THE chairman of Checkatrade visited Darlington to present a local tradesperson with his membership of the national network and praise the growth of his business.

Richard Harpin, who founded emergency repairs business HomeServe, visited M.a.f Plumbing, Heating & Gas Services and its managing director, Mark Fryer, as part of a tour of tradespeople signed up to the service from across the North-East.

Mr Fryer signed up to Checkatrade in April and recouped its annual membership fee within 30 days following an influx of enquiries directed from the website.

Checkatrade, which has more than 29,000 tradespeople signed up to the service, was acquired for £78m by Homeserve in 2017.

M.a.f is in its fifth year of trading and expects to create two gas technician positions over the next year.

The company, which is Gas Safe registered and an accredited Worcester and Baxi Installer, provides a range of Heating & Plumbing solutions, including boiler installations and all plumbing, heating and gas services.

It is also able to offer finance packages to customers through Ideal4Finance.

M.a.f is also OFTEC approved for the installation and maintenance of oil fired appliances and oil storage tanks.

Mr Fryer said: “As I progress with my expansion plans and job creation, it is important to strengthen our reputation as a trusted trader and further enhance our customer relations.

The investment in Checkatrade has so far paid dividends as I have received a number of enquiries, which have resulted in sales that far exceed my annual membership fee.

“I hadn’t really explored any services of this kind before, so it was surprising and welcome news to have got off to such a good start.”

Mr Fryer, 39, served in the Royal Logistics Corps of the Armed Forces before training to become a gas technician and establishing M.a.f in 2013.

Richard Harpin said: “Attracting reputable tradespeople is vital to the future growth of Checkatrade, and Mark’s business exemplifies the type of trusted traders signed up to the service.”

M.a.f serves homes and businesses throughout Tees Valley, Durham, Catterick, Richmond, Teesdale and surrounding areas.