Approved Contractor scheme targets small businesses

The Arboricultural Association's Approved Contractor scheme has been made more accessible to smaller businesses, according to technical officer Paul Smith, who manages the scheme.

"Small businesses make up 70 per cent of the industry, but were only 18 per cent of the scheme," he said at the ARB Show. This prompted development of tailored small-business options within the scheme, with less documentation required, starting at an average £552 a year over four years.

The scheme now also provides automatic registration with the CHAS (Contractors Health & Safety Assessment) and Trust Mark schemes, for a further £60 and £30 respectively in licensing fees, creating higher levels of awareness in the commercial and domestic sectors, he said.

The association also runs free one-day "preparation workshops" for those considering joining the scheme, Smith added.

"It can open doors to tenders and to more high-end work. It can be useful to take your business through the process. You may also get a discount of up to 15 per cent on your insurance premium."

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