EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT: Ticking all the boxes

EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT: Ticking all the boxes

In light of recent events surrounding CGCS, it’s become increasingly clear that installers both want and need to speak with a single voice in the face of adversity. While this may stop short of a fully formed trade union, the desire among the installer community to offer help and advice to others in the trade – whether they’re seasoned veterans or newcomers – shows a side of the heating and plumbing sector that you’ll rarely see portrayed through mainstream media channels that are too often fixated on the cowboy element.

The willingness of installers not only to pass on the benefit of their experience but also potential jobs that they’re unable to undertake demonstrates a commitment to customer service that should not be underestimated. For the thousands of sole traders who take such pride in both their work and their demeanour, there are already plenty of obstacles to overcome. To then discover that there’s what many may view as an enemy within is difficult to stomach.

Since winning The Apprentice in 2015, Joseph Valente has used his profile to keep our industry in the news for the right reasons. His business, ImpraGas, has grown considerably – as you might expect. His success was largely welcomed and he has had the opportunity to present himself as an ambassador for installers everywhere.

Sadly, he’s now in a position where he has alienated great swathes of heating engineers. The cause? Marketing material for ImpraGas that makes assertions about one man bands that appear to be not only untrue but also plucked out of thin air.

The literature in question came to our attention via @AlphaTec_ on Twitter, and it isn’t difficult to understand why sole traders are up in arms. From limescale reducers to 10-year manufacturer warranties, to state in writing that one man bands offer such a limited service is extraordinary. A lingering question mark over powerflushing that will certainly plant seeds of doubt in a potential customer’s mind is equally so. And so it goes on. Even the example price is wildly inaccurate according to feedback we’ve had from the sharp end.

This isn’t the first mis-step that ImpraGas has made. Back in December, a tweet (since deleted) caused a great deal of consternation for stating that “old gas boilers are not safe to use”. In response, ImpraGas stated that “a young member of our marketing team worded it incorrectly”.

To an extent, owning that particular error was a mature move – though it also prompted @daleyplumbing to point out that “basically the apprentice is blaming the apprentice”. This time round, no such response has been forthcoming (at the time of writing).

In the words of Uncle Ben – not the rice guy – “with great power comes great responsibility”. As arguably the UK’s most high profile installer, Joseph Valente and his company are under the microscope when it comes to their representation of the industry. That representation has to include the way in which the business markets itself, and devaluing the exceptional work done by other installers with unverified claims should never be seen as an acceptable tactic.

Related posts