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Startup stories: WarmZilla Ltd

With his sights set on UK-wide expansion from his base in Wales, Matthew Powell, director of WarmZilla Limited, tells UMi his startup story.

Tell us about your business, what does it do?

WarmZilla Limited is a completely automated online boiler and installation service which offers the opportunity to purchase a new boiler in minutes. The business caters for members of the public, landlords, building contractors, and property management companies. After filling out a short survey, a choice of the most suitable boilers will be offered. Select the boiler required, installation date and choose to pay in full or spread the cost with our monthly finance options. 

WarmZilla has created a network of vetted contractors who are local to your area. The system is a new spin on the old-fashioned model of the heating industry and we expect to develop our system further throughout the year. We are currently servicing the South Wales area but we expect to be UK wide by autumn 2019, creating jobs in and around the South Wales area.

What did you do before you started this business?

Before starting WarmZilla I ran my own heating engineering business operating in South Wales – HeatSource Wales Ltd, which continues to operate today. It is from the experience I gained in the industry running HeatSource Wales and speaking to customers that I began to realise there was a gap in the market for a more modern and direct business model.

What inspired you to start up?

I’ve always been interested in technology and business. The heating industry is a very traditional industry, not really early adopters of technology.

After speaking to customers there was clearly an opportunity to incorporate technology to make the buying process for a new boiler a lot more streamlined. If a customer could go online, get an instant quote and select their installation date in a few minutes – totally automating the process, wouldn’t it make life so much easier?

People don’t want to invite three engineers round to discuss their needs, taking time off work – they just want to be given a price and know that the job will be done quickly and efficiently. That’s what WarmZilla is here to do.

How would you describe your business to your grandma?

Buy your boiler on the interwebs and a nice fitter will come round and fit it for you. It’s cheaper because there are no salespeople and all of the nice fitters are Gas Safe registered, so there’s no need to worry.

Where do you get advice, support or help?

Usually from within the company, we have a great team that have a lot of ideas. They act as a great support network and a good place to bounce ideas back and for. 

Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed? 

I was fortunate to have built up a successful heating business in HeatSource Wales which allowed me to release capital to fund WarmZilla.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

I think the biggest achievement would have to be having the confidence to take WarmZilla from an idea and turn it into a reality. I’m incredibly proud to see WarmZilla growing each day and I’m really excited to see where it goes in the future. I see it as an ongoing project, we’re constantly tweaking the website and looking at how we can improve the customer experience. We’re always learning and we’ll always try and improve.

How do you differentiate your business from others?

WarmZilla is different to other businesses in the same field in that the process is fully automated, there are many businesses that are partly automated – you fill out a survey thinking you’ll get a price at the end but instead you get a callback. Or you can get a quote but you have to speak to someone about installation.

WarmZilla is the fastest way to purchase a fitted boiler in the UK, the survey takes less than two minutes and you’ll be given an instant fixed price quote. If you’re happy with it you can select your installation date and that’s it.

What’s it like to be your own boss?

I hate the word boss! I consider myself part of the team, another cog in the wheel, helping to make things happen. I do not get up every morning to go to work, I get up to go and enjoy my hobby, which is work. I consider my hobby a challenge, and I like challenges. 

Where do you see your business in 5 years time?

We plan on expanding our service area to cover the whole of the UK by the end of 2019 due to demand from areas we don’t currently service. I would like to see WarmZilla as a household name in five years, so when anyone is thinking of getting a boiler they think of WarmZilla. 

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Have the confidence to pursue your vision. If you have an idea that you think would benefit whatever industry you’re in, then go after it. Make it happen.

Yes, it’s scary and yes, you’ll have moments when you wonder whether you should have tried, but with hard work and perseverance, you’ll get there.

Another bit of advice I would give is to make sure you build a great team. Recruitment is so important – you can’t do it all on your own, you need to be able to rely on your team to do their part. Build a team of hungry, experienced and friendly professionals that are on the journey with you.

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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