Which? has launched an endorsement scheme that aims to help consumers recognise reputable and trustworthy traders after its research indicated they were struggling to do so.

The research showed that while three fifths of consumers think there is a good choice of trade services, only half feel confident when choosing a trader and less than three in 10 trust them to act in their best interest.

Which? claims that in addition to helping individuals make an informed choice and find the best tradesmen in their local area, becoming approved by Which? Trusted Traders will allow firms to differentiate themselves from the competition and attract more business.

To be approved, firms have to pass an assessment process that includes a face-to-face evaluation by a professional assessor, a company credit check and references from their customers.

Once endorsed, traders are able to use the Which? Trusted Traders logo for marketing purposes, will be listed on the Trusted Traders website and have access to Ombudsman Services should any disputes arise. They also have the opportunity to feature in a printed directory, which will be distributed to around one million households in London.

The scheme will focus initially on traders operating in the home improvement and motoring repair sectors who trade in London and the Home Counties, but might branch out into other markets and regions in 2014.

Barney McCarthy, Which? Trusted Traders’ spokesperson, said: “We want to give consumers the confidence to make the right choices when it comes to planning home improvement or motor repair work and the reassurance that the trader they select is best in breed.”

Tim Mycroft, owner of Mycroft Heating and Plumbing in Tooting, added: “It is fantastic to be endorsed by an organisation as trusted as Which?. It is a unique offering for both traders and consumers and, in light of the rigour of the assessment process, I am extremely proud to have become a Trusted trader.”