Advice for homeowners

Harry

Meet your
FENSA Advisor

This is Harry.

You might recognise him from our TV ad.

Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column.

Choosing an installer

Making sure we chose the right workmen is always a concern, especially for areas in which we may not know that much about. There are so many horror stories of cowboys that many of us end up dreading getting work done in our homes. So how do you choose a tradesperson, or in the case of replacement windows, a window installer?

 

Well in a recent poll, we asked what factors influence you before you contact a window company. We conducted this poll for two main reasons, the first to understand the main influences we have as consumers in making this decision, and the second to highlight areas that are increasingly becoming more influential to consumers.

 

Good old word of mouth and FENSA registration

 

It seems that the majority of us still rely on references by our friends or colleagues when choosing an installer. There is nothing wrong with this, and it was of no surprise that this option topped our poll. After all, we trust our friends and colleagues, so if they recommend a firm, and they have had a good experience with that firm, then you will be confident that they are capable of doing the same for you.

 

A firm being FENSA registered received the same amount of votes (28% of the total vote) as word of mouth. This is great news and shows that searching for the FENSA logo is a strong influence when choosing an installer. It also shows that people understand the FENSA logo and what it stands for, which is equally good news.

 

More word of mouth...

 

Interestingly, the third highest influence still revolved around word of mouth (well a form of it), this time in the shape of social media engagement and a positive online experience. It seems many of us read online reviews and we like to engage in discussions online. Firms that have positive online reviews and that engage online (via such as Twitter, Facebook and other online forums and blogs), stand a better chance than those who dont when trying to win new business.

 

This form of word of mouth and engagement is still relatively new, so it being the third most influential reason in our poll was a little surprising. It does though illustrate just how important the web has become to business, and how consumers research and now actively choose to engage with other consumers and businesses via the web. It seems a good online presence is becoming increasingly more important and it is no longer just about having a good website.

 

Other factors

 

Other popular factors included membership of trade organisations, one in particular being The Glazing Ombudsman (TGO). TGO was the 5th most influential factor in contacting an installer. This result shows how important Ombudsman schemes are to consumers, especially as TGO scheme has only recently been announced.

 

Online advertising was a low factor, with only 3% of those being polled stating online advertising through such sites as Google, as being a positive influence. Does this highlight a shift in influence from search engines and adverts to a more social form of communication? Based on our poll, we think so.

 

So what do you think of your results? Do you agree? Do let us know&

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What to check before appointing an installer

Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following:

  • Ask family and friends who have used installers about their satisfaction and whether they got a FENSA certificate.
  • Check the installer's references by talking to their previous customers.
  • Get at least three quotes and check you are being quoted like for like.
  • Cheapest is not always best and good contractors are always in demand.
  • Get quotes, timeframes and the fact that you will get a FENSA certificate all in writing. A proper written contract with an agreed completion date will help prevent confusion later on
  • Check the warranty on the installer's work and ensure they have enough insurance to cover their warranty. Domestic glazing installers that are registered with a competent person scheme like FENSA are legally obliged to provide warranty insurance to cover your installation should the company cease to trade within the life of the warranty.
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