Five tips for finding a reputable installer
Posted by Sam Tonge on 25 October 2017 at 10:27 am
So you have decided you would like to improve your home, or perhaps even install some renewable technology. However, you have come to realise the job is a little too big to get away with just some simple DIY. Choosing a reliable and good quality installer can be difficult, and there are definitely some horror stories out there of when things perhaps do not go to plan. Here at YouGen, we care about the quality of service you receive when installing renewable technology so have collated some tips for finding a good installer.
1. Quality standards
When installing renewable technologies, you should be looking out for an installer who is certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which demonstrates that they comply with industry standards. In addition to this, the installer should also be using MCS-certified products.You should also check that your installer is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) or HIES (The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme). Both RECC and HIES are consumer codes in the renewables sector and installers who are members must adhere to their code of practices. e.g. avoiding high-pressure selling techniques.
Other things you should look out for is a detailed quotation, estimation of how much heat and electricity can potentially be generated along with possible savings. Your installer should also explain operation and maintenance information before you choose to go ahead and offer a decent after-sales service.
It’s important for you to be sure of the length of warranty to avoid paying any additional sums, should anything go wrong with your installation. The average warranty for solar panels is around ten years and if you are offered a warranty shorter than this, it may reflect the quality of the product that they plan to install. Most installers also include a workmanship warranty of between one and two years. This links in with our next point about taking your time to make a well-informed decision.
3. Do your research
We’ve all come across the savvy salesperson, but going through with this approach may not necessarily lead you to the best deal. Some may offer you a limited time offer or large amounts of discount to try and encourage a quick decision. It’s best that you take your time in making this decision and resolve any queries with potential installers before choosing to go ahead with the work. Here at YouGen we recommend that you get a minimum of three quotes from different installers so you can accurately determine the average cost of the work on the market (as well as the reputability of the salesperson).
4. Cost and payback period
Probably the most important factor for those choosing to install renewable energy is cost. The most obvious move for anyone is to go with the cheapest quote, it does leave more money in your pocket after all. However, consider whether going with the cheapest option is actually suitable for your needs. Sometimes when an installer provides a slightly higher quote than another, this may be based on honest feedback or a genuine desire to help you get the best out of your project, e.g. fixing or strengthening the roof to ensure safe installation of solar panels.
It's also important to take a good look at quotations you get from installers on payback periods, e.g. 20-25 years for solar PV. This shows you not only how much you could earn from subsidies such as the Feed-in-Tariff but also how much you could save on your energy bills, compared to the cost of the installation. For example, the upfront cost could be £7,000 for Solar PV and the payback period table could show that over 20 years you could receive £15,000. It's important to make sure it adds up for you financially, and again look for at least three quotes as these predictions should be relatively similar (less than a 10% difference) between installers.
5. Customer recommendations
It’s important to feel comfortable with your preferred installer, which can be achieved by finding out what others have said about them. An excellent way to increase your confidence in a potential installer is by searching for their profile in the YouGen database. A local company with a high number of outstanding customer recommendations on our database indicates a strong commitment to delivering excellent customer service and product quality standards in your area. It’s also worth checking out the ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme approved by Trading Standards. The online platform provides you with a vetted list of local businesses who have given their commitment to trading fairly and to a high standard.
Another excellent way would be through asking family, friends and neighbours for their experience of particular installers. Alternatively searching your local community website or social media group to ask around can throw up some really useful and honest reviews (although beware of sponsored adverts or spam results!).
Overall, however comfortable you feel with your installer is a major factor in choosing a company to undertake your work, meaning it’s always best to do your homework before choosing one.
Image credit: Oregon Department of Transportation
About the author: Sam joined YouGen in 2017 as a Project Officer, after having achieved a BSc (Hons) degree in Geography from Royal Holloway, University of London.
He is passionate about renewable energy and sustainability and has undertaken a variety of placements focused in these areas.
Sam coordinates the YouGen blog, newsletter and recommendation service on behalf of installers. He enjoys providing customer service to website visitors as well as processing membership queries.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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