Opinion

Summertime and the living is busy

Bruce Allen

Bruce Allen, HETAS, sheds light on how installers can promote their business/services in a quiet summer period

Traditionally, summertime is a less busy time for heating installers. Whilst cash flow and maintaining income are critically important, the quieter summer months can serve to be a great opportunity to think about all those things that you put off when struggling with the busy winter workload.

In terms of general housekeeping and keeping up with legal requirements, take the chance to look at the things we all tell ourselves we will get to later. Tidy the stores and do a stock check – you may find out that you have more of some things than you thought and less of others. Catch up with the latest products and technological advances. Is there anything that can save you money, make work easier or expand the range of services you currently offer?

For those of you installing combustion appliances, is your training/assessment up to date? Should you take other new assessments to increase the earning potential of your business; for instance a qualified gas or oil installer can take a week long course to find out the differences between the heating systems they are used to and biomass. The RHI scheme is driving the domestic biomass sector hard and there is much growth in the manufacture of biomass appliances and installation in customers’ homes. Contrary to popular belief, biomass is not only for schools, hospitals and stately homes. RHI statistics show that 22 percent of biomass applications are for semi-detached houses and 18 percent for bungalows. Additional training at a quiet time can set you up for a great future business opportunity.

Don’t forget that we are all bound by health and safety legislation. Is your office safe? Is your van MOT’d and have you cleaned it out lately? Have you calibrated your instruments or bought the new screwdriver that you keep promising yourself?

What about standard forms? These make life so much easier. Taking the time to create safety check forms, servicing forms and warning notices will save time in the long run. Look at your advertising. It is a very competitive world out there. Some registration schemes will give you free promotional leaflets or guidance leaflets for your customers. It only takes a phone call to find out more.

With so many consumer shows revealing the bad traders, it is essential to present your company as a good trader. Have you got your registration scheme sticker on your van? Do you use their logo on your paperwork? Are you using standard well written contracts? Are you giving yourself time to be the great customer service driven business that you want to be?

The quieter times are sometimes worrying, but spending time doing positive things that make your business stand out against others can never be time wasted.

Having given some attention to your business and how you run it, there is no better way to serve your existing customers than with a courtesy call checking if they need a service on their appliance; is there any maintenance that needs doing? It’s surprising how well people take to these extra initiatives. Everyone likes to a see a business trying hard and providing a great service. Spending the summer servicing and maintaining is a pretty good way to make a living and the spin off jobs are always worth having.

Maybe that quiet time won’t be quite so quiet after all.

For more information on the RHI and HETAS technical services, visit www.hetas.co.uk