Hayley Matthews of Datingadvice.com talks about Searchmate:

Julie, a 40-year-old lawyer living in the UK, had gone on four dates through Searchmate before the matchmakers suggested Jonathon, a down-to-earth single father who lived nine miles away. Julie wanted children, so she was hesitant to date a man who had already started a family. However, the matchmakers assured her that he was open to having more children and compatible with her in every other respect. Julie gave a reserved yes to exchanging contact information and seeing where things go.

The couple hit it off right away. After their second date, they were already making plans far in the future. In Julie’s words, “It has been nothing short of amazing ever since our first phone conversation.”

Since it was founded in 1998, Searchmate has helped thousands of singles figure out what they want and find their happily-ever-afters. In 2012, the well-known matchmaking agency came under new leadership, and its membership numbers shot through the roof.

UK singles with a one-year Searchmate membership receive unlimited personal introductions.

“In the last five years, we’ve grown our database 12 times over,” said Mike Parker, Searchmate’s Managing Director. “I always say Searchmate is the opposite of online dating. We work with people individually and very carefully arrange introductions.”

From its headquarters in Birmingham, Searchmate connects singles across the country in a far-reaching database. Matchmakers suggest compatible partners to relationship-minded singles and allow them to browse ID-verified members in the database. Over the decades, the high-end introduction agency has grown its singles database to over 46,000 members throughout the UK.

“Searchmate has become a very strong brand in the UK,” Mike said. “We have the largest database of personally interviewed and ID checked professionals in the UK.”

How It Works: A Personalized Vetting & Matchmaking Process

Not just anyone can join Searchmate. You have to make an inquiry and get approval from the team of dating experts. The agency does a thorough background check on all newcomers, and every new client is personally interviewed by a member of the team.

The Senior Membership Adviser, Julie Lazarus, leads the effort to cultivate a strong and genuine membership of single men and women. Julie is an energetic and straightforward assistant for members in the early phases of joining Searchmate. Hers is often the first face a new Searchmate client sees, so it’s up to her to make sure they get started on the right foot.

Searchmate also conducts thorough background checks before allowing someone to join the membership base. The team is highly selective and only serves financially solvent and upstanding members of society.

“We check new members very carefully through one of the most comprehensive authentication systems available in the UK,” Mike said. Backed by the technology of LexisNexis, a computer-assisted research legal and business tool, the Searchmate team can perform ID checks and financial fraud checks to ensure everyone is who they say they are.

Once the client has passed the background check, Julie passes the dating profile on to a matchmaker who then chooses compatible matches. The matchmakers show clients the profiles (including photos) of people they think would be a good fit for them. If both individuals agree to the match, the agency facilitates the exchange of contact information and lets the couple take it from there.

“We’ve got an honest and transparent profile of that person,” Mike said, “but, of course, it is all extremely discreet. That profile and photos are not accessible on the internet anywhere. It is completely confidential between the client and the matchmaking team.”

Who Benefits: Relationship-Minded Men & Women Over 40

 The demographics of Searchmate’s members are as diverse as the population of the UK. However, Mike told us the dating agency attracts more male clients than female clients — a fact that sets them apart from the typical UK matchmaking database.

Mike speculated that Searchmate’s brand appeals to men because it’s “unfussy” — the straightforward and transparent system gives daters more control over their love lives without being too intrusive. The streamlined matchmaking process allows matchmakers to make introductions, but also empowers clients to look for matches for themselves on the database.

The typical Searchmate client is an adult who has tried other means of dating and desires a more personalized approach to finding a long-term love. In terms of age, the sweet spot is between 40 and 65, but the matchmaking team will happily work with singles who are younger or older.