Richard Harvey, Category Director for Heating at Wolseley, talks through what you should look for when choosing a boiler manufacturer.

We know that many installers have their preferred boiler, just as they have a preferred football team, or pub. But, what lies behind the reasoning? Often, it’s a question of habit. They’ve installed it before, they know how it works, and they trust it to perform. Or maybe it’s because they get a good discount or loyalty rewards. All of this is good, but does it necessarily mean it’s the best boiler for a particular job? And if not, what should installers look out for to get the best for themselves, and for their customers?

As we all know, one size never fits all. So, a wide range and choice of boilers is important, as is their reliability and performance. There’s another factor to consider – ease of installation and servicing. Luckily, most of the major manufacturers tick boxes in all these respects, so what else differentiates one from another?

Installers often work in isolation and, however experienced they are, they can’t always solve problems on the spot. This can be remedied with a simple call to the manufacturer, which explains why support and advice are two of the most important criteria that installers look for when choosing a boiler.

Unsurprisingly then, all the major manufacturers offer dedicated support to help with technical queries and other product and warranty enquiries to ensure that installers are happy and confident working with their boilers. But saying it and delivering it aren’t necessarily the same thing. How easy are they to reach? How quickly do they answer the phone? What’s the quality of their advice? And what added value support do they offer? For example, do they regularly keep you up to date with industry developments such as NOx legislation and Boiler Plus?

In reality, most manufacturers offer aspects of all these. It’s just a question of looking at the added factors, such as the experience of the team and their availability, as well as access to training.

Working unsociable hours means installers are time poor for most of their working week. Recognising this, manufacturers have become more flexible with the hours of their customer service operations. But not all are open the same hours, and not all will work in the same way that you do. So, which suits your working patterns best? And importantly in this digital age, what do they do online, often the preferred means of communication for installers?

Many manufacturers now communicate with installers via an app. This doesn’t just provide instant answers to problems, it also means that installers can feel reassured there’s a point of reference if anything goes wrong. App features vary hugely, from fault-finding tips to part-finding tools. While most manufacturers offer apps, not all are the same, so it pays to spend a little time working out which features you need.

Manufacturers want brand loyalty, and all offer incentives in return for custom. These range from support with business and simple discounts through to points and prizes, such as branded work clothes, tools, and even leisure breaks.

So, what motivates you most – cash, support, or lifestyle incentives?

As you can see, just as there are a number of things to consider when choosing a boiler, so there are various factors to consider when choosing a manufacturer.

Ultimately, it’s a combination, but it comes down to two key questions. Which boiler is best for the customer, and what support package works best for you?