Alice Woolley, Director of Marketing at Vaillant, explains the value of attending training to improve the day-to-day running of your business.

Many of the factors necessary for running a successful plumbing and heating company are the same as just about any other type of firm. Provide a service your customers cannot do without, and do it so well that yours is the first name they think of. However, with a lot of competition out there, how do you stand out from the crowd?

There is always product training, of course, but there are other aspects of your business to consider too. Here are just a few of the ways you can build and sustain your business for years to come.

Your business

Make sure you’re getting your pricing right. What’s worse than doing a job where you know you’re losing money?

You can improve this by reviewing each job after it finishes and comparing your estimate with the actual cost, including absolutely every element for an accurate representation of your costs. 

You can also develop certain ‘rules of thumb’ to help with estimating in the future. This might include developing a set of standard heating packages for certain types/sizes of home, so you’ve always got a base cost to build on. 

Obviously these will just be a starting point – there will always be customers with bigger budgets who want every possible bell and whistle, and customers who want the bare minimum, but it’s useful to have a basic framework. 

Your customers

It is important to take a holistic approach to your business – one that responds to the needs of your customers. With today’s heightened consumer expectations, many engineers are expected to build their business around customer convenience rather than their own schedules.

This means there is an increasing need to respond to customer enquiries quickly, provide timely and accurate quotes, and schedule and complete jobs as soon as possible – all while maintaining a professional approach and ensuring you offer a high quality service.

In addition, the growth of social media and review sites means consumers are able to locate and contact a recommended heating engineer at the touch of the button. This means if they are unhappy with the service they have received, or a job is taking too long, they can easily find someone else. 

The challenge of offering a professional service is more intense than ever, so business owners are facing increasing pressure to make the most of their time to ensure they offer an efficient, yet excellent service.

To make your service memorable, try leaving a thoughtful gift at the end of a job, or perhaps send a follow-up email thanking them for their custom. Also, don’t forget to leave the site nice and tidy, and use things like dust sheets and counter working mats to ensure you make a really positive impression with your customers.

Your wellbeing

In today’s performance-orientated and competitive world, there is a real pressure for installers to deliver results day in, day out. There is nothing wrong with this, but the real issue is that often your wellbeing is neglected as a result.

There isn’t a quick fix or an easy answer to the issue of mental health in the workplace, but by talking about our feelings and taking a wellbeing complaint as seriously as a physical ailment, we can all work together to eradicate the perceived stigma around mental health.  

Social media is helping the industry talk about this subject and provide support to any installer feeling the effects and share their experiences. After all, plumbing can be a lonely job, and having a chance to take a break and chat with other like-minded installers is now possible using social media tools.

Vaillant runs a number of Business Support Clinics at locations across the UK, with upcoming dates as follows:

  • Farnborough – 26 June
  • Maidstone – 3 July
  • Cambridge – 1 August
  • Belper – 15 August
  • Glasgow – 17 September
  • Bristol – 24 September
  • Elland – 9 October.

For more information, or to sign up, visit