setting up a fake trade account?

30 May 2021
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United Kingdom
Hi All,

maybe a dumb question. Im not a tradesman, but i do the bulk of my home renovation projects myself.

I have noticed when ordering online a lot of the big merchants i.e tradepoint, travis perkins selco etc, do not charge delivery if you list yourself yourself as a trade and the only info they require is a company registered name/trading name and company registration number which looks like any generic info can be put in and accepted

now question is do they check into this registration number, can you get into any issues if you do this?

not looking to dodge the VAT price, just looking to get free delivery

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Have Selco account, no registered company required, delivery charged is based on order size. They don’t sell to public.
If you are setting up a trade (credit) account with a large trade supplier such as Travis Perkins, Magnet Joinery, Howdens, etc their credit control department will do a check to ascertain your creditworthyness, business status, etc. This includes a check on CCJs (on proprietors or directors), on your business registration number and a companies house check if you tell them you are limited. They may additionally require trade references to be given. Pass this and they will give you a discount structure, although Travis (and others) do tend to set minimum spend limits per annum - and if you don't meet the spending requirement they'll just close the account at the end of the year

Selco set a lower bar - I opened a (non-credit) account by just presenting my CSCS card (which they took as proof that I am a tradesman) and a printed letterhead. But then I wasn't asking for credit. For credit accounts they do a credit check on the business the same as the big guys

In these cases if you supply falsified information (which may incidentally be a criminal offence - something like trying to obtain pecuniary advantage by deception?) you'll probably just find yourself being denied an account. I think it's far better to be honest and talk to the depot manager to see if he or she will set you up a small builder (cash) account for the duration of the build.

Tradepoint isn't a proper trade outlet, so unless you are asking for credit all I think they ask for is proof if trade status which in my case was sight of a company credit or debit card

AFAIK they pretty much all charge delivery below certain minimum order value. For example the main timber merchant we buy from has a minimum free delivery to site of £500 (steep - a lot set it at £150 to £200 to discourage "penny packet" drops). Not a problem as we've been buying up to £5k a week off them for a while, so they are often prepared to do a small drop to us gratis as we are a good customer. On the other hand my "local" timber merchant (actually about 8 miles away) charges a flat £25 per drop within a radius of 10 miles regardless of value, but I get enough discount from him on materials that my time on site is more valuable to me than the delivery charge, so I don't object to paying it, as a round trip will cost me 1 to 1-1/2 hours of otherwise productive time. He is also cheaper than Howarth Timber or Travis have ever been - but I generally don't spend more than £1k with them at a time
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When I started work on the cottage ( 2011 ) I set up a couple of Cash Accounts for materials. Being a DIYer did not present any problems with setting up the account and in all but one the discount was about the same as that given to tradespeople I knew.
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I know people who have set up companies (costs about £20) with names like "[xxx] property development ltd" purely to open trade accounts at these places. And it works fine
It only works if you don't want a credit account and the place will allow you a cash account. For example places like Howdens run a credit check on the firm, so without correct director details and a bank account, etc you'd get rejected. I thought Travis was the same. This is because they set you a credit limit. Semi-trade places like Selco will give you a cash-only trade card, but that doesn't give you the same discount terms that a credit account gets you. Even some of the little guys do Experian or GE Capita checks these days - far cheaper than the old Dunn & Bradstreet checks we used to do in the past
I got a Howdens account (not a credit account). I was block paving my driveway, a sales rep pulled up, opened her boot and and asked me if I was doing up the house and if I wanted a free Milwaukee drill or impact driver. I said yes and yes, filled out the form, got the impact driver, never went to the shop. They closed my account a year later due to lack of use.
Wouldn't it be illegal to make false statements in order to obtain a discount?
Obtaining money by false pretenses?
I use Wickes - free delivery on orders over £40, and only £4 for orders under that, so still worthwhile if I just need a few sheets of plasterboard etc.
There's more than a few members on this forum that could advise you how to set up fake accounts I'm sure. :whistle:

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