Category Archives: Members

Marxman and Dragons Den Deborah Meaden

Marxman leaves a lasting impression and sees all Dragons vie to invest

Jenny, 50, a special abilities school assistant and Martin Chard, 50, a self-employed building maintenance man, are a typical couple bringing their four children, two Labradors and rabbit up in the picturesque county of Hertfordshire. But last night they found themselves in the enviable, and rare, position of having 5 of the UK’s biggest and most respected business people vie to invest in their business as all dragons made them an offer in the den.

Each of the dragons immediately saw potential in Martin’s invention and were keen to get on board.

Jenny and Martin were delighted to choose Deborah Meaden to be their partner and mentor given her vast experience and previous success with similar brands in the past. They gladly accepted her £50k investment for 30% of the business even though this wasn’t the top offer they received.

Jenny commented, “We had our sight set on Deborah from the very beginning.  She’s a fantastic businesswoman with a huge amount of knowledge and experience in this sector that will really help us develop our offering and expand our network.”

Marxman is a new tool addressing the common problem of being unable to clearly mark a drilling hole, something regularly encountered by professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. With one push the Marxman delivers a burst of brightly coloured chalk that marks any surface ready for drilling or fixing, even at a distance from the wall.*

Deborah Meaden commented, “The best inventions come from people solving a problem that lots of us experience but don’t do anything about. Martin is exceptional in that not only did he recognise and solve the problem through his invention, but he did so in a simple, elegant and affordable way. I can see widespread use of the Marxman with it becoming an essential part of all home and professional tool kits.”



Martin Chard came up with the idea for Marxman six years ago while trying to fit a sink. He couldn’t mark the drilling position on the wall and see the marks clearly so after a few time wasting attempts he reached for a can of black spray paint in desperation and marked it with that. After several other frustrating incidents like this and lots of wasted trips up and down ladders with broken pencils and felt tips not doing the job he started the process of developing Marxman so other workers could benefit.

Once a search of the patent office came back clear in 2009, Marxman began to take shape in 2010 as the first early stage prototype was developed.  The first product was sold in 2014 and in March this year the duo secured a contract with trade retailer Wickes.

It was Jenny’s son Oren who came up with the name Marxman and up until recently the family have been manufacturing every unit themselves in order to achieve the level of perfection they wanted to ensure Marxman does the job.

Jenny commented, “Being on Dragons’ Den was extremely daunting and we were very nervous, we definitely got flustered when being grilled on the numbers – that’s not our forte!

“We are the first to admit that we have very little business experience and we know we need a lot of help.  We’ve been able to get this far thanks to the extraordinary support we’ve had from friends, family and the various businesses big and small we’ve asked advice from along the way. We are extremely grateful to everyone that has believed in Marxman and played a part in our journey so far.”

Jenny and Martin plan to use Deborah’s investment to increase manufacture and grow the awareness of such a useful tool.



Find out more:

Marxman Product Information

  • Marxman is available from and
  • It retails at £9.95 and dispenses 250 doses
  • Both Standard and Deep Hole Marxman can be used to mark a reference point directly onto any surface. From tiles and pebble dash to wood and metal, whatever the surface the mark will show clearly
  • The Standard Marxman can mark clearly through depths of 45 mm and under
  • The Deep Hole Marxman can mark clearly through depths of 45mm and over
  • Marxman is a British made product which uses non-toxic ingredients and has very low global warming potential


See how Marxman works –


Website –

Facebook – marxmanpen

Twitter – @marxmanpen

Duratec security solutions become members of Checkatrade.



We’re delighted to announce that we have been accepted to be part of the website – the directory of recommended and trusted tradesman – and would like to thank all our customers who have helped us achieve this. To be included, we have undergone a strict vetting procedure and have been monitored to ensure we meet the required standards of trading.

Checkatrade is a free online search engine for consumers that offers a directory of trades and services in one place. By using the Checkatrade website, customers who are looking for reputable and reliable tradesmen in a specific area can be assured they will find high quality tradesman in one place in order to complete their projects. Customers also have the opportunity to view a full list of qualifications and insurance details without having to enquire.

All businesses on the site are continuously monitored to a strict standard by Checkatrade, as they gather feedback directly from consumers on the completion of all projects.  This ensures that all feedback posted is honest and reliable.

We are very proud to have 100 % transparency and we strongly believe in all of the statements mentioned within the Checkatrade standard: are happy we have found a site that cares about its customers as much as we do.

We hope this news will bring us closer together with our customers and allow us to show you how important your project and feedback is to us

Cricket Derbyshire Foundation ‘bowled over’ as support rolls in for makeover project. But we need more help!

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Hodgkinson Builders is rallying the troops in a bid to turn the former changing rooms in the 3aaa Pavilion at Derbyshire County Cricket Club into a room, which can host community programmes delivered by the Cricket Derbyshire Foundation.

Checkatrade are appealing to members to give a helping hand.

The first of these programmes is designed to support and provide advice for those affected by suicide and mental health issues.

The makeover project – which is appealing for local trade’s people to come and help has even attracted support from Craig Phillips of Big Brother fame.

The makeover will take place on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 July, and the Foundation is calling for those wanting to contribute, help out, supply materials, or even make tea, to get in touch.

Andrew Bowley, Head of the Cricket Derbyshire Foundation, was recently approached by Mark Boynes, whose best friend, Alex Miller, committed suicide back in late 2012.

In 2013, Boynes launched Opening Up Cricket, a non-profit organisation in Lancashire which used the power of cricket to address mental health issues in young adults.

The team now hopes to roll this programme out in Derby at the newly-revamped location.

Boynes said: “In 2012, my best friend Alex committed suicide leaving an irreplaceable void at Sefton Park Cricket Club, where he played as a wicketkeeper, and he left a massive void in my life too.

“Alex had a history of depression and mental illness, but I’d be happy to admit that as a group of friends, we didn’t know how to deal with this. There was a period after where there was no help available to our knowledge, with trying to cope with the after effects of suicide.

“When we found out about a local charity called CALM, we didn’t know it existed. We began working with them to raise awareness, and it led to Opening Up Cricket, which provides mind and body sessions to address suicide and mental health issues in young adults. By using the friendships that develop through playing cricket together, we can address the mental as well as physical health of young people who play cricket.”

Andrew Bowley, Head of the Cricket Derbyshire Foundation, said: “Ian Hodgkinson was keen to support us by turning the former changing rooms into a standalone centre dedicated to providing help and support to those most in need.”

Ian said: “A few years ago, one of my employees suddenly committed suicide. It is a challenge when you think that everything is against you. What seems impossible can become possible with access to the right help and support. The Cricket Derbyshire Foundation hopes to provide practical support to people who are affected by this awful situation. In particular young men, as it is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

“We have received fantastic support from Craig Philips, Checkatrade Ambassador, who is set to muck in on day two of the project, and from Checkatrade, which has appealed to its members for hands-on help over the two day period.

“We are aware that so many people are touched by suicide and mental health issues and this space can to be a focal point for groups to use for survivors, carers and to raise awareness of this subject matter.”

The makeover will see the two rooms available, turned into one open space complete with computer terminals, sofas, disabled access and its own toilets.

Once finished, the room will be used to deliver the Opening Up Cricket programme and will also be used for schools for open learning and other community programmes.


Those able to help are asked to contact Andrew Bowley [email protected] Hodgkinson Builders or Tina Clough at Poppy-PR, who will also be helping on the day.

For more information, or to offer help to the community project, please visit The Hodgkinson Builders website


Checkatrade and Trading standards at CTSI conference

Checkatrade today are partnered with 8 Local Authority Trading Standards (TS) with many more in discussion. The Checkatrade team are going to be at the CTSI conference an annual event at The International Centre in Telford from Monday 20th June to Wednesday 23rd June. Chartered Trading Standards Institute is a professional membership association formed in 1881 representing trading standards professionals.

Local authorities will be attending the event to listen to a presentation from Kevin Byrne our Founder and CEO and to visit out more about partnering with Checkatrade in the fight against rogue traders and supporting legitimate businesses.

Last year’s CTSI conference Checkatrade held a competition on where TS professionals dropped their business cards into a hat and the winner won £500 towards a project for a worthy cause in their area, and a local Checkatrade member would do the work.  The winner was Rebecca Finch, Community Project Officer from West Yorkshire Trading Standards,  who decided to give the £500 to The Blind Society in Whitfield. They were delighted to receive the £500 and put the money towards having sensory lights installed. “We have been wanting to develop a sensory wellbeing room, so that we can offer holistic therapies to our clients and from people in the community. Part of the problem was that the lighting was too bright. This work has enabled us to proceed with the rest of the project and hopefully we will be able to offer Holistic therapies” said the home.


The work was completed by Checkatrade member JP Electrical. “I rewired the lights above the suspended ceiling, installed three warm white 600 x 600 led panels.  All lights have dimmable drivers and are controlled via a retractive dimmer switch to give complete range of lighting levels. The led panel above the door also incorporates a three hour rechargeable battery back up for emergency situations” said James from JP Electrical

Most people with sight loss need and benefit from enhanced lighting. Some eye conditions can cause individuals to experience glare problems when in normal light levels, which could be uncomfortable or even intolerable for them. The Whitfield Wellbeing Centre are a community organisation that provides a variety of activities for people with or without sight loss.

Checkatrade and JP Electrical are thrilled to be able to assist the home and the local community.



The Art of Organisation! – J Fridlington

I am a very clean and organised person, so as you can imagine from the beginning, I have always been obsessed with having a clean, organised van to enable me to  carry out my work as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

When I first started as Electrician I was working on a job and the carpenter rolled up with a huge pile of Festool “Systainer” boxes and from that day on – I was hooked! All I wanted to be able to do was to turn up at a job and wheel out all of my tools and materials without having to spend hours lugging my things back and forth to the van.  I started researching and found that the Systainer boxes at the time (over 15 years ago) were very expensive.


The years rolled by and I started to notice Bosch had started selling their power tools in L-Boxx’s so I began to replace my power tool range so I could have lovely stackable boxes.

Over the years I have had different types and styles of van racking systems in my van such as tall metal units as well as various upgrades of home made wooden racking.

After thinking my latest van racking (which I made myself from heavy plywood) was the pinnacle of organization –  I  then discovered Vantainer who supply what I can only describe as the answer to all your possible storage and racking needs! Very light weight and the perfect solution for organisation of tools and materials storage. And it looks great too!

The Vantainer system is a very simple and ultra lightweight design, combined with the Systainer storage boxes – this makes going from job to job an absolute dream.

I have noticed that driving around the van not only feels a lot lighter and quieter and I have also seen a dramatic drop in fuel consumption.

When I arrive at a job – I can see the tools I need so much more quickly due to the simple and effective labeling system. I can then grab the boxes I want and stack them quickly on my sturdy Systainer trolley which is so easy to use – and lock all the boxes into place – then I am ready to go – saving my back and time in the process!



Great Product Features

I want to explain more about the superb locking feature these boxes have which make this system so unique.

This revolutionary locking device enables the user to attach and detach boxes perfectly which makes maneuverability and transport so easy. The beauty of this means that you can open any individual box to access the contents, even when they are stacked together using the innovative T-Loc system.

Make it work for your trade

Then comes the completely bespoke nature of this system – these boxes come in an array of different sizes with different inner compartments to suit your very needs – and the boxes no matter their size will always lock together – it’s genius!

And then there’s the racking!

This lightweight racking system which is so quick and easy to install (much quicker than the entire weekend it took me to build and install my plywood racking !) and no hard labour required! Mounted on aluminum telescopic arms – the shelving is perfectly safe and secure to support even the heaviest of your tools. It is also completely adaptable to your van size and shape.


You can probably tell I am a big fan and with Checkatrade , you get the chance to  treat yourself to a fantastic deal which you can not get anywhere else. I am not stopping with the my van – I am using the boxes in my garage and shed too as they are perfect for keeping the clutter out and making the space at home work for me as well.

Drive down costs

Make your working day more efficient with this great looking system and save yourself some serious money on fuel once your existing heavy racking is replaced with this lightweight system.

J Fridlington

Fully Qualified Electrician

Members – Go to the members area to find the exclusive code to access low cost deals on offer. –

Rogue Trader Victim Saved by Checkatrade and Trading Standards!

Friday 10th June will be the 8th Open Day that Checkatrade will sees a return to Suffolk, the first partnership, for a celebration of Consumer Protection. Local traders, consumer champions and protection agencies will all be there, as well as a local resident who fell victim to a rogue trader.


Checkatrade has long been committed to the protection of consumers and support for reliable, trustworthy tradespeople and businesses, so they are delighted to work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities up and down the country to provide Approved Trader Schemes with the aim of solving, once and for all, the UK’s rogue trader problem.

Checkatrade also uses these partnerships to establish ‘fighting funds’ used to clear up the mess often left behind by unscrupulous tradespeople and it was with great relief that one unfortunate disabled homeowner was recently able to turn to Checkatrade having fallen victim to a Suffolk rogue.

After the all stress and anxiety of her ordeal, access to the Checkatrade ‘fighting fund’ has spared this vulnerable consumer, and her 90 year old father, further heartache, inconvenience and expense.

Suffolk resident Val knew she needed to deal with a tree and its roots that were affecting her driveway, so, when she received an unsolicited email from a firm that said they specialised in such areas, she was happy to explore the possibilities.  Like so many unlucky consumers, little did she realise she was making a costly mistake.

Having received a reasonable quote and having done the right thing and looked into the firm’s background using an unnamed trusted trader resource, Val engaged the trader and looked forward to work commencing.

Unfortunately, the firm failed to show up on the agreed Monday and, as her anxiety grew, Val received no reply all week to her increasingly desperate calls, texts and emails. It wasn’t until the following Saturday that she received a call but the trader told her he had underestimated the job and that the price would now have to double.

The alarms bells rang immediately but the original quote had been competitive and Val, having committed to the work, wanted to get the job done. Like too many people in the same situation, she mistakenly trusted what she thought was a group of reputable professionals and reluctantly agreed to the work. But her problems had only just begun.

The firm this time showed up at the appointed time but Val was surprised to see how ill-equipped they were to carry out the task. Told that hundreds of existing bricks on the drive needed to be cleaned, she was so shocked that the team was armed only with a bucket and scrubbing brush she lent them her pressure washer.

The subject of driveway drainage had never been broached in all her conversations with the trader but Val was soon informed she needed extensive drainage to ensure the job was completed. Less than half an hour later, she was presented with an exorbitant extra £310 bill for drainage materials and sand.

Next came the wall adjacent to the drive. It was also compromised somewhat by the tree and she had been told it would cost her £800 to be fixed. When it came to it, that was only for what was termed a “bodged job” and that a “proper” solution would set her back another £1300.

Looking at the prospect of hundreds of extra pounds of unexpected expense, Val felt exposed. Understandably, she wanted the work to be completed satisfactorily but was now under real pressure to come up with the ‘necessary’ funds. She was even very nearly forced to borrow money from her worried 90-year-old father to pay for the work and was visibly affected by things that a concerned friend asked her what was wrong.

Her horrified friend contacted the Citizens’ Advice Bureau who immediately pointed her in the direction of her local Trading Standards Authority in the hope of resolving the issue. In the meantime, however, the rogue traders began to pester her for cash, demanding payment in a menacing fashion from a vulnerable, disabled lady.

Luckily, Trading Standards were on the case and made a timely intervention, accompanied by members of the Suffolk Constabulary, when the traders, all of a sudden five burly men rather than just three, paid her an intimidating visit. This unpleasant event ended in the arrest of the firm’s boss.

Val, saved by the authorities from an extremely harrowing experience, was still left with an unfinished driveway and hundreds of bricks piled up outside her home. At this point, alerted to Val’s predicament by Trading Standards, Checkatrade stepped in.

Finding Val a reputable, qualified trader, Checkatrade dipped into the ‘fighting fund’ and spared her even more expense and brought this awful series of events to a satisfactory conclusion.

Senior Trading Standards Officer Tony Doorley said “I got in touch with Checkatrade, who found her a fully vetted and trusted trader who offered her a quote that he would stick to, before carrying out the job to a high standard.”

Tales like this, of unsuspecting members of the public being taken advantage of by unscrupulous people trying to make a fast and easy buck are all too familiar. Checkatrade works hard to provide consumers with the information they need to engage reputable traders and leave no stone unturned in their quest to eradicate Britain’s rogue trader problem.

For more information about the awareness of rogue traders please visit

Time for a New kitchen? Protect Your Investment! – Yves Way “The Kitchen Guy”

Having a new kitchen is an expensive investment, so getting the design & layout right is huge. You can get plenty of free professional advice to help with this from kitchen show room designers or tradesmen quoting to renovate your kitchen. However, with all the experience and advice they can offer you, one thing they may not bring to the table is how to protect your new investment “long term”!

A new kitchen should serve you for around 20 years, but in that time trends and styles will change, a style which is sort after now may well look dated in 5 years time, and after all the money spent, do you really want to be stuck with a dated looking kitchen for a further 15 years?


Now I’m not trying to upsell you on “a neutral design”, I’m a big fan of kitchens with personality and I admire people with the gumption to make bold design choices, the point here is to protect your investment (your new kitchen) in the long term. When the time comes that your new kitchen starts to looks dated, wouldn’t it be great if on a very small budget and little to no professional help you could update and refresh the look of your kitchen! Well you can, all you have to do is be prepared for this within your original design! Add features and colours in easily changeable areas of the kitchen, if you commit to Plum coloured units or bright red tiles (not together of course) these are very permanent parts of the kitchen which would require professional help and be costly change. Use Neutral colours for the more permanent areas of the kitchen such as units, worktops and tiles and explore your adventurous side in the 5 areas I have laid out below. Each of the 5 areas below can be refreshed or updated by a competent DIYer, they’ll have a large impact on the design and can be changed on a very small budge.

Kitchen Walls

Use bold colour paints or designer wall paper to give your kitchen an impacting backdrop. You can easily change this down the line for very little cost so be as adventurous as you dare!



The right shelves can be a statement on there own, use them as a platform to dress up or down your kitchen with some charismatic items. whether its cookbooks, pots & pans, glass storage jars or plants, display whatever takes your fancy and simply change it as it loses its appeal!


Whether your opting for one accent colour or half the colours of the rainbow, accessories are the easiest way to achieve this, use tea towels, tea & coffee pots, vintage tins, spice racks even a bread bin to add personality to your kitchen.

Worktop Appliances & kitchen Tools

Worktop appliances such as Kettles & toasters and kitchen tools such as a knife block, utensils rack or pot & pans, these are all available in an array of shape and sizes along with the option of bright colours as well as the more traditional stainless steel and Copper. Use these to dress up neutral work surfaces or open shelves.


The last area is flooring, depending on which material you choose as flooring this may be one of the more expensive areas to change, although it can be worth it. No matter how large or small your kitchen floor area is, the colour will have a big effect on the overall design, so in pro rata changing it will have a big effect also.  Bear in mind it will be costlier to change a tiled floor compared to laminated or vinyl flooring and prepare yourself for this in your initial design.


To summarise, don’t enter your new kitchen project with the glum and negative out look that your new kitchen will at some point once again look dated, enjoy the design process and express yourselves, just be aware that the inevitable fact of styles changing will happen and be prepared! Don’t “play it safe” “play it long term”, have fun with your design, be strategic and yield the best return on your investment.

Enjoy your Kitchen

Yves Way

Having gas work done around your home? Trust the Triangle!

Did you know Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are qualified to work safety and legally on gas appliances? Always check your engineer is on the Gas Safe Register and check their ID card.  It’s the only way to keep your family safe.


In the right hands gas is safe, but in the wrong hands badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can be deadly and can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas, you can’t see, taste or smell it, but it can kill quickly without warning.

With hundreds of thousands of illegal gas jobs being carried out every year in the UK, people are putting the safety of their families in the hands of people they don’t really know and whose competencies they certainly haven’t checked. We’re seeing far too many people prioritise cost over safety when hiring a tradesman. To find a reliable, trustworthy tradesman in your area visit

We are therefore urging people to trust the triangle. Look for the triangular Gas Safe Register logo on your gas engineer’s ID card. It’s also really important to get appliances safety checked every year by an engineer who is qualified and Gas Safe registered. All Gas Safe registered engineers have a list of the work they are registered to do on the back of their ID card.

Top tips for gas safety

  • Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix or service your gas appliances
  • Find or check a Gas Safe registered engineer by visiting or calling 0800 408 5500
  • Get your gas appliances regularly serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Always check your engineers Gas Safe ID card. Check your engineer is qualified for the work you need doing – you can find this information on the back of their ID card.
  • Remember the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning; headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.

If you rent your home, by law, your landlord must maintain each gas appliance they provide for your use and have them safety checked once a year. To prove this has been done, your landlord must give you a copy of the Landlord’s Gas Safety Record.

For more information visit or phone 0800 408 5500. We’re here to help you make the right choices when it comes to you and your family’s gas safety.


If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak or a leak of fumes: turn off the gas at the meter, put out naked flames, open windows and immediately call the gas emergency number for your area:

  • Great Britain 0800 111 999
  • Northern Ireland 0800 002 001
  • Isle of Man 0808 1624 444
  • Guernsey 01481 749000
  • Jersey 01534 755555
  • For LPG contact your LPG supplier.

Gas Safe Register

Homeglaze Home Improvements talks about their Checkatrade membership!

We came across Checkatrade by complete accident 5 years ago when we received a quote request in error. The enquiry was for a company with a similar name in a different part of the country. We then thought ” if it can work for them, then it can work for us”.

We know that you can’t beat word of mouth and Checkatrade is the perfect platform for us to get our business out there. To us, being on Checkatrade means there is never a job, a quote or even a phone call where we don’t have to be at our best. It helps us maintain the best possible standards we can. We are all too aware how quickly a good reputation can change and we are always looking for ways to improve.


We can see in real terms the number of customers happy to rate and comment on their experience with us and hopefully encourage others to use us in the future. We are striving to make a difference in how our industry is perceived and, although nobody’s perfect, we aim to continue stacking up the positive reviews.

We have reached the milestone of 1000 now and to have kept the average score so high, just proves how passionate and hard working the team here have been. Even when things don’t go to plan, its assuring to know that the resolution process is fair for both the customer and ourselves.

Any negative feedback is highlighted by Checkatrade and we are given a set amount of time to resolve any issues before it is posted on our profile. This is beneficial to both parties as it encourages dialogue and action. Checkatrade has been an excellent lead source for us with customers being able to check out our reviews, see the before and after pictures of our work and feel assured they are dealing with a quality company.

It’s been great to see Checkatrade’s re-investment in us and all the companies on their site. Their high profile advertising has made them into a household name and something we are proud to be a part of.

Colin Morgan,

Director, Homeglaze Home Improvements

Find us on Checkatrade at:


Successful event for Checkatrade Founder Kevin Byrne! founder and CEO, Kevin Byrne shared his successful story as one of the leading entrepreneurs at the Acumen Business Convention on the 10th May.

The networking event which was held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton marked the seventh year of the prestigious event and saw over 250 CEO’s, MD’s and decision makers all in attendance for both networking and outstanding speaking.

Having most notably won the London and South East Director of the Year Award, Kevin was keen to share his experience with others. The CEO discussed how he took an idea with no investment to a business turnover of £16million that generates a £2.7 billion a year for all of the trades on-board.


Kevin commented on his achievement;

“This was a great evening and I was extremely pleased to speak about my success story with like-minded individuals. My story is very unique and it is great to share with others on how to build the right company culture and how to drive a business.”

The evening also saw Founder of Cobra Beer, Karan Bilimoria, Author of Brand Famous, Linzi Boyd and Founder of Acumen Business Law, Penina Shepherd all sharing their business stories.

Guests at the Acumen Business Convention were treated to a three course lunch, public speaking and two interactive workshops.

Checkatrade is a free, online service that is dedicated to helping you find the right trade or service.  With over 25 per cent of UK households using Checkatrade, they ensure that their tradespeople are fully vetted before they become a member of Checkatrade and once they join, members agree to have feedback from their customers put online for all to say. Checkatrade has gained over 2 million reviews of tradespeople to date.

For more information about Checkatrade or to find the perfect tradesperson for you, visit

Find this article on the Building Construction Design website –

Building contruction design