029 HPM 1115

HPM November 2015

John Lisle and John Byrne a customer to buy a boiler, not want a free one from someone else. We ideally want them to spend that money with us. KW: I took a big hit from the Green Deal as it included landlords. Normally landlords would pay money to have a boiler replaced, but they then started waiting around to get a free one. This allowed other Green Deal certified companies to come in, double the price and make a profit. MH: In my area we were finding lots of companies were taking advantage of the Green Deal to make money. They’d spring up and only specialise in a particular product. These specialist firms lasted six months and closed only to re-open down the road under the same directors. NB: The only benefit is when we are called in to fix their mess. That’s really how we were benefitting from it, by repairing what they left behind. I don’t think any future schemes will be accessible to us, so I’m not sure I’d want them to continue. Do you think the government did enough to market the Green Deal properly – it only spent £6 million – or three per cent – of its overall budget publicising its flagship energy scheme? MH: I suppose the government saw the installers as the main marketing tool, but it just wasn’t accessible. The information on how to easily access the scheme and make it work for us just wasn’t available to us smaller firms. NB: I would imagine you’d need a great deal of research to make it worthwhile. I read something about one installer who spent thousands becoming registered, qualified and certified, jumping though all the red tape but now it has pulled the plug. MH: The easiest way to get the information to us would be to do it through the Gas Safe Register. We’re all on there and it would be the easiest way to access us. If they logged on and used the details there, they would probably find it would increase the use of their budget. JL: Yes, that and the magazines that come through from the merchants. NB: If we can reduce set up costs and red tape we’ll get on board with it – if it’s not expensive, or complicated, we’ll do it. But at the moment I have enough trouble sorting out the books and keeping up with qualifications without having to spend hours and hours doing that as well. Installers are being urged to get on board with the smart control revolution and capitalise on the opportunities these will bring. So are you going to? MH: Everyone wants to know about it, but at the moment they don’t want to pay for it. It’s understandable some of the systems can be into the hundreds, but when you can pick up a normal thermostat for around £80, the smart option is double the price. People are definitely interested and want to hear about it but I’ve found they are not following it through. NB: The people who are interested from a tech side of things will always want the latest gadget. They can see the value and are prepared to pay for it. These people will ask for smart controls and know what they want. But for people who aren’t into tech, or have a phone that’s ten-years-old, they won’t want it and it’s hard to sell it to them as a result. MH: I don’t think we are ever going to make massive money on controls. NB: Even if we take the European related Products (ErP) Directive as an example and promote the fact that having controls can equip WWW.HPMMAG.COM you with an A+ heating system, it still depends on the customer. Some really care about that kind of thing and others just aren’t bothered. So you won’t convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced. My customers want their kit installed in the easiest way possible and for it not to break. For many, all they are bothered about is the white box on the wall. Maybe in ten more years people will care about the ErP, but then again, maybe in ten years it will have been scrapped due to the time it takes and the admin. KW: Ninety per cent of customers are looking at the end price – not the clever gadgets. One leading manufacturer believes the ErP will constitute the biggest shake-up in a decade. What difference do you think it will make to the heating industry? NB: To be honest, the additional paperwork has been the biggest difference on a daily basis. MH: For the customer, it’s just another piece of paper that will be stuck in the boiler book and forgotten about for a year or two. NB: I know the idea is to show homeowners what their energy efficiency percentage is and get them to go for something more efficient, but I don’t see that happening or making a difference. I find I just have to put the label in the cupboard because they don’t want it on the boiler and that they just aren’t interested – just like the benchmark books. People are just interested in whether they get a certificate to tick a box and how much it will cost. RA: A boiler is generally a crisis purchase to replace one that’s gone wrong. The fact that it’s broken means the customer needs it replacing quickly and cheaply. As a bottom line, the boiler is a white box on the wall people don’t want to think about. NB: It’s hard enough getting them to service their boiler, let alone think about its efficiency – which is surprising as most people wouldn’t avoid servicing their car every six months, but they forget all about their boiler for years. MH: In terms of the ErP, the support is there, you just factor in a bit more time into each job. NB: Some are really good, the Worcester, Bosch ErP Label generator, for example, which is easy to use. As long as something is straightforward and simple, installers will use it. You know with that, you can log in and find the label you need there. If you have to use the benchmark like some other systems and do the maths yourself it gets very complicated and I would imagine people simply aren’t doing it. MH: Yeah, you could be right, especially as its self-regulated at the moment. I don’t think it will ever be policed. NB: The talk on the forums is that people aren’t doing it and they aren’t going to do it. MH: The only danger there is when people go to sell their house they’re going need an ErP certificate. But that is similar to the benchmark scheme; the amount of boilers I go to where it hasn’t been filled out. When people go to buy a house, it should be filled out but because it’s not policed, people don’t realise. Keith Wareham enquiry number 111 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY NOVEMBER 2015 29


HPM November 2015
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