Where Do I Look For Good TV Aerial/ Sat Dish Installers In My Area?
The aerial and satellite trade is a funny profession, having a TV aerial or satellite dish is one of those things that you pay out for and may never need an installer again in the next 20 years or so. In the absence of a compulsory regulatory body you have quite a broad range in the quality of services on offer. Although I don’t like to talk down the trade you have the installers that have a set of ladders and a head of heights, but an absence of any real technical knowledge and you have some installers that are very close to being electrical engineers with their technical expertise and knowledge. After the digital switchover technical knowledge of your average TV aerial man has come on leaps and bounds. Owing to the success of my blog, I regularly get asked where people can find good installers in their area. Smart Aerials only operate in the South East UK so I have decided to write this article for you. You can’t rely on this blog 100% as there are too many variables but I have tried my best to give my advice so that you can make your own educated and informed decision on where to look for good installers in your area. All of the following has been written to the best of my knowledge and I recommend you conduct your own research. Let’s begin.
Confederation of Aerial Industries(CAI)
The CAI have been going years, originally started in 1978 to establish standards within the sector and are as close to a regulatory body that exists. The aerial company in Eastbourne that I trained with was member number 3! The CAI have re-branded a couple of times over the years to reflect changes in the industry, they became the ‘Trade Association for Content Delivery’ which accurately reflects what they do but isn’t necessarily clear for those not Au Faux with the sector. They then underwent another recent re-brand which has seen their tagline become ‘Association for Audio Visual Professionals’ which is far less ambiguous in my opinion.
We are members of the CAI for several years now, to be honest I don’t really make the most of my membership, but I would still recommend this body above anyone else to find good TV aerial and satellite installers in your area. To be a member you must have your business audited and inspected periodically as well as having things like a valid safety at heights certification. When my business was inspected, they checked things like the quality of the parts/ components we install, the stock that we keep and some recent installations to see that they were done properly. There is a code of conduct that installers are expected to maintain, installation best practices etc. The CAI also offer training courses within the sector, so most CAI members have attended at least a few of these.
Another good thing about the CAI is that they offer a double-backed guarantee, meaning if for whatever reason the installing company cannot honour your guarantee, for example they have ceased trading. The CAI will step in and honour the warranty for a period of up to 12 months. This may have changed by the time that you read this. Helpfully there is a ‘find a installer’ section on their website which allows you to search for nearby members in your area. The search facility has now migrated to the ‘Get me viewing’ website. The website can be found here - https://www.getmeviewing.org.uk/
Buy With Confidence “Trading Standards Approved”
Buy With Confidence is a scheme run by the councils/ Trading Standards in the UK, members can officially call themselves “Trading Standards Approved” as we do. The reason I would say go to the CAI first is because there is nothing specific to the aerial/ satellite trade within Buy With Confidence. What the BWC membership entails for members is that once again you have to have your business inspected, an example of things checked and provided in some instances, are T&C’s, public liability insurance, advertising and marketing inspection including the website. Ultimately, this means that the business should be fulfilling their legal requirements which may be very important to you.
In my area of Sussex, the Buy With Confidence scheme was provided by East Sussex County Council, this changed during my time of membership with it being taken over by Hampshire Council for my area and Checkatrade providing the services to satisfy Trading Standards in East Sussex. Although we are no longer members of Checkatrade this was frustrating as we had to pay more the privilege of being “Trading Standards Approved” via our Checkatrade membership as we were already “Trading Standards Approved” via the Buy With Confidence scheme and Hampshire Council. I guess it’s not bad to be officially Trading Standards Approved twice. They also offer things like dispute resolution should there be mediation required between a trader and a customer. Again, please check their website for up to date information on this as this may have changed by the time you read this. To search for Buy With Confidence members in your area this can be done via the search facility on their website which can be accessed bythe following link. https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/
There are some real mixes of opinions for Checkatrade, some people will only ever go there to find tradesmen and others will never ever use someone on Checkatrade. Although it has changed over the years, in my opinion Checkatrade is essentially a glorified advertising service in my opinion. We were members for about 4/5 years and accumulated lots of good reviews on their site, we had over 200 at the time of cancelling our membership. The reason I did this was because most aerial/ satellite companies in my area became members and standing out from the others was not easy. This is because although Checkatrade does publish bad reviews and verifies a lot before they up on their website nearly all of the companies had hundreds of reviews nearly always 10/10. I know that people are inclined to give full marks for a service that they were happy with but I think that this can be very misleading with things like TV Aerial Installations, unlike a new bathroom which may take a week to install and whether the installer has done a good job or not is usually very clear. An aerial installation will only take a couple of hours and the ultimate test is how well the installation will last and how good the signal is, also without knowledge of TV aerial parts and components the customer leaving their review won’t necessarily know if they have received value you for money. For this reason so many 10/10 reviews on Checkatrade are not worthy as I know of a few companies that install cheap cables, antennas etc and are nearly exclusively 10/10. I understand that this is not Checkatrade’s fault and that naturally there is less potential to leave a customer disappointed with something, I just think the review system can be misleading.
When we became members of Checkatrade we had to have things like Public Liability Insurance regularly checked and provide testimonials. Although I gave my opinion on the review system above, customers do have an opportunity to leave a public review of the tradesmen/ company on their website which does receive a lot of website traffic and has the potential to be seen by a lot of future visitors. A big improvement with the Checkatrade service as I mentioned already, in certain areas they have relationships with the councils/Trading Standards and perform extra checks on businesses meaning that they can officially call them “Trading Standards Approved” via their Checkatrade membership. This isn’t in all areas but my county East Sussex and next nearest Kent both have relationships with Checkatrade. I have been quite critical of Checkatrade I have still included them in my list of places to find good aerial/ satellite installers as there are still lots of good businesses on there and the motivation to join such a scheme can say a lot about the positive attitude of the company. A lot of the problems to do with the service aren’t necessarily Checkatrade’s fault, I just think that they have allowed too many members onto their scheme and this dilutes what they are about.
RDI – Digital Tick
To be honest I thought that the RDI had slipped away, but after checking they are still active and operating. The RDI-LB stands for the Registered Digital Installer Licencing Body and was most commonly known by the Digital Tick. They were very prominent before/ during the digital TV switchover in the UK and were similar to the CAI in terms of what they do.
As I touched upon as the RDI is specific to aerial/satellite trade so they measures they take when accepting members are more likely to translate into a good quality aerial installation. On the RDI website there also a search for members facility if there are no near-by CAI members in your area.
Trustmark is another government supported operation. It’s very similar in terms to Buy With Confidence. It advertises things like Trading Standards integration and things like a code of conduct. All members are expected to offer a minimum two-year guarantee with their work which may be important to you. I have never been a member, so I recommend that you check their website for a full range of benefits. There is also a ‘Find a Tradesmen’ section on their website, so you can search for members in your area.
Which Trusted Traders
I am not going to go into great detail with Which Trusted Traders as it looks very similar to Checkatrade so you can expect things like up-to-date adequate public liability insurance to be in place. Members have a public profile where they can advertise positive things about their business, like pictures of recent installations, a full range of services they offer and lists of qualifications etc. Which does seem to have a better reputation in many people’s eyes so if you’re passionate about not using Checkatrade you might have some luck finding a good aerial/ sat installer in your area here. Once again on their website there is a section where you can search for a member in your area.
After your installation you have the opportunity to leave public feedback on your tradesmen on their website.
I have a listing with Freeindex but to honest I very rarely check it. From a tradesmen perspective it’s a good system as it’s free to advertise and a place to collect public reviews from previous customers. You can check things like the address of the trader if you want to use someone local to you. If you’re interested in collecting quotes/ estimates you can post a quote request on their site and you will receive a few quotes from companies that have seen your quote request and decided to respond. This may help you get a rough idea of the cost of the job before you proceed with the installation. You also have the opportunity to leave public feedback on their website after the installation.
Rated People/ My Builder
I have coupled Rated People and My Builder and Bark together as I would be duplicating the content to list them separately, they are all very similar albeit with very slight differences. They work by consumers posting a quote/installation request and three companies or so will respond to them. There are usually viewable online reviews for each of the company so you should be able to find some feedback from previous customers on that company. Just bear in mind, that the companies that reply/ bid for your work pay Rated People/ Bark/My Builder for the access to the lead so I you might only want to consider this before posting your job. When we first started trading I brought some leads from these companies, in my experience it was largely people just wanting prices and I was paying for the privilege of being able to supply quotes. I stopped taking it seriously after experiencing this a few times.
Google Search/ Search Engine
I get most of my work this way, because of the time and effort that has gone into our website. It’s important to distinguish the types of Google search results that there are, the top results (up to 4) are the sponsored ads. The companies in these positions are paying for the privilege of being there, and get usually get charged every time someone clicks through on their website. The problem with these results is that, particularly within the aerial and satellite trade, is that a lot of the time when looking for someone local to carry out the work, you often end up with a national based company. I’m not going to say much about some of the companies themselves that operate nationally I just advise that you do your research before using them!
Beneath the sponsored ads, you typically get the Maps results which will usually list three local companies, often with Google reviews which they have received and the organic search results. These are usually the most relevant companies to you but Google displays them in terms of the search engine worthiness/ how good the websites are and not necessarily the best companies for the jobs. You also get some of the national companies appearing in some of these results so again I recommend doing some research of the companies listed before you use them.
Ask Your Electrician/ Builder
Most people will have an electrician that they or their family uses and trusts. If you have used an electrician recently or have one that you regularly use, I recommend checking with them whether they can recommend one in your area. The reason I specifically say ask your electrician is there is a natural relationship between this trade and the aerial/ satellite trade. Electricians will regularly install the coax cabling for systems and the aerial/ sat installer will come and make them all work. For a harmonious relationship between the two trades if one recommends the other they will be expected to keep each-others customers happy, if not it wouldn’t be a good idea to pass each-others contact details over. I have a professional relationship with a couple of electricians and I will meet them at installations/ on site to discuss how systems need to be wired and best things to use, like cables etc. For this reason I would say that most electricians are in a position to be able to recommend aerial/ satellite dish engineers.
Naturally given the nature of what they do, Builders will typically have contacts within most trades.
Ask Neighbours/ Family/ Social Groups
You know what they say, word of mouth is the best. This may seem like an obvious one but when looking for a TV man in your area, you should ask around your friends and family to see if they recommend anyone. If you are new to any area there may be an established local aerial company with a very good local reputation, if the same company comes up a few times there is a good chance that they are the right one for you. On the flip side, if one of your friends and family has had a bad experience with a “Cowboy”, this can tell you which companies to avoid.
If All Else Fails, Try The Directories
If you’re still stuck as to who you can use in your area for your TV aerial/ satellite work. Why not give the directories a go? There are loads of them, Friday Ad, Yellow Pages, Thomson Local to name a few, many of these will have viewable online ratings that you can find for each company too.They don’t offer much in the way of consumer protection or auditing of the businesses, but this isn’t to say that the companies that advertise in the places are bad. At least you will know that they are most likely local to you.
Questions? Please Post In Blog Comments Section Only Please
I hoped that you liked this blog, if you have any questions or comments I will be happy to respond providing that you POST THEM IN THE BLOG COMMENTS ONLY PLEASE and I will get back to you as fast as I can.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL OUR TELEPHONE LINES WITH YOU QUESTIONS!!!
We do not have the staff to deal with your call. Our website may give an appearance of a larger company, but we are a small business operating in Sussex/ Kent only. It’s becoming very difficult running our business with amount of general support related questions that we receive from our blog.
PLEASE DO NOT E-MAIL OR FILL OUT THE WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS WITH YOUR QUESTIONS
It’s too difficult to deal with every question we get asked privately and you will not receive a response if you send you questions this way. Of course of you’re looking to book in a aerial/ satellite installation or quote then send away.
By posting your comments in the Blog Comments Section, you will:
1- Help The Blog
2- Give future readers the benefit of the question asked,and answer given.
3- Provide me with a central location to answer all enquiries I get asked.
4- Leave us free to carry on running our business uninterrupted.
Until next time,
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