Entrepreneurs unveil ‘unique’ escrow platform

Harvey Croft and Owain Hughes
X The Business Desk

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A new online platform that aims to protect tradespeople from late and non-payments has launched nationwide, claiming it us the first company in the world to bring peer-review escrow services to the trade industry.

The brainchild of founders Harvey Croft and Owain Hughes, Pay The Trades is an escrow service that acts as an intermediary between tradespeople and their customers.

It has unveiled ambitious plans for growth and, as part of its five year rollout plan, it aims to have 10% of UK tradespeople using the service by 2026 and expects to turnover £4.15m within three years.

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

It will ensure customers receive the quality of work they pay for and protects tradespeople from late and non-payments in the process.

Offering tradespeople and customers a safe, easy and worry-free means of exchanging goods and services, Pay The Trades’ payment process provides a unique form of income protection for self-employed tradespeople.

Harvey Croft, entrepreneur and managing director of Pay The Trades, 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 the tradesperson is paid without the hassle of chasing invoices.

In the scenario where a customer is unhappy with the service they’ve received, Pay The Trades will settle any disputes by providing a review process, checking the work and offering a refund where appropriate.

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

It was during this time that he encountered long-standing issues with payment that many tradespeople experienced on a regular basis. Identifying a gap in the market for a platform that could solve this issue, Croft began building what would become Pay The Trades.

The founding team of three includes Owain Hughes, who Croft has worked alongside consistently throughout his career.

Hughes added: “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.”

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.

“The last year and a half of everyone’s lives have been made significantly harder as a result of the pandemic,” added Hughes

“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.”

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