With buy-to-let let landlords making up around 30% of the replacement boiler market in this country, one firm is looking to increase market share in this market by revolutionising the way landlords can buy replacement boilers for their rental properties.
BOXT, an internet-based business which sells fitted central heating boilers, was launched earlier this year by three former directors of national boiler company Help-Link.
The new venture, which does away with salesmen, surveyors and call centres, is already growing in popularity with landlords looking for fitted boilers.
“It’s a totally new concept,” said BOXT’s director, Alan Dickinson. “No-one else is offering landlords the opportunity to buy replacement boilers for their properties in this way.”
“We’ve invested £3m in developing a website that not only steers customers through the decision making process but allows them to select the boiler brand, delivery date and installation time. The key for landlords is that now they don’t have all the arrangements with tenants to organise and more importantly, they don’t even need to visit to the property themselves.”
The new platform allows landlords to place an order online which takes them through a series of simple questions and choices. They are then asked to upload a selection of photographs to enable BOXT’s technicians to verify the order and installation arrangements. These five photographs can be taken and uploaded by the tenant via a web link, even though the landlord controls the whole ordering process.
Prices, typically 40% less than the market leader, are fixed according to the model selected and availability. The boiler and any associated parts are then dispatched nationwide via the supply chain directly from top tier manufacturers such as Worcester Bosch, Baxi and Vokera with everything the installer will need boxed in one self-contained package.
Dickinson continued: “Essentially, they [landlords] are buying a replacement boiler online in the same way they would a washing machine.
“Obviously the fitting is a little more complicated but that’s where our nationwide network of gas approved engineers comes in.
“In reality, a landlord could be on holiday in Spain, order the boiler via their mobile device one day and then the packages and engineer arrive at a pre-agreed time the next day at the property in the UK. Literally in the space of 24 hours, the boiler can be chosen, bought and replaced and for a lot less than using the traditional buying and fitting route.”
He added: “Once landlords get their heads around the idea that they can save a lot of time and money buying a boiler online and have it delivered directly to the rental property, they keep asking us why this hasn’t been done before!
“We’ve been in this market all our working lives, collectively we have over 100 years experience between us – we really do know about fitting boilers. People think that having a replacement boiler installed is a complex, and therefore expensive process, but really it shouldn’t be. We want to strip away all the unnecessary extras and give landlords a simple, no fuss, low cost fitted boiler buying option.”