Ensuring customers understand the need for regular boiler servicing can help them retain warranties and generate long-term repeat business for installers.
Don’t assume that your customers know what a boiler service is – they may confuse it with a safety check and miss their annual maintenance without realising. Take time during the installation process to explain that having a reliable and well-maintained boiler to provide hot water and heat is a daily essential. Poorly maintained or faulty boilers present issues such as increased energy bills, leaks and damage to property. They can even cause serious health risks, including fatal carbon monoxide poisoning which, due to its colourless and odourless nature, is not easily detectable.
Inform them that a boiler service ensures that the boiler is running safely and efficiently. A full service must be carried out annually and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure that the warranty remains valid. Regular servicing increases the lifetime of the boiler, improves efficiency and reduces monthly fuel costs.
Many customers are shocked to hear that a service is different from a safety check. A boiler service requires the boiler to be stripped right back and the casing removed to carry out a series of inspections. A boiler service includes the following steps:
Reassure each homeowner or landlord that, once the service is complete, if the boiler does not meet the relevant building and gas safety regulations you will talk this through with them and explain any repairs or additional maintenance required. It may also be worth explaining the importance of using manufacturer approved parts to ensure that warranties remain valid, so that they are not tempted to cut corners on cost.
At the end of the service, you and your customer should sign a report to confirm that they are happy with every element of the service. A copy of the report should be readily available for customers if required. You will also need to fill in the service record, which is part of the installation and service manual. This document is essential if the customer needs to book a repair visit during the boiler warranty period.
All major boiler manufacturers offer a warranty on their products. A boiler warranty is like an insurance policy. The boiler manufacturer promises to look into the problem, but is entitled to charge for call-outs, and the terms of a warranty can be changed without notice.
Manufacturers such as Baxi, Worcester Bosch and Ideal have warranties from around two to 10 years. The warranty is only valid if the appliance has been fitted by a Gas Safe registered engineer and a Benchmark commissioning checklist is completed in full at the time of installation.
Remember, the boiler must be registered within 30 days of installation and the appliance needs to be serviced once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer for the lifetime of the warranty.
Failing to register the appliance, lack of servicing, neglect, and faults being fixed by either the customer themselves or an unqualified or unregistered installer can cause a warranty to become invalid.
With the government’s new homes initiative and energy saving a priority, boiler servicing offers installers a great opportunity to retain customers for repeat business (see box below). If you install a boiler from Baxi, for instance, you have the potential to keep a customer for 10 years or more through servicing alone.
The Ideal Vogue boiler, for example, even offers a service reminder scheme to help you provide value-added service to your customers. Following registration, the manufacturer supports you through a combination of customer reminders and SMS prompts so you can call ahead and book in your service at the right time.
Homeowners have the right to expect that their new boiler and heating system is installed safely and professionally, and that subsequent servicing is up to the same standard. The Benchmark commissioning checklist initiative has been developed to ensure this.
Benchmark is a joint campaign from the UK’s major gas boiler manufacturers and the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council to rid the industry of incompetent installers and ensure homeowners remain safe.
By completing and signing the Benchmark commissioning checklist, installers provide the customer with reassurance and evidence that these requirements have been met. If a commissioning checklist is not completed when a heating system is installed, the warranty becomes invalid.
Through linking the commissioning checklist with their warranty, manufacturers are supporting the compliant and professional installers who do their job well, while sending out a message to rogue installers that manufacturers will not carry the cost of installations that have not been carried out in line with their guidelines.
Boiler servicing offers a steady flow of business throughout the year, that can help you earn more money and keep your customer’s installations running efficiently. Here are our tips on how to grow your boiler servicing customer base: