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About Us

Top Service In A Nutshell.

We are the only specialist credit reference and debt recovery agency for the UK construction industry. We currently have thousands of companies subscribing to our service with around 6,000 branches and depots between them, spanning many different sectors in the construction industry. Our credit reports contain unique trading experiences which are sourced from our thousands of members, all trading in and around the construction industry. Our members supply us with, and we proactively gather, up to the minute detailed information of how their customers are paying them. For over 30 years we have helped thousands of your fellow traders in the construction industry avoid problem payers and reduce their bad debt. All our members benefit from access to our unique and invaluable credit information and our effective recovery services.

Top Service History – 1991 to Present.

Lisa Cardus, founding Director explains how Top Service started.

Our company started life as a debt recovery agency in 1991 with a few Worcestershire builders’ merchants as clients. Within a year it became apparent that certain debtors were systematically running up an account with one merchant, failing to pay then running up an account with another merchant, and so on until we were collecting from some debtors on behalf of five different merchants. None of the merchants were aware of a debtor’s true indebtedness because, although they met up occasionally, they didn’t discuss their slow payers or bad debtors.  When we pointed out that some debtors were taking advantage of this lack of communication the merchants asked us to act as an unbiased information network, so we set up a rudimentary computer database to store payment histories and trading experiences on behalf of our clients. More merchants joined the ‘club’ including plumbers’ merchants, timber merchants and roofing merchants. The network became so successful that by the end of 1992 companies from the hire sector were asking to join in the pooling of credit information. By the mid 1990s a diverse range of companies had joined our network, but they all had one thing in common – they were all taking a risk when supplying to the construction industry on a credit basis. 

Over the years our range of services has expanded as a direct result of suggestions and comments from our customers. If our customers don’t like something, then we don’t do it.  For example, many of our customers don’t like the fact that most credit reference agencies tie them into a contract, so we don’t do this.  In fact, we don’t ask for any commitment on their part.  They stay with us because they like what we do and they like our team members. We know this because they tell us – click here to see their comments.

We have been described as a ‘protection society’, a ‘community’, a ‘credit circle’ and a ‘national grapevine of information’. Apart from identifying slow payers and bad debtors our information sharing network has also foiled a number of frauds over the years.

We started in 1991 with just two founders, Lisa Cardus & Kevin Halligan. Now there are two more directors, Matt Ricketts & Emma Reilly and a team over 30 people. We started small so the ‘personal touch’ was built in from the beginning. To this day we have stuck with the principles of good, old fashioned customer service. No matter how far technology takes us there will always be a friendly voice at the end of the phone, just waiting to go that extra mile.

Why Thousands Of Companies Use Our Services.

Many of our customers have been with us for more than two decades because they benefit from:

  • An industry specific service.
  • Fewer slow payers.
  • Lower bad debt levels.
  • Improved cash flow
  • A competitive advantage
  • Peace of mind.


Why More & More Companies Are Using Us.

Slow payers, bad debtors and fraudsters are increasingly having to look outside of the Top Service circle to buy goods, hire equipment and engage services. Companies that are not part of our information network are consequently at a higher risk of customer default. 

If you were thinking of joining us we can provide you with:

  • Relevant, accurate and up-to-date credit information. We pick up adverse indicators much faster than other agencies because we concentrate on the construction industry. Unlike other agencies we follow up on gossip, tip-offs, news stories, hunches and gut feelings as well following up the more traditional sources of information.  
  • Up to 120 free chasing letters every year that really produce results. 88% of the chasing letters that we send out on behalf of our customers produce some kind of payment.  Many agencies charge between £2 – £5 for a chasing letter so you are potentially saving £600 per annum.  Our name also carries a lot of weight in the industry because debtors know that we keep a record of  their payment practices.
  • An unlimited number of chasing emails.
  • ‘No win, no fee’ debt recovery in cases where a chasing letter or email fails to elicit a payment.  We have higher than average success rates because our service is geared 100% to the construction industry. No commission is charged until the money has actually cleared in your bank.
  • An unlimited amount of free help, advice and guidance as far as credit control is concerned, including free samples of credit application forms and directors’ personal guarantees. We also have an online forum where you can chat with your fellow traders.

We don’t ask for any commitment from you. No contract, no ties, no hassle. You are free to cancel our service whenever you want. We take customer service very seriously. We aim to answer calls to our helpdesk within 3 rings during normal office hours and you speak to an experienced human being, not a machine.

Thousands of your fellow traders can’t be wrong. Click here to join us or give us a call on 01527 503990 for more information.


Who We Are Affiliated With

Over the past two decades we have built strong relationships with various trade associations, industry bodies and federations. Members of these organisations are entitled to a 25% discount on our standard subscription rate. Click here for a full list of these organisations.