Feature

How to grow and scale your heat pump business 

The UK’s goal of 600,000 annual heat pump installations by 2028 is certainly ambitious. To stand a chance of achieving this target, we need to leverage the vital knowledge and skills that existing heat pump installers have accumulated over the years.

Heat pump amongst white pebbles and greenery.

By helping them to grow and scale their businesses, they can be enabled to benefit financially from the transition as well as making those lofty targets much more achievable. 

Many heat pump installers struggle to grow beyond a small team due to the weight of paperwork and time spent dealing with time-wasting enquiries or doing surveys and designs. But it’s definitely possible, and there have been some stand-out successes in recent years.

Together with Spruce, we’ve put together some high-level guidance for how ambitious installers might go about growing their businesses. 

Good service and happy customers 

First and foremost, doing high quality installations and leaving your customers delighted with the work you’ve done is the foundation on which everything else grows. It’s hard to overstate the value of a strong reputation as new customers will be drawn in by word-of-mouth referrals and positive reviews, driving business growth even without additional marketing spend.  

The culture you build in the company goes a long way here and can really help you stand out – it’s remarkable how many businesses don’t prioritise looking after their customers and properly listening to their problems.  

It can also be valuable to find other experienced installers who can offer advice and support, particularly around tricky installations or when dealing with difficult homeowners. And following star installers like Urban Plumbers on Youtube or X can help provide a wealth of advice and tips for how to do high quality installations while avoiding some of the common pitfalls. 

Marketing and sales

Investing in effective marketing can feel daunting, but doing it well is vital if you’re to seriously scale. There are a few core parts to think about, starting with creating a professional-looking website means that homeowners get a great first impression and can understand the range of services you offer. You can try this yourself with platforms like Wix, but most installers prefer to use companies like Digital Tool Bag,etc.

A new site is a start, but it needs traffic to make it really worthwhile. Building your presence on Facebook, particularly in neighbourhood groups, can get the word out. If done well, optimising your site properly for search engines (SEO) can help potential customers in your area find you much more easily, and means you don’t have to pay for every “click” as you do with paid ads online. Depending on your size and ambitions, marketing specialists can guide you through this slightly complex area to maximise the return on the money you spend.  

Many installers we’ve spoken to have also successfully built referral partnerships with local builders, architects, and Energy Assessors to help find new jobs. When this works well, it’s a win-win relationship as they increasingly need to be able to incorporate heat pumps in their projects. 

Finally, as you scale it’s crucial that everyone who speaks to prospective customers demonstrates knowledge and credibility to build trust and help win the job, as there is naturally nervousness from some homeowners about switching to a heat pump. 

Hiring and training  

As the business grows, investing in employee training and development becomes increasingly important. Recruiting and training engineers will help ensure that the team can deliver the high-quality work customers expect.  

Finding experienced engineers can be really challenging when they’re in such high demand, so increasingly we’re seeing installers hiring plumbers or gas engineers and then helping upskill them into doing heat pumps and low temperature heating. There are a huge number of courses available to help here, provided by manufacturers such as Vaillant or Viessmann or other installers like Vito Energy and Heat Geek, and other specialist training firms.

On top of this, if you don’t already have them, hiring competent administrative staff to handle customer inquiries and manage paperwork helps free up your time to focus on installations or more strategic tasks. 

Software to streamline operations 

Finally, streamlining operations with technology can help save a huge amount of time which can then be used for everything else we’ve mentioned here. Implementing CRM and project management tools like Payaca or Commusoft that have been designed with heat pump installers in mind can help the business stay organised and on top of deadlines as well as keeping all your projects (heat pump, boilers, solar, servicing) in one place.  

Adding in specialist tools for heat pump installers like Spruce can then radically streamline the process of handling enquiries and doing heat loss surveys and system designs, giving you hours back every week and increasing the number of jobs you win. 

A walk in the park

Scaling a heat pump business is never going to be a walk in the park. But it’s definitely possible – and the rewards are huge for those who succeed. Hopefully this has helped spark a few ideas for how you can begin or accelerate your growth journey. 

Photo by alpha innotec on Unsplash