Read our COVID-19 Statement

COVID 19 Guidance for Trades People

The UK government has released new documentation for tradespeople who will be working in other peoples homes. The document is to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, keeping as many people as possible 2 metres apart from those they do not live with. The government hopes that it gives you the freedom within a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is very important that you can work safely and support your employees’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Updated 13 May 2020 – You can download the guide here 

Or view all the documentation on the Gov.uk website by clicking here

Go direct from estimate to checkout with our new UFH estimate tool

HPS has teamed up with Polypipe Underfloor Heating to bring you an easy way to purchase the products for your next Underfloor Heating project online. Together, we have taken the Polypipe estimate tool and combined it with the HPS online ordering platform so that you can now go directly from UFH estimate, to a complete purchasable basket of items with the click of a button – saving you valuable time.

The process is simple. Firstly you enter the details of you customer and project into the estimate tool. This will allow you to export the estimate to PDF for your records, or to be sent through to your customer. Then enter key details such as room size, floor type, pipe spacing and room location.

Based on this information, you can then progress through to choosing the products right for your job. Depending on the information entered earlier you will be given different products suitable for your room size(s). You can then choose the controls for the underfloor heating, from the Polypipe basic range through to the premium wireless range which has lots of other features available.

Once all your products have been selected you will have a shopping list style outcome, where you can go through and increase or decrease quantities of items. Should you so wish, you can jump back through the steps and change products or room sizes too. Once you’re happy you have everything you need for the room (or rooms!) you can then generate an estimate.

Next comes the feature that we are really excited about, ‘direct HPS checkout’. If you click that button it will bring you directly to our new HPS online ordering platform with a basket already created with all of the products selected from the Polypipe website. You can check out all of the items needed for your project and a member of the HPS team will package up your order and deliver it direct to the address you specify. It could not be simpler. You could do this from the comfort of your sofa after a long day of work, or from your phone when you’re in the van having a quick cuppa before you start on a job.

Why not see for yourself? You can create an account here:
https://ufhestimate.polypipe.com/hps/

COVID-19 Statement

All HPS locations are currently OPEN for business on reduced opening hours
HPS remains open to serve our valued customers who are still required to carry out essential repairs and maintenance. We are helping to keep everyone warm and safe in these times of need. We are not currently serving retail / DIY customers but are concentrating our efforts on maintaining a service to trade customers in genuine need. Please check with our local outlet regarding opening hours and services available as these are under constant review and subject to change.

Let’s help keep safe together
We ask everyone who visits our businesses or receives a delivery from us to work together to ensure all measures are followed to keep everyone safe.

Keeping our customers safe
The health and well-being of our staff and customers is our top priority. We are following government and medical advice to put safety first when servicing our customers.

As well as following all official guidance, we’re regularly updating our employees with health and safety advice, while putting in place necessary working arrangements alongside travel and site restrictions.

These measures include:

  • Added extra hygiene measures and increased cleaning across all of our sites and providing extra hand sanitiser gels and wipes for all.
  • Distancing measures are being undertaken at all locations with customers collecting goods from the warehouse shutter doors and being kept away from the main trade counter area.
  • Telephone or email orders are preferable, and we will ensure they are ready for collection on arrival.
  • All non-critical business critical travel has been cancelled.
  • All employee and customer events have been postponed until further notice.

Deliveries are still available from some sites (always following recent safety advice) but where they are being made, these will be kerb-side drops only until further notice.

  • All coffee machines and customer toilets will remain out of action until further notice
  • Where possible some of our teams may be working from home – in that instance they will have access to the network in order to ensure quotes can be undertaken, stock levels are maintained and service levels are maintained at the highest possible standards.

Tradespeople advice
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by plumbers carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, (including maintaining a two metre distance from any household occupants), are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, (and where the tradesperson is willing to do so). In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

All of the above is in constant review to ensure that we continue to trade in the safest manner and in accordance with the latest Government advice which can be found here.

Download Statement

Smart Home Heating

Many boilers that we stock here at HPS have the capability of becoming “Smart” boilers by utilising products on the market such as NEST or HIVE. These are thermostats that can also be controlled via your smartphone, allowing you (so long as you have an internet connection) to turn your heating up or down, set patterns and do pretty much what you would normally do with a physical thermostat but from anywhere you feel so inclined.

Some of the bigger boiler brands are also following suit now, Worcester Bosch has brought out its own version of a smart thermostat called Easy Control. Similar to NEST or HIVE. Easy Control is a similar offering, it has its own app, it’s own branded module that you mount to your wall and like the other two, you can set patterns and see how much energy you’re using… pretty good when you want to keep tabs on when the kids put the heating up without you knowing.

The question is though, are they worth spending the money on? Why not just get a normal wall thermostat that doesn’t have any of the fancy elements. Well, most boiler companies are now joining the smart market. If they don’t have their own smart thermostats like Worcester Bosch or Honeywell they will most likely have designed their boiler to be able to be fitted with a third party device. Recently more manufacturers have been bundling them together as a package so that’s always worth keeping an eye out for if you are looking to get a smart thermostat.

With all the technology packed into them and with the growing demand from customers, you’d be missing out by not starting offering them. To find out more about smart thermostats talk to a member of the HPS team at any one of our 30+ branches for more information.

What happened to the good old Yellow Pages?

More plumbers and heating engineers are having to change with the times. No longer can a potential customer reach into the living room draw and pull out the big Yellow pages. What they can do, is quickly do a Google search, ask Facebook for recommendations and read reviews on platforms like Checkatrade to find out who in the local area is the most trustworthy.

In 2019 the Yellow Pages produced the final issue, meaning that at the start of this decade everything is now online. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though being online and open but it does mean that your business is on a stage with the rest of the plumbers or heating engineers in your local area.

We recently did a blog on how best to utilise social media, if you missed that you can read it here. This is slightly different though, with this online boom comes a lot of red flags to look for, you’ll probably be receiving phone calls from companies saying that they can boost your workload by adding you to their platform, our advice.. Do your research! People can promise the world online and not really get much bang for your hard-earned cash.

Always remember, self-promotion is the best promotion, make sure you have some social media pages set up and get customers who can to leave a review. Your favourite boiler company may be part of the new digital movement. Companies such as Vaillant, Worcester Bosch and BAXI have been slowly rolling out “Local Certified” iOS and Android applications. These work similar to UBER, for example, the customer in your local area wants a Vaillant boiler fitting, they go on the app, choose their boiler and a list of “certified” installers will appear, the job will then get put into the pool of engineers and if your criteria matches the job you will be added to the pot to accept or decline a job along with 10-20 other installers. A huge difference from just having an ad in the Yellow pages and waiting for that call!

Remember no matter what the job is if you need the tools and fittings be sure to visit your local HPS branch!

Utilising Social Media in the trade

The rise of social media has been nothing but phenomenal, from MySpace to Facebook the world has been opened up, allowing the average person to peer into the lives of billions of other people. More and more businesses are getting an online presence due to the easiness of the various platforms. Making the shop window visible for hundreds if not thousands of people to see from anywhere in the world.

Many plumbers and heating engineers have joined in on the social media rat race in an attempt to win over new customers. For some, it seems to be working, for many though it probably isn’t really moving the needle. But why not? After all, that added exposure to the local area and beyond can be hugely beneficial.

Here are a few tips and things to think about when posting your work on social media:

  • Be ready for anything – While social media can be a positive place to post work, it can also attract people looking for anything to have their word on, sometimes positive but it can be negative too.
  • Post things that are interesting – No one likes to be scrolling through their feed and see a 15-minute video on why a P trap is called a P trap. Keep it short, engaging and to the point!
  • Keep your customer’s privacy – Always get your customers permission if you’re posting a video of the work completed. If you’re posting photos of the job it might also be a good idea to make sure that the job is 100% complete and the customer is happy with the final outcome.

2019 – A year in review…

Well what a year it has been here at HPS. We’ve grown (again) as a business and we’ve had some good fun with you lot along the way too.

This year we have:

  • Had this excellent new website built
  • Opened several new branches AND showrooms
  • Raised thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital

But that’s not all, we’ve got some huge plans for 2020 and we cannot wait to start sharing them with you after our Christmas break!

None of the above would have been possible without the support of our superb team of staff and our wonderfully loyal customer base. So make sure this Christmas, you all put your feet up, raise a glass of your favourite tipple and toast yourself, from us!

Here’s to a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and an exciting 2020!

CHRISTMAS OPENING TIMES 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and so all of our branches and showrooms will be having a bit of time off. But don’t worry – we’ll be opening up on some of the days over the festive break so you can get your essentials for any emergency call outs! Please see below hours, which apply to ALL branches and showrooms.

Monday 23rd December               –           Open 7:30am to 5pm

Tuesday 24th December               –           Closed – Christmas Eve

Wednesday 25th December         –           Closed – Christmas Day

Thursday 26th December              –          Closed – Boxing Day

Friday 27th December                   –           Open until 12pm

Saturday 28th December              –           Closed

Sunday 29th December                 –           Closed

Monday 30th December               –           Open until 12pm

Tuesday 31st December                –           Closed – New Year’s Eve

Wednesday 1st January                –           Closed – New Year’s Day

Thursday 2nd January                    –         Resume Normal Trading

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS FROM ALL OF US AT HPS

What makes a good merchant?

Here at HPS, we’d like to think we know what makes a good merchant for plumbers so, we decided to collect and present the top qualities in a good merchant that you would typically expect… yes, we do all of these!

  1. Products

Let’s start with an obvious one. Products are the main reason that merchant’s make their money and get people in the shop, therefore it is important to source the right products. It’s not just about the best and most expensive however, it’s about finding a balance and offering choice between robust and the most popular products that are proven to work and also offering those that are cheaper, or even easier to install. What we’re saying is it’s important to have a good RANGE of products. Of course, all at super competitive prices so you can make your markup!

  1. Staff

When you walk into a merchant, we’re pretty confident that as plumbers, you know what you want and what you are on about, but even the best of the best get confused sometimes and a second pair of eyes or ears is what you need to throw on the situation. Who should you call on for this? None other than your trusty branch staff! If the staff have been a great assistance to you and know how to best attack the situation you are in, then you are in the hands of very good branch staff and therefore a very good merchant.

  1. Promotions

Having in-store promotions shows a caring nature for your customers pocket (as well as yours), almost as the merchant is saying, “We care about your cash flow and we want you to buy more often from us, so we’ll make this cheaper for you”. Not only does it show that, but it also shows a creativeness behind the scenes in marketing and pricing as well as the ability to strike ideas and deals with suppliers.

What do you think makes a good merchant? Let us know!

Polypipe Underfloor Heating Estimate Tool

Choose from hundreds of products and options which will cater to all floors and room sizes. Once you have built your estimate, you can checkout online in seconds!

 

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