Businessman boxes clever to target the home renovation sector

A Yorkshire boxing champion-turned-businessman is planning to beat others to the punch with his latest venture.

Inside the ring, China Clarke was crowned English Cruiserweight champion in a 16-bout professional career that saw him fight at both Wembley and Leeds arenas, and spar with the likes of multiple heavyweight title-holder Derek Chisora.

But outside the ring, he is planning to deliver a knockout blow to rogue traders operating in property development and renovation – while showcasing the very best services the sector has to offer.

After five years in development, he has launched a business called Track My Renovation, which has been designed and funded by Clarke himself to disrupt existing tradespeople directories.  It is going live in Yorkshire ahead of a phased national roll-out.

Clarke, who is from North Leeds, said: “The UK has become a renovation nation during lockdown, with homeowners spending an average of £4,000 creating their perfect property since the pandemic struck.

“Whether it’s home offices, home gyms or even home pubs, it’s a trend that’s likely to continue even after restrictions are lifted.

“Track My Renovation is an online platform that breaks new ground in the way it embraces technology to separate the good, honest and ethical tradespeople from the bad and sheer ugly.”

Tradespeople will be able to upload their own personal portfolio of work; chart the steps taken from start through to completion; and share before-and-after photographs in real time.

Their rating can be strengthened by meeting other criteria, such as a driving licence check via the website to prove their identity; a copy of their public liability insurance document, which demonstrates their professionalism; and the uploading of their trade qualification certificates.

“Tracking a job in such an evidenced-powered way ensures the customer has an unrivalled peace of mind with the tradesperson they find,” added Clarke.

“The tradesperson has some recourse from customers who refuse to pay after a satisfactory job is completed on time and on budget, or if the customer is throwing up obstacles once the job has started.”

For the past five years Clarke has specialised in property, renovating over a hundred bathrooms and kitchens and completing house extensions, loft and basement conversions, while also managing the maintenance of a Leeds letting agent’s entire rental portfolio.

“That was when the lightbulb moment happened, and inspired me to try and change the home renovations sector forever,” he said.

China Clarke in the ring

“It’s fair to say I underestimated how tough working in the trades industry would be.

“With little-to-no experience, I was unable to assess the tasks which I was asking my tradespeople to do – in terms of expertise required, if the correct methods were being used to carry out the work, and in assessing their overall productivity. Basically, how quick and efficient they were.

“This is the problem homeowners have, and will always have, unless they themselves are in the trade.

“Yes, you can find tradespeople from the many directory websites already out there.

“Yet although technology has evolved, nobody had yet come up with the idea for tradespeople to have an online website community holding their personal portfolio of work.

“From early feedback on various trials, Track My Renovation is bringing a new dimension and I’m confident it will create a positive impact for the industry and customers alike.”