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.
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?
If you search for a window installer, it can take a while to find the right one. It's because it's hard to know which ones you can trust. Local installers can charge low prices, for example, but some might be providing poor-quality windows. Not only that, you might end up working with rogue traders who are out to make a quick buck. Companies like these won't be certified, meaning your windows may not be compliant with building regulations either.
If you decide to search for a window installer alone, there are a few tricks to save time. You can search through review websites to get an idea of what other customers think about window companies. However, some canny companies have discovered that they can game the system with fake reviews. As a result, it's important to take any reviews you see with a pinch of salt and not to trust them too much.
A window installer you can trust, though, will always have a FENSA certificate. At FENSA, we hold window installers to high standards for the quality of their windows and their installation services. Because of this, any company with our approval can give you the brand-new window you need. You'll get better performance, lasting quality and a made-to-measure installation from trusted installers that won't let you down.
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 was to understand the main influences we have as consumers in making this decision, and the second was to highlight areas that are increasingly becoming more influential to consumers.
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.
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 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 the 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.
Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following: