INSTALLER INTERVIEW: Sean Branton, Virtue Heating & Plumbing

INSTALLER INTERVIEW: Sean Branton, Virtue Heating & Plumbing

Jonathan Cole speaks to Sean Branton of Virtue Heating & Plumbing in Surrey to find out what impact COVID-19 has had.

Heating and plumbing experts have a key role to play in keeping essential services up and running. Are you still operating and, if so, what steps have you taken to protect staff?
Yes, we are and will continue to offer our services until the government says we can’t. We have been following the government guidelines, keeping 2m+ away from clients, changing our gloves regularly, cleaning surfaces, door handles etc. The guys have got face masks, loads of anti-bac wipes and shoe covers. We are doing everything we can to keep our engineers and clients safe. We are all in this together, so the houses we have been working at have been great as we are all on the same page respecting one’s space.

What are the main challenges for you at this time?
There isn’t much in place for a small business like ours, we are relatively lean and have a home office which means there isn’t any relief in place for this and we still have overheads that we couldn’t cover if we didn’t work. We have seen great growth in the last 12 months so we are keeping more engineers busy there is a lot of pressure for us to keep the work coming in and the phone is not ringing as much as we are used to. We have kept busy to date as we have two medium-sized sites still pushing on but we are anticipating as we are not quoting the volume we need too.

We are staying optimistic, once things settle hopefully there will be a big spike in work and we can continue to grow and provide the great service we offer.

Are you finding any difficulty obtaining products from merchants?
So far we have been fine. HPS and City Plumbing have been great, they have new opening times and you are not allowed in store but we are working with them on this. We got caught short last week, we needed two outside taps to finish a client’s kitchen and no one had any but we located them at a Toolstation nearby.

Are manufacturers supplying adequate support?
Yes. Vaillant, as always, have been extremely helpful – along with our other suppliers.

Is this time causing strain on the business?
I think I covered most of it above and to date we have kept going with the boiler breakdowns and new installs coming in, but they are slowing up. The site work has been handy and the developers we work with have been great and given us the space we need to carry out our work.

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