How do you find the right supplier to install and maintain central heating in your properties? What should you look for before, during and after the work is completed? Here are some things to look out for that tell you if you have found the right supplier (or not).
It’s not easy to find a reliable, cost-effective and knowledgeable supplier to install, service and maintain the central heating in your properties. There is so much choice out there, and more and more companies (often sole traders) pop up regularly.
In this article, we’ll show you the signs that you have found the right supplier – a reliable, cost-effective and professional company who you can rely on to provide a quality service for years to come. There are some red flags to watch out for and some positive signals too.
Searching for a new supplier
Always take a look at the website of the potential supplier. Look out for lack of detail or an outdated website. This probably isn’t a deciding factor in whether or not you choose that supplier, but more established providers will take care of their website and keep it updated regularly, so they stay relevant and competitive.
Also, take a look at the social media profiles of any potential supplier. While it’s understandable that good central heating companies are extremely busy, especially in the colder months, no updates on social media in years doesn’t reflect well on their levels of engagement with their customers.
Feedback and reviews
If you cannot see any feedback for the supplier online, you have reason to be concerned. Look for reviews on their Facebook and Google profiles. There are dedicated review sites like TrustPilot, Trusted Traders, and CheckaTrade to search too.
Of course, if you can only see mainly negative reviews online, stay away.
Word of mouth recommendations
Online reviews are helpful, but you should always look to get recommendations from people in your network, other businesses and organisations. Friends, colleagues, and neighbours may be able to help too.
Watch out for any hesitancy, doubt, or lack of detail when people are talking about their experience with a central heating company they have used before. These usually aren’t good signs.
Look for accreditation from Gas Safe, Safe Contractor, CHAS, and other reputable bodies. But don’t take accreditation logos at face value. Be sure to follow up to see if the supplier is in fact registered with that particular governing body.
Suppliers should list their Gas Safe registration number somewhere on their website so you can search the Gas Safe website, find their profile, and check that they are an active member. If in doubt, phone the supplier and get their Gas Safe number.
The exact accreditation you seek will depend on the type of work required, the type of property that requires work, and the type of heating your property has.
Also, look for accreditation with equipment manufacturers and suppliers like Baxi, Worcester Bosch, and Potterton.
Always gather at least two different quotes for the work so you can get a better idea of a fair price. Once you have gathered some quotes, it’s important to weigh up the cost with several other deciding factors like these:
- If they are a limited company or not
- How long the company has been established
- The size of the company (how many engineers)
- Membership of governing bodies, review websites, etc
- Any recommendations from people you know
Simply going for the cheapest option isn’t always the best strategy, especially if the supplier is significantly cheaper than others who have quoted for your work. They may be trying to undercut the competition, or they might be desperate for the work and could end up rushing the job to compensate for the low price.
You can judge a potential supplier by how you are treated when you first contact them. Much like in a social setting when you first meet someone, those first few minutes of contact are when the supplier should be keen to make an excellent first impression. Expect friendly service and clear information.
If a supplier is keen to win your business, they should be as flexible as possible when making appointments. Of course, a reputable supplier will naturally be very busy, but they should also have plenty of engineers on staff who can attend appointments in a reasonable timeframe. Expect suppliers to show a bit of flexibility and enthusiasm.
There are many ways in which technology can improve the service you receive from a central heating company. From instant repair assessments based on photos you upload and text reminders for appointments to smart diagnostic equipment and 24-hour access to online records of all scheduled and completed work.
During the engineer’s visit
Now we come to things you can look out for during the engineer visit. Be sure to gather feedback from your tenants when first using a new supplier and regularly for existing suppliers (even if they have performed well in the past).
Expect engineers to demonstrate what they have done. They should also explain how the tenant can operate the equipment, such as a new boiler or radiator if required.
Expect engineers to be friendly and personable, with no problem too small or too big. Any negative behaviour could reflect poorly on you as a landlord, council or housing association.
You should expect only the best customer service for your tenants. Ideally, the supplier should supply accurate appointment times within a 3 hour period to avoid you or your tenant waiting for longer than necessary.
As we say, there should be no "appointment disappointment".
While an engineer’s appearance may not directly influence how well they can perform their work, professional, branded clothing means the company cares about their reputation and brand. They want to make the right impression with you and your tenants, which is the right attitude.
After the engineer’s visit
Quality of the work
Once you have hired a new supplier, you will, of course, judge them on the quality of the work completed. If the call-out was to solve a problem with the central heating, has the issue been fixed? For new installations, does everything work as expected? Is the work neat with well-organised pipework?
Even for suppliers you have relied on for years, you should expect a consistently high standard of work. Look out for issues that seem to crop up repeatedly, reports of untidy work, and complaints from tenants about the work itself.
Condition of the site/property
Expect the engineer to leave the work area as they found it, cleaning up any mess they made during the work and taking any packaging from boilers or parts with them.
Central heating safety for landlords and housing providers requires up-to-date documentation like Gas Safety Certificates for gas central heating.
If a new boiler or water heater has been installed, the engineer should have left the manual with the tenant.
In addition to the vital safety paperwork and manuals, you should also expect the supplier to keep an accurate record of all the work completed, including cost information.
Ideally, you should have easy online access to all documentation.
For larger jobs, the supplier may follow up with a quick phone call or email to check all is okay with the work and how the central heating is performing.
This is especially relevant in the winter months when there has been a major issue with a tenant’s central heating or hot water.
Looking for experienced central heating engineers you can rely on?
We supply, service, repair and install gas boilers and central heating systems for social housing associations and councils right across the East Coast of Scotland.
Contact us about gas safety inspections, annual servicing, repair agreements or whatever else you might need to keep your tenants safe and warm.
Call our friendly team on 0800 3899 463 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm) for a free quote, or use our easy online form to get a free quote.