The lockdown due to COVID-19 has brought particular challenges for trade contractors who provide their services to people in their homes or places of work. Businesses like RfM client Phillip Metcalf Cooling & Heating Services have had to make major changes to ensure the safety of staff and customers when doing essential work. So receiving the news that he’d been recognised as the UK’s No.1 Heating Installer during such a difficult period was especially significant for owner Phillip.
RfM Morecambe & Lancaster is proud to have acted for Phillip since he set up in business on his own in 2014. His company has grown organically over the last six years and now provides heating and refrigeration services to customers across Lancashire. Demand for his services is such that Phillip now employs two further engineers as well as training up an apprentice. As Phillip’s business has grown, so has his relationship with RfM.
In 2018, when the business turnover exceded the VAT registration threshold, the team in Lancaster helped Phillip to register for VAT and move over to an online accounting system. Having previously used spreadsheets to manage the company’s financial information, Phillip now uses Xero, a cloud-based application that is fully compatible with Making Tax Digital.
“RfM helped me to get set up on Xero and provided the support I needed to make the most of all the different features,” says Phillip. “I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and find it straightforward. But it’s good to know I can call on the team at RfM for advice if ever I get stuck!
“Since the business has grown and I’ve taken on more staff, I also outsource my Payroll to RfM to ensure everyone gets paid correctly and on time.”
UK Heating Installer Awards
Now in its fifth year, the UK Heating Installer Awards celebrate the achievements and raise the credibility of plumbers and heating installers from across the country. Judged by leading brands and industry peers, they recognise the most knowledgeable installers delivering top quality work and service excellence to their customers every day.
We asked Phillip to tell us more about the awards and what he had to do to secure his position as the best heating installer in the country.
“I was recruited to enter the awards at an industry trade fair and didn’t think much of it at the time,” explains Phillip. “Then, to progress to the next stage, I had to write a case study to demonstrate my knowledge and skill. Out of hundreds of entries, I was awarded the North West regional title in March and put through to the final.
A complex challenge
“The final stage involved answering a rigorous technical challenge which would be judged by industry experts. It was a complex challenge but I threw everything into my entry; afterwards, the judges commented on the level of detail.
“The final score was made up of the marks from the first round, a public vote and the marks for the technical challenge. Although I didn’t get the most votes from the public vote, the judges ranked me highest in the other stages and I was awarded the title of UK Heating Installer 2020 in May.
“I’m chuffed to bits to win, especially given the high calibre of entries from the other regional winners. It’s entirely humbling for me and my team to receive such acclaim from our peers and industry representatives.
“These awards play an important role to highlight the professionalism and hard work put in by heating engineers every day. I’m grateful to all those who’ve worked hard in the current challenging climate to put these awards together.”
With the title of top installer under his belt, Phillip can enjoy industry-wide recognition and prizes provided by awards partners Danfoss, Glow-worm, Polypipe and Stelrad, including a spa break for two and a money-can’t-buy trip to Danfoss HQ in Denmark.
Past winners have reported a significant boost to their business following the awards, which will no doubt be welcomed by Phillip after the challenges brought by COVID-19 and lockdown.
We would like to say a huge ‘well done!’ to Phillip for all the hard work he has put into achieving this accolade and to keeping his customers warm (or cool) under difficult circumstances.