We live in an era where knowledge is freely available to almost anyone who wants it. As a result, there are lots of “Do-It-Yourself’ers” who try to install their TV aerial or satellite dishes themselves. Some have now gone to the point of acting as commercial satellite installers. As a result, an industry already filled with a lot of non-professionals now has a new influx of Do-It-Yourself’ers-now-turned-satellite-installers. The result: It is now, more than ever, challenging to find a qualified aerial installer.
As if to compound problems, the industry does not have any compulsory regulatory bodies. This makes the quality of services that you can get from practitioners in the industry very broad. Yet, while the chances of getting a good satellite installer may be slim, there are still several things to do if you need one. This is what this article will focus on.
While this article may focus on those in the UK, people searching for satellite installers in other countries will benefit from it because there will be similar bodies to contact in your country.
Most of the ways you will find an excellent installer for your TV aerial or satellite will be to research one or more bodies that will be mentioned here (or their equivalent in your country).
Alright, let’s get into it.
Association of Audio Visual Professionals
A great first place to look when in need of someone to install your satellite or TV aerial is the Association of Audio Visual Professionals. It was founded in 1978 and was known as the Confederation of Aerial Industries. It is the closest thing there is to a regulatory body in the industry and sets the standard for it. Besides its current name and being formerly known as CAI, it was, at some point, known as the Trade Association for Content Delivery.
One reason this is one of the best places to search for a professional in the UK is because of the periodic audits and inspections it carries out. When it inspects the businesses of its members, it examines t components being installed and the stock they have. It goes as far as evaluating recent installations to ensure they are in good condition and according to standard.
The organization also offers training courses and mandates its members to attend one or more. After the courses, valid certificates are issued, one example being the heights certification. If for no other reason but the fact that the organization trains and certifies its members, instead of just listing them and helping them get good reviews, you should use their service to find the person or company for your next job.
Still, the company does not stop at training its members. It also offers a double-backed guarantee. This is an arrangement in which, if for any reason, the company you contracted to handle your installation cannot honour your warranty, the organization will step in and honour it for up to a year. There are chances that this may not be the case at the time you’re reading this, but it currently is.
That said, on their website, you’ll find a “find an installer” section from which you can search for its members in your area.
Buy With Confidence
While CAI is the first place I recommend anyone to go to when in need of installation services, the councils and Trading Standards operated scheme, Buy With Confidence (BWC) is my second recommendation. The reason is simple. CAI is industry-specific, but the BWC is not. Yet members of BWC can officially be tagged as “Trading Standards Approved.” This is the main reason for my recommendation.
As with AAVP (or CAI) above, members have their businesses inspected. As a member, your public liability insurance, Terms and Conditions, website, marketing and advertising, and several others are examined. The goal here is to ensure that member’s businesses should fulfil every legal obligation necessary, and that applies to their customers.
If you have a dispute with a member, the BWC will step in to mediate between both parties. This is an excellent reason to think about finding installers from their website.
Use the search facility on BWC’s website to find members in your area. Their web address is https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.
Checkatrade is another place you can find a professional satellite installer. While this is true, I assess that it is fundamentally a glorified advertising platform. Opinions are divided as to the authenticity of the people you find on Checkatrade. Some people only visit to find tradespeople while others will never use someone from Checkatrade.
I’m not undermining Checkatrade here. The reason for my assessment is that I have found several companies I know of that do shoddy jobs or who use inferior material having hundreds of reviews that are nearly 10/10. In a way, this isn’t Checkatrade’s fault. They do publish bad reviews occasionally. But the satellite installation industry is one where installation can be completed in a few hours, but it will take you some time to find out whether it was a good one or a bad one. Signal strength may be incredible at the time of installation and poor after that. There are many variables involved, and you usually cannot tell instantly, unlike some other industry when you can immediately the work is completed.
The long and short of everything I’ve just said here is that the reviews on Checkatrade can be misleading and it’s not because Checkatrade is terrible itself. But that doesn’t insinuate that there is nothing they can do to improve the review system.
Having said that much about the loopholes in their review system, one reason you should still look into Checkatrade is that it examines the business of its members to certain degrees. I know for a fact that things like the Public Liability Insurance are checked often. Furthermore, in some places, they are in partnership with the councils and Trading Standards. The result of this is that members get their businesses rechecked. This means that, in those areas, members are automatically Trading Standards approved.
Besides the point mentioned above, you will still find plenty of good business on Checkatrade. For this reason, it is worth checking them out when looking excellent satellite installers.
RDI – Digital Tick
In terms of function, the Registered Digital Installer Licensing Body (RDI-LB) is very similar to AAVP (or CAI) and specific to aerial and satellite trade. While they are less popular today, they were well-known before and during the digital TV switchover here in the UK and were known by the name Digital Tick.
I am sure you will find aerial installers that will provide quality service on their website. You can use this if there are no AAVP (CAI) members in your area.
Like the BWC we already mentioned, Trustmark is government-backed and integrates with Trading Standard. One of the several benefits of contracting one of its members is that they are all required to offer two years warranty as to their minimum. To get a tradesman on their website simply navigate to the “Find a Tradesman” section.
Which Trusted Traders
Which Trusted Traders is similar in operation to Checkatrade. The only difference is that members’ profiles are public and can showcase their qualifications, services, and past and recent installations. Together with that, customers can leave public reviews on tradespeople after an installation service.
Freeindex is a free service listing platform for tradespeople. As a customer, some of the benefits to you include that you can quickly post jobs and get free quotes. This will help you get a clue of what your job will cost before proceeding. Also, the traders display their addresses so you can check them out by locality and find someone close to you. Like most of the other sites on this list, you can leave public feedback on traders after an installation.
Bark, Rated People, and My Builder
All three services mentioned here operate alike, so I have put them together. Unlike the previously mentioned platforms companies seem to be responding instead of promoting their services. Customers post jobs on their sites and get quotes from about three companies. It’s a bid system. When the jobs are posted, companies have to pay to get access to those leads. Put that in mind the next time you are on any of these platforms.
Employing search engines such as Google search to find a satellite installer is always a welcome idea, but you have to understand how to do it. Each time you run a search on any of the search engines, they return a list of results. Sometimes these results include sponsored ads. On Google, for example, the top three or four results are usually sponsored ads. Sometimes you will find some of those ads in a section to the right of the results returned. Below the sponsored ads are other results that may or may not be helpful to you.
One thing with running a search for services like this on search engines is that, in most cases, you end up being shown results for national companies or companies that are far from you when you need someone locally.
Besides the regular search results that are returned, on Google, you will get some business listings and or Map results. These results, in many cases, often list three local results. The companies listed will typically have some reviews they have gotten. Their appearance in the result is no guarantee that they are the best for you to use even if they have good reviews. They are listed because they are search engine worthy. It’s a matter of the quality of the company’s website and not necessarily the quality of service the company offers.
Do not forget that it is your responsibility to further research any companies you find before contacting them.
Get Referrals From Your Electrician Or Builder
Electricians and Sat installers typically have mutual relationships. This is an excellent thing for both your and them. To you, this means that if you have an electrician that works for you (and most people do), you can easily find the right sat installer. At least, in most cases. The only time this doesn’t work out that way is if your electrician doesn’t work with any. If he doesn’t, that’s understandable. Anyways, in many cases, electricians will fix or install the coax cabling systems that the aerial installer will work with. As a result, some sat installers often come to the site while the electricians are at work to tell them about the material that they should use and a few other information. In the process, a relationship often builds. Long story short, ask your electrician.
The case for builders is straightforward. The nature of their work typically requires them to have contacts of other tradesmen.
Get Referrals From Your Family, Friends, Neighbours, Or Social Groups
Typically, this is the place to begin when searching for an installer to do your job. Someone within your circle of influence will usually have made use of a satellite installer and will be willing to recommend them if they did a good job. Where a particular installer did an abysmal job, they will also tell you and help you avoid disaster. So just ask.
Use The Directories
The directories can be helpful, so if you have tried everything else mentioned in this article without much or any success, you should consider your directory as a last resort. There are several of them that you can pick. But be aware that they do not vet the companies that advertise their businesses with them. Yet, it doesn’t mean that they are not right. It merely means that when you have found anyone that you will love to go with, your research begins. Yes! You will have to do your due diligence on them before making a final decision.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Hopefully, finding your next installer will be a breeze for you.