There’s not much Melvin Parker doesn’t know about boilers, central heating and plumbing repairs. He’s been in the trade for 30 years, and running Gaswise UK for the last 10. The business is based in Nottingham but covers much of the East Midlands, including Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. As one of his many excellent reviews on the Which? Trusted Traders website says:
Melvin (Gaswise UK) is an 'old school' trader: he turns up on time, he explains what needs doing in a straightforward manner, he does the work in an efficient and tidy way, and he charges you a fair price. What more could you want?
Well, you might want him to be a Which? Trusted trader of the month – in which case, your wish has come true.
Check out our tips on becoming Which? Trusted trader of the month, and read on for more about Gaswise UK.
Setting up Gaswise UK
Melvin says he enjoys working on his own, and was a subcontractor with HomeServe for a long time, before setting up his own business. Although it’s hard work, he says he enjoys being his own boss. ‘Nobody tells me what to do, which is a big plus,’ he laughs. ‘It also allows me to manage my time; I don’t have to stick to 9 to 5. It’s up to me when I work.’
Not that it’s been easy. It’s very much a David and Goliath situation for Gaswise UK: it’s in competition with enormous companies such as British Gas and HomeServe, which increasingly look to tie in customers with servicing contracts. As Melvin points out, it’s tricky for a sole trader, who has to take care of everything from advertising, banking, contacting and looking after customers, to actually undertaking the work. But Melvin fights back with his outstanding customer service, which makes him stand out from the rest.
‘I get on with all my customers,’ he said, ‘I treat them like friends. After all, you go back every year. Then they recommend you to their friends, and the word spreads.’
Becoming a Which? Trusted trader
Melvin joined Which? Trusted Traders back in November 2015. He has really embraced the scheme, working hard to spread the word. He hands out copies of the code of conduct to all his customers, and even leaves them in his GP surgery.
He also got a logo made up to sew on to his work tops, which is part of the reason he came close to winning the ‘workwear’ category in the *unofficial Which? Trusted Trader social media awards recently. ‘I enjoy the social media stuff,’ Melvin says, ‘although I’m not an expert on it.’
As well as his obvious engagement and hard work to promote the scheme, Melvin has built up a great stock of reviews on his Which? Trusted Traders profile. He enjoys reading the reviews, saying that they ‘make him proud to have done a good job.’ The reviews are certainly glowing, including this one from Lea:
Melvin knows his trade and is completely professional and honest. The fault on my boiler was very small, and he fixed it and charged me only the call-out fee, which is about £30 less than British Gas. They say knowledge is power, but he didn't use this to make money out of me by pretending there were more things wrong. He made everything simple and uncomplicated. He arrived the next day after my call to fix a horrible situation with no heating or hot water, which was making my arthritis worse. Phew! What a huge enormous relief! Thanks Melvin, please don't retire or leave the country!
Melvin is a modest winner. He says: ‘I just want people to recognise me as a good engineer, trade fairly and not rip anyone off.’ He added that he’ll celebrate ‘when the phone starts ringing’ with more customers.
Well done Melvin, your celebration might be restrained, but Gaswise UK undoubtedly deserves the win.