Craig Bonnyman Explains the Pros and Cons of Buying Boilers Online

March 29 13:03 2021

With gas boiler companies old and new moving towards online sales, many customers avoid in-person consultations. Craig Bonnyman believes that online boiler sales have potential, but the current system isn’t doing right by consumers.

Craig Bonnyman’s boiler sales experience has been of the traditional kind, with boots on the ground at the customer’s home for a consultation. His evaluation of the online boiler sales market is that it tends to fall short for a few key reasons.

When buying a boiler, consumers would typically be visited by a salesperson for about two hours to get all the necessary details. While this process can be a slight inconvenience, Bonnyman explains that it is necessary.

He says of online boiler shoppers, “They are now missing out on an accurate survey done by someone that knows what they’re doing. You cannot easily replace that.”

Anyone buying a boiler from a smaller company likely receives their initial inspection from the gas engineer who will do the installation. Even the salespeople of larger companies have some technical experience, many having backgrounds as gas engineers.

This technical expertise is critical to making the right decision for your home’s boiler needs. Online sales systems have customers fill out a survey of preset questions, which Bonnyman says lacks the adaptiveness, thoroughness, and intuition of a real professional.

The system relies on the consumer’s knowledge rather than that of a professional. Bonnyman explains that “You just cannot rely on the homeowner selecting the right inputs to have a fully accurate home survey and ensure that you’re choosing exactly the right boiler for every home.”

Bonnyman pegs this approach as “Heating for the masses,” a one-size-fits-all approach that misses many of the finer points of gas boiler sales. Consumers are avoiding the very consultation that could save them from issues down the line.

The boiler is the most critical piece of your home’s gas central heating system. A lengthy consultation is entirely appropriate. There are many technical aspects that the average consumer might not understand or anticipate.

The nature of the online boiler sales also moves the responsibility of the decision from the professional to the consumer. Bonnyman explains that the sales system is making a recommendation based on information from the customer. If the customer makes a purchase based on that recommendation and problems come up, it’s on them.

Most online boiler sales don’t face these problems, but Bonnyman believes that this isn’t much solace to those who find trouble. While the bulk of boiler sales are simple replacements where a homeowner already knows the exact size and model needed, new installations can often give rise to many issues down the line. These can include insufficient heating and an inability to extend the heating system in line with home extensions.

Bonnyman breaks down why consumers should spend a bit of time on such a major appliance quite simply, “You don’t want to spend 5 hours ordering a pizza that’s going to take 15 minutes to eat, but when it’s a very important gas appliance that you’re planning to have for the next ten or more years, do you really need to cut out an hour or two?”

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