Tesco has launched a new boiler service that will see the supermarket retailer offering customers a complete boiler installation package. As part of Tesco’s Home Efficiency initiative, the boiler business joins a suite of existing services including solar thermal, double-glazing and loft insulation.
Initially, only Worcester Bosch boilers are available on the plan, but other manufacturers’ products maybe added as the scheme grows. Tesco says it will not be selling boilers directly to customers; instead, sales will go through the normal trade route to market. The installations are carried out by local firms appointed by managing agent, Enact Energy, which will oversee the national network of approved installation companies which undertake the survey and installation.
Indicative quotes are provided over the telephone, and should the customer decides to go ahead with the installation, an estimator will survey the property and submit the written quote by post. Tesco says that this will eliminate the ‘hard sell’ that some customers experience, and those who purchase the boiler will also be able to benefit from Clubcard points. Prices for a fully installed new boiler start from £1999.
Speaking for Tesco, DIY Buying Manager Fabio Perrotta says that the new boiler service "will help customers who are looking at ways to cut their energy bills".
Explaining Worcester Bosch’s thinking behind the new partnership, Director of Marketing Martyn Bridges says: "In light of the Green Deal, we have seen the Government encourage a number of household names, including Tesco, to use their strong consumer presence to raise awareness of the importance of energy-efficient heating for the home."
Some plumbers’ forums discussing news of Tesco’s venture into boiler installation reflect a concern that the supermarket giant is muscling in on a market traditionally associated with smaller businesses. One blogger asks: "How can a local plumber hope to offer any competition to the marketing weight of Tesco?" A similar view is expressed on the blog of Kent based Swann Plumbing:
"The potential damage of this deal could mean a real struggle for SMEs and family businesses all over the country. Sadly, with this move Worcester has alienated many heating engineers and suppliers."
However, Martyn Bridges believes this is an opportunity for the smaller firms. He says:
"This initiative is ultimately another sales lead generator for installers across the UK. Whilst Worcester has no direct link with Tesco, we are confident that the scheme will provide installers with an even greater opportunity to generate business in their area and could also help installers to gain access to the upcoming Green Deal market."