Special Report

Prioritising safety – strategies for effective customer communication 

We know that the industry goes through highs and lows when it comes to demand – but, whatever the season, it’s crucial for installers to prioritise safety and compliance in their projects. However, communicating the importance of these aspects to customers can be challenging, especially when faced with competitors who may compromise safety to offer lower prices. 

What installers can do to educate their clients on the significance of safety and compliance – and why it’s important.

Recently, a LinkedIn post by John P Thomas, Owner of Modern Energy and Electrical Services, highlighted this issue. John shared his experience of losing a tender for a solar and storage project to a company that appeared to be installing without proper safety measures, such as edge protection and skylight protection.  

This started a lively conversation on LinkedIn with installers and other professionals sharing their experience of seeing jobs they lost being won by people with unscrupulous practices. 

Here’s what the community had to say about this issue: 

“As an installer I’m also thinking how long would that take to [do the install in an unsafe] manner! With all safety measures in place you can move quickly and freely around the array. It’ll take twice the time [without them], so the scaffolding and additional protection bill would be covered by a halved Labour cost.” 

Craig Davies – Managing Director,Evergreen Renewable Solutions LTD, Cardiff 

“Explaining the client’s responsibilities and who will answer to the HSE along with a brief process of an investigation [is a great tactic]. That little education is winning the contracts over price. For example [would they prefer] a £50,000 installation done correctly or £39,000 [installation] and a HSE nightmare, a director’s free ticket to the dock and the business under investigation? We now publicly display this message for residential customers, and it’s effective.” 

Eco Mirage Limited, Gloucester 

While we don’t have control over being priced out, what installers can do is educate their clients on the significance of safety and compliance – and why it’s important. 

Here are some tactics to effectively communicate these values: 

Highlight certifications and qualifications 

We spend a lot of time discussing the value of certain qualifications – but this is a great example of when they come in handy. 

Emphasise any relevant accreditations and certifications you or your company have. Explain how these qualifications ensure that your work meets industry standards and is endorsed by the relevant authorities. Encourage customers to verify your credentials through the regulating body’s website and other reputable sources. 

Demonstrate the risks of non-compliance Sometimes seeing is believing. Use examples, such as the LinkedIn post mentioned above, to illustrate the dangers of working with companies that cut corners on safety. Share stories of HSE investigations and the potential legal consequences for both contractors and clients who fail to prioritise safety. 

Educate clients on their responsibilities 

Many potential clients simply don’t know the risks or where they’re liable. Inform clients of their own responsibilities under the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM). 

Explain that they can be held liable if an accident occurs due to a lack of safety measures. By understanding their role in ensuring a safe working environment, clients may be more inclined to choose compliant contractors. 

Showcase your safe working practices 

Make safety something worth shouting about! Provide potential clients with evidence of your commitment to safety, such as photos and videos of your completed projects that feature proper safety equipment and practices. Share testimonials from satisfied customers who value your focus on compliance and worker well- being. 

Emphasise the long-term benefits of choosing a compliant installer 

While prioritising safety may result in higher upfront costs, stress the long-term benefits of working with a compliant installer. These include peace of mind, reduced risk of accidents and legal issues, and a higher quality installation that will last for years to come. If a contractor is cutting costs on safety for their team, where else might they be cutting corners? 

Collaborate with local authorities and industry organisations 

This is a wider issue than we can solve as individuals. Work with local authorities and industry organisations to raise awareness about the importance of safety and compliance in installations. Participate in workshops, seminars, and other events to educate both installers and clients on best practices and the consequences of non-compliance. 

Over to you: 

What challenges have you faced when communicating the importance of safety and compliance to potential clients? 

How do you educate clients on their responsibilities under the CDM regulations? 

Can you share an example of a situation where prioritising safety helped you win a contract over a competitor who offered a lower price? 

If you have experience in this area, or if you’d like to share some insight – get in touch with jessica@renewableenergyinstaller.co.uk 

Image credit: Dreamstime stock photo