Worcester Bosch is killing the heating industry

Worcester Bosch’s Greenstar boilers are continuously pushing heating technologies further, whilst their business decisions are detrimental to the industry as a whole.

Let me explain.

Worcester Bosch are the biggest boiler manufacturer in the UK. Whilst you can’t buy boilers from Worcester Bosch directly, you can buy them through one of their “Accredited Installers”. Essentially, this allowed them to monitor who was installing their products, and ensure they were only being installed by tradesmen who carry their quality standards.

These tradesmen are mainly small, local plumbing companies. Worcester Bosch would offer to pay for these plumbers’ marketing in exchange for boiler sales (and usually agreeing to exclusively promote their products).

Honestly, this seemed like a smart way of outsourcing the sales of their boilers, and ensuring their boilers were installed correctly. But, as with many companies, their ability to manage this situation spiralled out of control as online marketing became more and more integral for maintaining a successful business.

Worcester Bosch arguably made my career within marketing possible, but their buffoonery has resulted in more headaches than I can comprehend the last few years.

Here are a few of the ways they are driving the heating industry down the toilet:

Providing incorrect advice to installers

Every now and then Worcester Bosch hold conferences where they talk about their upcoming products and make recommendations to their “Accredited Installers”. These are usually related to marketing, admin, payment, etc.

As great as this first seems, the products or companies they recommend are usually not a correct fit for the businesses, or they’re ridiculously expensive. I’ll provide a couple of examples:

  1. They recommend a company called “i-promote” to their installers. i-promote essentially provides web design and SEO services which you pay for on a monthly basis (fees go up to over £300 per month). However, their websites are all template based, meaning you could end up with exactly the same website as another installer in your area; just the business name and logo changed. In addition to being annoying, it’s also not great for SEO.
  2. They recommended their installers use Stripe for online payments and told them they could set it up themselves. One small business’s team had no knowledge of Stripe, tried to set it up so they could take payments, and ended up missing out on almost a month’s worth of boiler servicing revenue because they set it up incorrectly.

With their admin or payment recommendations, it seems like Worcester Bosch are completely ignorant to the needs of a small business. Yes, their recommendation seems like it was good-willed, but is completely wrong for a small business and their requirements. For example, Stripe is great for a lot of businesses, but a small business might as well just use Paypal or Square for these types of payments because it’s much simpler to set up.

When it comes to marketing or web design, it often seems like something stranger is happening in the background of these partnerships. Instead of recommending cost-effective marketing tools or companies, they recommend overly expensive alternatives from weird tech companies who have awful reputations online. It’s almost as if someone at Worcester Bosch gets a cut of the profit.

Betraying the trust of installers

Part of Worcester Bosch’s “Accredited Installer” program is that they will reward you for being loyal them. This included them making sure that you don’t have too many other “Accredited Installers” within your service area, helping your company’s sales.

A few years ago, Worcester Bosch stopped being so kind to their installers and started letting anyone sell their boilers. Suddenly, there went from being a handful of installers within my area, to almost every plumber being accredited. For companies that rely on being the goto Worcester Bosch installer, this threatened their sales, and resulted in lots of plumbers losing business.

Additionally, as the amount of installers increase, the competitiveness of boiler prices also increases, resulting in profits shrinking.

Great for Worcester Bosch, awful for their loyal installers.

Trying to stop installers from having their own identity

Worcester Bosch have continuously tried to encourage their installers to all adopt very similar websites and branding. Worcester Bosch does this to keep their installers looking consistent, however from a consumer’s perspective it results in all the local plumbers’ services looking indifferent with only the prices differing. This results in encouraging consumers to simply go for whoever is the cheapest option, rather than the best installer for the job.

Essentially, it’s becoming a gig economy.

Buying minority shares in their favourite installers

A couple or years ago, Boxt arrived, reimagining the heating industry.

On their website you enter your home details into Boxt, it generates a quote for a new boiler, and then you select the boiler that suits you. A few days later, someone arrives to install your new boiler. Boom, easy peasy.

Of course, it has its limits, but the Boxt system cannot be faulted in terms of ease of use. Also, their prices are almost unbeatable.

Worcester Bosch recognised Boxt’s successes, and bought a minority share within the company. Since Boxt operate nationwide, Worcester Bosch owning them could potentially result in Boxt dominating boiler installations across the UK.

Yet another example of how Worcester Bosch’s loyalty to their installers is questionable.

Additionally, Worcester Bosch encouraged their other installers to add themselves to Boxt’s installer network, essentially worsening the gig economy aspect.

Forcing advertising costs to sky rocket

Because Worcester Bosch pay for the installers’ advertising, and because there are so many around nowadays; advertising a heating company has become extremely expensive.

Worcester Bosch encourages its installers to use Google Ads, resulting in them bidding against each other for popular keywords. For some keywords this constant bidding war has resulted in costs reaching over £20 per click.

During the summer the costs go even higher, as a result of there being less heating related searches.

The result; an extremely expensive industry to exist within, full of identical looking businesses.

Either Worcester Bosch needs to decide on destroying its “Accredited Installer” program to focus on Boxt, or installers need to start looking for a brand that doesn’t have any conflicts of interest with their own business.

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