general internet search. That’s a lot of options, I have found the best place to start is in your local edited directory,then move on to the national directories if needed,
You have chosen a company, are they any good? Once again there is an online solution, with a few quick searches you can find any online reviews of the company you have chosen. These could be on the directory sites, on specialist review sites or messages posted in online forums. With a little practice it is possible to get a very good impression of your chosen company in 5 minutes. You can try this now, type a company name and the word review in to an search engine.
You have found a company, they have reviewed well, and you want to know more about them, time to look at their website. Most online directories will include a link to the companies website, if not a quick search for the company name should turn up their website. A website tells you quite a lot about a company, apart from the information it contains, its look and feel will tell you a lot about the type of company you are calling.
When you next need a service, look online and find out far more about the companies on offer than you ever have before.
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