On course for business growth

Running a successful plumbing and heating company involves more than just being skilled on the tools, which is why the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) is offering a suite of business-oriented courses to give SMEs a leg up on the competition.

In today’s plumbing and heating market, tough trading conditions mean that companies are forced to do more than ever before to prove professional competence, satisfy customers, and ultimately continue to win business.

As such, it’s essential that businesses constantly find ways to improve their processes and increase efficiency in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. With its experience and expertise in helping members of the plumbing and heating industry to develop professional and profitable businesses, the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has developed an expanding library of online courses, helping installation companies to achieve success through convenient access to vital business development knowledge.

Suited to your workload
Unlike traditional courses, which often involve travelling to a learning centre, APHC’s bite-sized courses can be accessed 24/7 from your laptop, smartphone or computer, allowing you to study whenever and wherever is most convenient for you – whether that’s on site during your lunch break or from the comfort of home at the end of your working day.

Provided via our easy-to-navigate and secure website, the Online Learning Centre has been designed to enable the user to fit their learning around the demands of their customers and current business workload. Each course has been devised to provide plumbing proprietors with a competitive advantage across a number of key business areas.

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Introduction to finance
Ever wondered about the secret of growing your company’s profits? The truth is, the most straightforward way to maximise your margins is often a case of adopting efficient bookkeeping practices. As well as providing useful techniques for balancing the books, the ‘Introduction to Finance’ course explains the importance of maintaining cash-flow, gives tips on how to make the most of credit terms with suppliers and shows how best to manage any outstanding invoices in order to improve the way you do business. This comprehensive course also explains the role profit and loss reports play in helping to maximise profits and identify opportunities for growth, before suggesting a range of options for those looking to raise finance without the use of a traditional bank loan.

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Quality management system
Are you an ambitious plumbing and heating company owner who struggles to run your business in an efficient and organised way? Perhaps you’re looking to join an external accreditation scheme such as the CPS or MCS or would like to undertake work requiring you to submit tenders. If any of the above apply to you, there’s a good chance your business could benefit by enrolling on the ‘Developing a Quality Management System’ course.

By introducing processes designed to increase your business’s level of organisation and ensure customer satisfaction, a Quality Management System (QMS) can be an extremely worthwhile investment, allowing you to save money, win more business, satisfy more customers and ultimately increase your company’s profit margins. After detailing the different benefits of implementing a QMS system, this course moves on to explain the components required, necessary levels of staff involvement and training and other important elements such as how to review your QMS in order to continually improve business performance.

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Recruitment and selection
Want to grow your business by taking on additional staff but unsure what’s required from you at each stage of the recruitment process? The ‘Recruitment and Selection of Employees’ course offers essential advice to guide you along each step of the recruitment journey – from identifying a business need through to what to do following the selection of a successful candidate. Packed with practical advice on aspects such as how to write a job advert to attract potential candidates, this course also explains how to filter through CVs and cover letters, gives advice on preparing for and conducting an interview and provides essential information on sending out an offer letter and drawing up a contract.

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Contracts for beginners
In the plumbing and heating industry, disputes between installers and their customers over issues such as late payment are all too common. However, in many cases these can be avoided simply by ensuring the careful drafting of contracts.

The ‘Understanding Basic Contracts’ course is designed to ensure your business agreements always run smoothly, providing essential, industry-tailored advice on contracts. Beginning with an explanation of exactly what contracts are, this course also covers important topics including the difference between on and off premises contracts, terms and conditions, business contracts and documents linked to pricing and payments using real-life scenarios to illustrate key points. This course also helps to ensure your company stays on the right side of the law with downloadable models for implementation within your day-to-day business transactions.

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Industry tailored advice
All of the courses have been tailored specifically for members of the plumbing and heating industry. Packed with real-life examples and interactive exercises, each one allows you to gain knowledge that’s relevant to your day-to-day work.

How to register
Each course should take between two and four hours to complete and as proof of achievement learners will be awarded with a printable APHC certificate on completion of each course’s end assessment. It costs £25 + VAT for APHC members and £35 + VAT for non-members to enrol on each of the courses. Registration is quick and easy – simply visit https://courses.aphc.co.uk/ to register as a new user and purchase the courses you need.

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