View from the Front Line – A recap

As Installer heads in an exciting new digital direction, Heating Engineer and regular columnist Andy Gibbs looks back at the articles he’s written for the magazine.

I thought I’d indulge myself with a look back at all the articles I’ve penned over the last four years, so sit back, read on and take a trip down memory lane with me.

How to deal with non-paying customers

The first one. I can’t remember what I said, but probably advised getting paid before you leave the site!

Why doesn’t the government consult us?

And still they don’t.

Why gas parts should NEVER be sold to the public

Still a huge bone of contention. We installers don’t like it, but it’s not something that will ever stop.

Fast-track courses are harming the industry

Yes they still are, but I don’t think we hear as much about them now.

No excuse for dodgy installations

Seriously, there isn’t.

What does Gas Safe do for us?

Still not enough really, but they can’t help it as they’re only doing as they’re told by the government.

The retro boiler label

Honestly no idea what this one was about. I probably said it was a waste of time and effort!

Is ACS out of date?

Yes, and nothing has changed there. I don’t expect it to either. I’m retaking it again next year, so I guess I’ll find out then.

Who’s responsible for CO issues?

This was following a CO poisoning job I attended. I remember how no one seemed to know what to do. Eventually I got Environmental Health involved and the matter was dealt with, but it surprised me how hard it was and how no one wanted to take responsibility.

Are there too many get-me-a-plumber schemes?

Yes there are and it’s getting worse. Now they expect us to pay money to buy a lead, the same lead they can flog half a dozen times to others.

The importance of fire safety

Buy a fire extinguisher. Take it into the job with you every time. That is all.

Bogus gas courses

This one was a lot of fun. I enrolled my wife on an £18 online Gas Engineering course. She passed in under an hour!

Are we better off without freebies?

This was a good one. We all love a freebie, but don’t kid yourself if you think there’s actually such a thing as a free lunch.

Is smart always smart?

Forgot about this one. No, smart isn’t always smart. Especially when the thermostat is not smart enough to connect to your Wi-Fi.

Dodgy boiler spares

Over and over again I get customers calling me asking to fit a second-hand part they got online. The answer is always: “No, I will not fit it”, and your answer should always be the same.

Trade bodies

Far too many of them and they all bring nothing but take plenty, mostly your money.

What’s in my toolbox?

Mostly I blame that PB Plumber bloke for the money I spent on tools. Terrible at looking after them, I just buy new ones and carry on.

My lockdown experience

Still ongoing this one. Except now it’s called Lockdown 2, or is it 3? Or 4….

Sustainability: it’s the customers you need to convince

Lovely idea but it’s customer-driven and they simply don’t want to pay the money for it. Too many mad scientists with their heads in books who have no idea what a boiler even looks like.

My business advice

Be presentable and polite. Job done.

So there you are, 21 articles over 4 years. If you read them all and loved them, I thank you very much. If you read them all and hated them, I thank you even more!

I’ll still be writing for the guys at Installer, just in a different format, so
thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all online.

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