Unlike many other service providers, your TV aerial or satellite dish installer might be someone you meet once or twice over the course of years (or decades). Moreover, due to a general lack of regulations in the industry, the quality of this service can vary greatly from company to company.
In some instances, an installer will have little to no technical knowledge at all, while others might be a few steps away from a professional electrical engineer. But how do you tell the difference? Or, to put it more plainly, how do you find a good aerial or satellite dish installer in your area?
The answer is not a simple one and might require you to do a bit of research.
Look for Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI) Members
In order to become a member, you need to have your business inspected and audited on a regular basis. You’ll also need a variety of certifications, including one for safely operating at height. When I was first inspected, they looked at things such as the quality of the parts I used and the stock I kept in-house. They also inspected some of my recent installations to make sure they were up to par.
The CAI was instrumental in setting up standards and best practices for the industry. They also have an official code of conduct and offer training courses for installers. You can visit their website and click “find an installer” to search for approved providers in your area.
Find “Trading Standards Approved” Installers
“Buy With Confidence” was set up by the Trading Standards council in the UK. If an installer is a member, they can list themselves as “Trading Standards Approved.” Though this is better than no certification at all, it doesn’t require anything specifically related to the satellite or aerial industry. Still, members do have their businesses inspected, their components and parts qualified, and their public liability insurance examined, so it’s much better than nothing at all.
To search for “Buy with Confidence” members in your area, you can use the link here.
You Can Look on Checkatrade
The Checkatrade platform is sort of a mixed bag for most people. Some only use it for tradesmen, while other customers refuse to use it at all. In my opinion, Checkatrade is essentially an advertising service. That said, there is no reason to discount any site or organisation that gives you access to verified customer reviews.
Of course, you can’t always trust what you see. In my experience, Checkatrade is slow to publish bad reviews due to its verification process. This means that most companies you find will have a 10/10 rating, which doesn’t really indicate much. At the same time, aerial installations are hard to rate, as you generally don’t know whether or not the installer has done a good job until long after you’ve written a review.
Taking all of that into account, you can certainly find “Trading Standards Approved” installers on Checkatrade, which can at least help you narrow your search without having to read hundreds of individual (and potentially misleading) reviews.
Check for RDI-LB Licensing
This is the Registered Digital Installer Licensing Body, which is also sometimes referred to as “Digital Tick.” Before the digital switchover in the UK, they were quite similar to the CAI as far as the regulatory services they performed. This means they only take and license members who provide high-quality services and meet certain standards. If you can’t find any CAI members in your area, this is a suitable backup.
Look for Trustmark Approval
This is yet another operation that uses Governmental support to provide much-needed oversight in the industry. It is quite similar to “Buy With Confidence,” and boasts features such as a code of conduct and Trading Standards integration. To become a member, an installer must offer a minimum two-year guarantee along with their work, which alone might be enough to sway certain customers.
Look on Which Trusted Traders
This platform is quite similar to Checkatrade in function and purpose. This means you can expect to find a variety of reviews attached to the public profiles of various businesses. It also allows the companies themselves to market their work with photos, testimonials, and more. Many providers also list their qualifications and certifications (many of which are also on this list), so you might consider this a fairly good aggregate of providers in your area.
Check Freeindex Listings
Freeindex has proved extremely popular among tradesmen, as it’s free to advertise and to accumulate reviews from your customers. If you want to get some quotes or estimates from a nearby provider, this can be an extremely helpful platform.
Look on Rated People / My Builder / Bark
Sites like Rated People, My Builder, and Bark are very similar in features and the services they provide. As a consumer, you would post a request for a quote or installation and get responses from available installers. You can then check each installer’s profile for past reviews and other relevant information. Keep in mind, however, that these companies pay the site for access to your lead.
No matter how many platforms I use, I still get most of my leads from Google. When all else fails, this is a great way to find reliable service providers near you. However, be sure to pay attention to the results. For instance, the first four are usually ads (this will be noted next to their web link).
Also, since the Google algorithm operates off of exposure, you’ll almost always find national companies at the top of the results. These aren’t bad per se, but I would feel more comfortable trusting a smaller, private company with more expertise.
An online review is one thing, but word of mouth is usually a much better indicator of quality. For instance, you might think to ask your electrician or another tradesman you’ve hired. Guys that own local companies tend to form relationships, and we know who provides good service and who doesn’t. You could also ask friends, family, or other people you trust for a recommendation.
While it might not always be easy to find a good aerial or satellite installer, it is very important that you do so. Remember, this sort of equipment represents an investment, and you want that investment to pay off down the line. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me via the information below.
TV Aerials Stockport. Houldsworth Business & Arts Centre, Houldsworth St, Stockport SK5 6DA.
Tel: 0161 883 3687
Article about Keeping Birds off the Aerial – read here