Our Latest Twitter Updates

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Standards and Demands of the Electrician

A recent survey has found that almost a quarter of the country has employed an electrician in the last two years, while another survey has found that only 0.2% of complaints by consumers to the Governments advice service Consumer Direct were about electricians.

I have always had a bee in my bonnet about the low entry level required to set up an electrical business. Its so easy in this country to advertise yourself as an electrician and be set loose on the unsuspecting public. Thankfully over the last few years though trade organizations such as SELECT have been more proactive in the public domain in driving the message that it is best to choose an electrician that is part of organization such as SELECT.

So does these stats above prove that the message by SELECT is getting through to the public - well in some ways yes i think it is, but there is a long way to go. Personally I believe there are far too many easy opportunities for the public to openly buy electrical items that they have no knowledge of installing themselves but you just know they will try - this issue though is for another blogpost, so lets look back at some of the stats found in the surveys above.

1.5 million complaints were made to Consumer Direct last year on a whole range of topics, but top of the list with 74,000 ( 4% of the 1.5 million ) complaints were for "Home and Maintenance Installations". Drilling down the data though of the 74,000 complaints in this sector Electrical Services and Installations was 8th on the list with only 2,997 complaints. Other trades in the list were Plumbers(6,661), Bathroom fittings(6,117), Roofing(4,610), Central heating installation and maintenance(6,995), Fitted kitchens(12,819), Tarmac and paving(4,448) and General Building Work(17,503). So of all the complaints to Cosumer Direct, only 0.2 % were about electricians and 4% were in the Home and Maintenance Installations sector.

Another survey by YouGov has found almost 25% have employed the services of an electrician in the last two years just behind Plumbers, with builders on 16%. 1 in 5 people had difficulty in finding skilled tradesman in the last two years.

2997 complaints about electricians is still far too many though and thats why as part of our own drive we will always be focused on Customer Satisfaction coupled with High Standards of Electrical Work and that will continue to be our motto in 2008.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Its been a busy 2007 for Stirling Electrical Services Ltd. and we are looking forward in continuing to build the company around good quality workmanship and customer service in 2008.

So to celebrate 2007 most of the team attended a night out on Friday at the ten pin bowling centre in Stirling, where we tucked into food and drink, while trying to bowl straight.

We all enjoyed the evening and are now looking forward to the festivities over the next few days and I would like to thank the team for their efforts in 2007 and to wish them and all our clients a very Merry Christmas and here's to a happy 2008.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Photos of the bowling can be found below.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Look Out For Our New Vans

Wow, thats been a busy few months and we still have one week to go before our Christmas break ( but you can still contact us if you need us as we will have emergency cover throughout the festive period ).

One of the projects over the past few months has been the purchase of two new vans which will be sporting our new van livery and over the next month or so our other vans will have the new livery installed.

So wherever you are in Stirling and indeed Scotland, look out for our new vans and livery which will be driving down and working in a street near you soon.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

10% OFF

We are offering 10 % off all bookings for Fixed Wiring Periodic Inspection Reports and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing).

All bookings taken for the above services until 2008 will receive 10 % off the final invoice.

Thats just one other reason to choose us.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Attention All Job Applicants - especially apprentices

I am very big on attention to detail, so when it comes to job applicants many fail a very important hurdle before we have even collected their CV from Royal Mail.

Since the introduction of the new postal prices and size of stamps in April 2007, we have had to collect and pay for underpaid letters 16 times from job applicants. Most of the applicants are school leavers looking for an apprenticeship who having printed off their CV and do not want to fold their CV and enclose it in an A4 envelope and then fail to correctly put a large 1st class stamp on the envelope, instead they put on a small normal sized first class stamp. Hence, we receive a note in our normal daily delivery from Royal Mail, saying we have underpaid mail at their depot, we then have to fight our way through traffic, wait in a queue, pay a handling fee of £1.00 plus the remaining underpaid postage price which since April is approaching £25.00.
I know this is a lame blogpost but it just irritates me when people who are trying to impress a prospective new employer, cannot at this initial stage pay that little bit more attention to detail and find out which stamp to use.

Monday, 22 October 2007

"Complain for Bad Service and Praise for Good Service"

In amongst the daily grind of running a business and trying to deal with all it can throw at you, it really is very satisfying to receive a phone call from a very happy client. I would like to think that we have many satisfied clients as our number of repeat clients is very high, but sometimes just to receive a phone call or be told face to face from a client praising our service makes it all worthwhile.

Last Thursday I posted about receiving several phone calls the day after the first night of frost from people who's electrical overnight storage heaters were not working.

One client called us at 2.30 pm stating that storage heaters in her house were not working. The client was not expecting us to attend that day and was expecting us to attend the next day at the earliest. But realizing that the client had several heaters not working and that another cold night was forecast, we readjusted our schedule and managed to attend the clients premises just after 4pm. We soon had the problem fixed, tested the heaters with a temporary electric supply which meant we confirmed that when the off-peak heating came on overnight the heaters would heat up.

We were soon on our way from the clients premises a little over two hours from receiving the initial phone call.

We don't offer a timed emergency service but we would always try and accommodate jobs we would consider emergencies and try our best to attend asap, so attending, repairing and leaving this job in around two hours is not unusual ( if we have electricians in the area ) and we would certainly look upon it as part of the service we provide and would not look for praise.

But like everyone else, whether you are an employer or an employee it is always pleasing to receive praise and this is what happened when the same client called us at 8.30 the next morning.

The client praised us for the short space of time between her calling up and us attending and the service we provided and told us that she "complains for bad service but always likes to praise good service" and that we would be "recommended to family and friends"

But you know it wasn't the praise of our service that satisfied me the most, what pleased me the most was when she said that she "lived alone" and that she was "lovely and warm and the house was the warmest its been in years".

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Is Your Electric Heating Working?

It was minus 2 and the first widespread frost of the autumn was upon us last night here in Stirling which meant we were all reaching to the heating to either turn it on for the first time in months or turn it up a notch or two. Unfortunately its at this time of year, where homeowners find out that their electric heating or one or two heaters are not working.

Within a few hours of business today, the day after the first main night of frost, we had four jobs booked in to investigate storage heaters not working.

Homeowners who find storage heaters not working shouldn't panic about costly repairs, yes storage heaters to replace can cost a few hundred pounds, but on most occasions faults are within the heaters and these parts can usually be replaced for as little as £20-30.

We don't want you to go without heat for long, so all our electricians are trained to diagnose faults and repair storage heaters, and we carry spare parts for all the main brands of heaters such as, dimplex and creda and can source very quickly many other manufacturer spare parts.

Don't leave it until the frosty nights to find out your heating does not work as we can also give your heating system a once over to make sure it is working properly.

If you have any electric heating problems then call our telephone number 01786 813916

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Hampden Roar

So what is it like attending a Scotland football match, well-

The Grand Old Lady of Mount Florida was at her majestic best yesterday as Scotland took another massive stride towards qualification for next summers Euro 2008 football championships in Austria and Switzerland.

The 3-1 win against Ukraine, means qualification is still in Scotland hands, requiring 4 points from the remaining six available, with matches against Georgia on Wednesday 17th October and then on Saturday 17th November against World Champions Italy at Hampden Park.

Having decided to kick start our day in Glasgow early, my wife Jennifer and I set off from Stirling just after 9am arriving in Glasgow in enough time for our first sip of lager for the day before the clock struck 10am. The Counting House near Queen Street Station was our first port of call, before we headed closer to Hampden to Strathies Pub where the music for the pre-match entertainment was by Ted Christopher, a local musician from here in Stirling.

Strathies was our meeting with old friends and fellow travel companions to many a Scotland away match. I have always stated that if you are to take up the challenge of following our national football team to away games, you obviously must have a desire and passion for football, as that is always the focal point of any trip abroad, but by god the fellow fans you meet from all over the world and friendships that are born and the fantastic cities and countries you get to see all over Europe and beyond, is something special and at times can be hard to describe.

Having soaked up the pre-match atmosphere it was off to Hampden, just in time time to witness the playing of the National Anthems and then within 15 minutes Scotland were in dreamland. 2-0 up against the last World Cup quarter finalists and Scotland were off to a fantastic start in the quest for the 7 points over the next 3 matches that would secure qualification. Ukraine pulled a goal back just before half time but midway through the second half Scotland restored their 2 goal lead and eventually cruised to an excellent 3-1 win as fellow fans- men, women, boys and girls most of them all strangers hugged, danced and sung their hearts out in unison.

Post match was in O'Neills close to Hampden before heading back into the Glasgow city centre for a planned meal with our group of friends in Cafe Uno. Afterwards it was onto the Iron Horse on West Nile Street to end the day before our train back to Stirling, where we arrived just before midnight, tired, sore from walking, a little worse for the wear, but we were totally satisfied with the result and day we just had.

Following the Scotland football team is a joy- the people you meet, the places you see, the euphoria of a victory and the despair of a defeat, but it is a fantastic experience, one that is well and truly recommended.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Changing a Light Fitting / Wiring a Light

I enjoy reading Bruce Greig's blog.

Bruce is Managing Director of 0800handyman Ltd and I see from a recent post from his blog that he like most electricians has had the phonecall from panicked clients wishing us to attend to finish installing their recently purchased ceiling light. Yes there can be more than one cable and three wires at your existing light.

Heres Bruces post on the subject

Electrical Testing for Landlords

We do lots of electrical testing and thats not just because we are required to by our electrical regulations.

The number of enquiries regarding electrical testing we receive from landlords, companies, and students to name but a few has increased dramatically over the past few years, to where now our testing services has become a large part of our everyday work.

The three main types of electrical testing are :-
Periodic Inspection Reports - now becoming widely known as fixed wiring testing
Electrical Installation Certificates and Minor Work Certificates
PAT Testing

A large percentage of our new work has come from landlords looking to rent out a recently purchased house or flat. Landlords are required to prove that they have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the electrical appliances they provide and the electrical system of their house/flat is maintained in a safe working order.

We are asked on nearly every occasion by landlords to provide an "electrical safety certificate" - but in the electrical world no such certificate exists.

What do exist is the following and this is what we recommend :-
A Periodic Inspection report is carried out on the premises which will provide a visual and test results using calibrated test equipment on the electrical system in a report format, which will list any deviations from the current electrical regulations with recommendations if any to bring the electrical installation up to current safety standards. Once the required standard is met, the Periodic Inspection Report should be carried out at least every five years and we would recommend on every change of tenancy. Within those five years we would suggest a yearly visual electrical inspection to check for signs of wear and tear on sockets, lights etc.

Further to the Periodic Inspection Report, which is the required and correct document for landlords, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) should be carried out on any electrical appliances the landlord provides to their tenants. PAT Testing is recommended to be carried out every year.

Further details of our Inspection and Testing Service - which includes Periodic Inspection Reports can be found here on our website

Further details of our Pat Testing service can be found here

A good resource for Landlords is a website called Landlordzone

We are always delighted to discuss with landlords and other customers the requirements regarding electrical testing and I personally would be delighted to discuss this further with anyone.

So if you have any questions regarding electrical testing and how our services can work with you, give us a call on 01786 813916

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Electrical Appliance Testing for Students

It's that time of year when Students are heading to university and like previous years we will once again be offering our Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) service at discounted rates to Students heading to The University of Stirling.

All electrical appliances students take with them into their new residence at Stirling are required to be checked that they are are safe to be used and this is where we come in.

If you are a student heading to our City over the next few weeks and require Pat Testing carried out please click on the image above.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Gnome Rescue

First strange request of the week - "Can you rescue our gnome"

One of our tourist attraction customers rang this afternoon where thousands of people a day attend to sample some fine Scottish History.

We carry out electrical and audio visual maintenance work within the building and one of the audio visual displays which is a full figure of a historical character in Scottish history with a projected talking head display. The character is cordoned off form the pubic with a wooden surround which is 6 feet high with the character display within the surround and rising to 10 feet.

Seemingly a customer has went to this building with various garden gnomes and has been placing the gnomes in strategic positions within the building and next to various features then photographing the gnomes, presumingly either they have a strange sense of humour or it could be one of these stories you occasionally read in the newspapers about people removing garden gnomes from other peoples garden and then sending them postcards of the gnome spotted in various locations throughout the world.

Anyway, whatever the reason for the person taking photos of the gnome, seemingly a gnome had been placed on the ledge of this wooden surround around the character in preparation for a photo opportunity but had then fallen into the 6 feet void towards the characters feet and this person was ever so upset that their gnome had fallen and was demanding the gnomes immediate rescue.

The customer knowing that this was an audio visual feature of the exhibition called us asking what they could do to rescue this poor gnome, thankfully though we didn't have to dash and become the 4th emergency service, as with the correct ladders you could access this void without causing any harm to the electrics or audio visual equipment.

So perhaps I should add Gnome Rescue to our list of services.

Give me Jobs Over Gates Anyday

Today reminded me why I just love Apple Mac Computers.

Unfortunately not every piece of our office software can run on Apple Mac's, namely PAT Testing software or Sage software etc, so I have to have the dreaded beige lifeless PC boxes in our office running Bill Gates Windows software

In preparation for Kerry our new office team member, I thought I would get our email spam filter and anti virus software up to date - Man I wish I never bothered. After installing the updates and one new program, there were .dll error messages here, and .dll error message there. I've just spent nearly all of my working day, trying to solve this problem and thankfully after about two dozens attempts, the PC decided it actually liked doing something instead of freezing up and I managed to restore the PC to a date last week.

It is just a simple yet powerful life over on the Steve Jobs led other side - so give me my Imac and Powerbook any day of the week, infact now that as well as running the super OSX operating system, Mac's can now boot up and run Windows with so much ease these days, that dreaded beige lifeless PC feeling in our office could be a thing in the past the next time we upgrade of office computers..

New Administrator Starts

Our new full time administrator started today. Kerry will play an important role within our team with her tasks ranging from our customers main contact person, job organising and scheduling through to general administration.

I would like to personally welcome Kerry to the team in what is a major milestone in the companies history, as Kerry becomes our first ever full time office member of our team to compliment our 6 electricians.

I will also use this opportunity to thank all the people who took the time out to apply for the position.

Monday, 23 July 2007

I Despair

Proof that the time and effort we are spending just now on setting up our new scheduling and database software will be worthwhile hit home today. We believe our new software will keep us ahead of the game in terms of customer service and allow us to track and keep up to date with all our jobs - I just wish other companies did the same.

On Friday afternoon we received a call from a heating manufacturer, who earlier on this year we started carrying out fault finding work on electric boilers they manufacture that are still under warranty. This customer asked us if we could attend a property in Fife (approx 25 miles away), having agreed that we would attend on Monday, they proceeded to give us all the contact details, which we then in turn contacted the property in Fife and arranged to call this afternoon.

Having attended and diagnosed the problem, which was very evident as it was a burnt wiring loom caused by loose connections, we called up the manufacturer to report the problem and order the spare parts, only then to be told why are you calling us about this, another company are dealing with that job, they attended earlier today and that they have reported burnt connections.

Well yes!!! that is the problem but why are another company dealing with this when you arranged it with us?

Incidentally it was the same person I reported the fault to today, which called us initially on Friday afternoon to ask us to attend the property.

So without even an apology, they made it clear the other company would deal with the remedial work - so without even an apology from me, I asked for a purchase order number and said to expect our invoice in the post.

Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

Monday, 16 July 2007

The Football's Back

It's been two months without it but it finally returned on Saturday - Yes my beloved Stirling Albion were back in action.

That last match two months ago saw Stirling Albion defeat Airdrie United to gain promotion to Division One, the second tier of football in Scotland - what a day that was and a day that will live in the memory for many many years.

Last Saturday saw the first of a number of pre-season matches as Premier League Hibernian came to Forthbank. The higher league opposition proved too much to the experimental Stirling side as the Edinburgh side ran out 5-0 winners as Stirling prepare for their opening Division One league match at the beginning of August.

This season will see better teams and bigger crowds at Forthbank and it would be great to see many new faces down at Forthbank cheering on Stirling as they try and defy the odds and stay in Division One against full time teams.

There are plenty of Stirling Albion information on the internet with reports, photos, message boards and info all updated daily by the relevant websites.

So get down to Forthbank, buy a pie and bovril, grab your red and white scarf and prepare yourself for the rollercoaster ride which is supporting Stirling Albion.

For match photos visit www.stirlingalbionfc.co.uk
For match reports visit RedWeb
For club information visit www.stirlingalbion.com
For the fans message board click here

Monday, 2 July 2007

Administrator Required

Stirling Electrical Services Ltd. are looking to employ a full time administrator.

This position within the company is crucial a) as the first point of contact with our customers and b) in scheduling and maintaining the back office duties of our steadily growing business.

Details of the vacancy are posted below and interested parties can contact us on info@stirlingelectrical.co.uk for more information.


Location - FALLIN, Stirlingshire
Hours - MONDAY to FRIDAY 0900-1700
Wage - £15,000 per annum (to start)



Maintaining and updating company procedures. Scheduling electrical jobs and tradesmen time allocation. Dealing with customers in a polite manner. Administration of job details and management of diaries. Invoicing and credit control duties. Reports management and forecasting. Dealing with wholesalers, ordering stock & materials and pricing of jobs to customers.

Essential requirements are of a similar working experience in a service industry company. Previous production/Job scheduling. Dealing with Customers and building client relationships. A highly competent level of IT literacy (Word & Excel in particular) and an excellent telephone manner.

Sage or financial control experience is desirable although not essential as training will be given. An ECDL and previous stock management/control experience. The successful candidate will be using general office equipment.

Training will be provided on our new inhouse job scheduling software.

How to apply: You can apply for this job by sending a CV to info@stirlingelectrical.co.uk or by post to Stirling Electrical Services Ltd, 12 Queen Street, Fallin, Stirlingshire, FK7 7JG

For more information please call Roberta on 01786 813916.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Osta Bar and Restaurant - Stirling

Tired of visiting all the same old restaurants in Stirling, then why not try Osta.

Osta who's slogan is Eat, Drink, Sleep is based in the old Bank of Scotland building in Upper Craigs in Stirling and although it has been open for about a year, I am still aware of a lot of people who have not took the short walk outwith the main drag of restaurants in Stirling to sample the excellent food.

It also has the added bonus of being a few minutes from my house, but I just love the relaxed atmosphere, eating good food and listening to the resident piano player, especially on a Saturday night.

Jennie and I have now visited Osta three times and just love the range of foods, drinks and enjoy sitting in the relaxed bar area after your meal. It is priced slightly dearer than other restaurants in the area but is an ideal place to visit for a special occasion or if your looking for a regular restaurant to visit.

Osta, has tried to remove itself away from the mainstream restaurants trying to create its own unique atmosphere, which I believe it has succeeded in doing so.

Visit the Osta website here

Graham Joins The Team

Our team of electricians was joined last week by Graham Mitchell.

Graham who lives locally joins the business as we continue to steadily adjust to our growing work schedule and client base.

I have no doubt Graham will quickly find his feet within Stirling Electrical Services, and I'm sure our customers that meet Graham will find him an excellent addition to our team.

Its not only me...

...that apparently believes Prestwick Airport in South West Scotland is in need of a massive upgrading, something I mentioned in this post recently after flying from Prestwick with Ryanair to Girona, Spain.

It appears the Sunday Herald newspapers business diary columnists also agree - stating "the toilets are third-rate, there is standing room only in the departure lounges, the shopping experience is basic to non-existent" - view the Sunday Herald business diary here

Thursday, 21 June 2007


I came across this new website today - Electropedia, which is a database of electrical and electronic terms and definitions.

A few customer's may find it interesting, but I'm sure the people involved in this line of work will find it a useful resource if it fully develops - especially apprentices.

The definitions also translate into French, German and Spanish, which may not be a bad thing as Europe continues to try and force their wiring regulations and systems on us in these shores. eg the new wiring colours introduced in 2006.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

I'm Back - Holiday Review (Part One)

Well thats another holiday over with. Previous holiday's saw Jennie and I off to America(2005) (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP and Death Valley NP), The Gambia(2006) and last October to Kenya(2006) for a week's Safari. This time we had a somewhat shorter flight to France, where we toured part of the South of France along the border with Spain.

We flew into Girona(Northern Spain) with Ryanair from Prestwick Airport. Thankfully the Ryanair flights took off and arrived on time, something they made a big deal of when landing by playing a hideously annoying tune over the PA system, heralding the fact they were on time. This was also the first time I have flown from Prestwick Airport, which I believe is in need of a good overhaul, especially externally to the terminal building and also it can become very cramped inside the terminal building during busy periods.

Anyway lets get onto Girona. Most people who fly into Girona do not see any of the city, instead they are herded onto a coach and escorted 60 miles down the motorway to Barcelona, which I visited 3-4 years back and is a nice city break experience, we were there for 5 days and managed to see most of the city and surrounding areas highlights but it was a non-stop five days to get round them all.

We hired a car at Girona Airport and drove the 10 miles or so into the city centre.

A glorious summer evening greeted us as we arrived at our recently built hotel, although the name Bellavista had me recollecting an episode from Only Fools and Horses and the hotel from hell in Margate.

We checked in and I somewhat reluctantly tore myself away from the free minibar and headed to the relatively small city centre were we made our way to an outside cafe, for our first taste of the holiday of some tapas and beer.
As I said the city centre of Girona is very small, but well worth visiting, to view the Cathedral, a walk along the town wall and narrow cobbled streets, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere.

We only had one night in Girona, before we headed off to our next overnight stay in Beziers in France, as we headed to the French border from Girona, we headed along the coast to take in the Mediterranean sea air. Our first stop for lunch, where Rabbit and Snails were on the menu, we stopped at Port Bou, a relaxed coastal town. Afterwards it was onto historic Collioure, which had a more busier feel to it and worth spending a few hours either visiting the historic buildings or topping up the tan on the sandy beach. After a Nutella icecream cone, it was time to head further into France and onto Beziers.
We didnt really spend a lot of time exploring Beziers, but the view from the Cathedral concourse was well worth the visit, as the view took in the surrounding vineyards and towards the foothills of the Massif Central to the north.

It was a busy ten day holiday with many places and hotels to visit along the way. Our one night stay in Beziers was over and it was time to head further along the coast towards Montpellier. Before we arrived though, we again took the coastal route and visited quaint little towns such as Agde/Cap d'Agde and Sete.

Montpellier is a vibrant university city, which oozes good vibes. We had an enjoyable late evening walk into the city centre via the ancient Viaduct route and past Montpellier's own Arc de Triomphe were we enjoyed dinner, before retracing our steps and watching the sunset while local's near the viaduct enjoyed a traditional get together and dance.

Our one night stay in Montpellier was over far too quickly and it was time to head further in land towards the Gorges de Tarn area.

Our few days by the coast were over and it was time to sample some of France's most breathtaking scenery.

Part Two to follow.....

Monday, 4 June 2007


I have not posted lately as I have been off work for ten days in May ill and then its been busy trying to catch up with all the jobs and paperwork.

Our admin and electrical team have been working flat out lately with our busy schedule and its our team which will be in charge over the next few weeks as I take a holiday in the South of France.

We are working hard on our new admin project and one new electrician will join our team later in June, where they will hopefully be joined by our new office team member.

I will update you all with our latest news when I return but in the meantime in my absence call our office team on 01786 813916 where they will be more than happy to help you and book your electrical job.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Hot Cable

Here's an interesting article that appeared recently in The Times regarding plans to generate electricity in Iceland using its natural geothermal landscape and pipe the electricity to these shores and mainland Europe using a 1,200 mile cable.

Now us Sparks are always on the look out for overloaded and warm cables when diagnosing electrical problems, but if this Icelandic plan comes to fruition, this would be one Hot Cable.

View details of The Times article as reported by electrical news website Voltimum

Saturday, 28 April 2007


I came across "LogMeIn" last week which is really helping us develop our new admin project quicker.

LogMeIn is a free download utility that allows you to access your computer from any web browser from anywhere in the world.

So we set up LogMeIn on two of our office computers which is allowing us to work on our admin project away from the office.

There is a free version of LogMeIn which will allow you remote access and full control of your computer and is available from here

Thursday, 19 April 2007

The Power of Blogs - Sage Part 2

The power of blogging fairly hit home today when we received a telephone call from accounting software giant Sage. Readers may have read a previous post on this blog from April 10th, when we were experiencing problems generating our end of year employee P60 and P14 forms.

We eventually had to pay for support cover from Sage for them to look into our problem which turned out to be because we were running Payroll for 2005 and not the 2006 version, hence causing some technicality problems when generating new employee returns for the year end 2006 - something which we did not anticipate happening, since we only bought the package in March 2006, one month before the new tax year began.

Anyway, we payed for Support Cover and within an hour, we had downloaded the updates from Sage and the problem was fixed.

Today however, we received a phone call from Sage regarding our previous post on this blog.

Now half expecting a rollicking from Sage, because we had blogged about them, I put on my tin hat and body armour and spoke to a gentleman called Mike Green.

But my expectation of a telling off could not halve been further from the truth.

Seemingly Sage trawl the web, looking to see what people are saying about their company. They had come across my blog post and after reading about the problems that we were encountering, called us up to offer advice. Before they knew that we had already upgraded, they kindly told us that the problem that we seemed to be having, was likely to be linked to an out of date Sage package and they recommended we upgrade.

Now, I'm sure like all company's Sage have various policy's and ways of working (eg support prices and call waiting times) that can irritate people at times, but in this instance I would say that in calling us today deserves 100% praise for this type of customer service.

Sage were more than happy that I was discussing my issues with their software online, which in turn allowed them to find out the problems people were having, allowing them to seek to address these problems, either by calling us like today or by using the feedback to enhance future software releases.

So there you have it, a small company in Stirling, starting a blog only a few weeks ago and already we have had the mighty Sage knocking on our door.

Before I sign off - once again well done Sage and Mike Green for your foresight in calling today.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

New Admin Project Begins

Work Begins on Exciting Project
We have begun an in-house project that will revolutionise the way the company does business. As the growth of our company continues and in order to maintain the highest levels of customer service to which we base our whole business idea around, we are completely reviewing our whole administration process.

The project will involve implementing new job/scheduling systems and analysing and improving our whole process of customer service.

We recognise that as the growth of our company continues we must look at ways to improve our service and once the initial stage of this new project is complete in 8-10 weeks we believe the whole process of doing business with Stirling Electrical Services will be one of the best around and will take our current good customer relations to another level.

We will keep customers aware of the progress of the project by posting here and on our website.

Its an exciting time to be involved with Stirling Electrical Services, and it will continue to be an exciting time to be a customer of Stirling Electrical Services.

Scott McLean

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Sage P60 problems

Like a lot of companies its end of tax year time, so our accounts staff have been busy doing all the necessary tasks. This year we thought we would take advantage of the Inland Revenues incentive to file our employees end of year returns (P60 & P14) online straight from our Sage Package which is Instant Accounts Plus. If you file the forms online you will receive a £150 reduction from your employer return this year and £100 next year, so we decided to register and look forward to paying the government less for once.

But alas, no such luck. We started two new employees within the last tax year and even though they appear on every other report in Sage , when you print the P60 report (which goes to the employee and the P14 which gets sent online to the Inland Revenue), the forms for these two employees are not generated, so we have no P60's to give to the employees and the Inland Revenue will not accept the online sending of the forms because it knows the forms are missing.

Sage want nearly £100 of our money just to speak to us, yes we found this out after being on hold for 45 minutes today on the phone. Even though we are sure everything has been done correctly when we created these employees into sage when they started, it all points to a sage glitch but they are not having it. So it will be back to the drawing board tomorrow to find out if we can find a fix ourselves, or most of the governments first years £150 incentive will unfortunately be on its way to Sage just so they can say - "hello welcome to Sage - how can we help you solve your problem"

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Avoiding the Holiday Traffic

I mentioned in previous posts about our company being very busy at the moment, especially this past week leading up to the easter holiday where we had two deadlines to meet on large jobs - a major refurb of a tourist attraction and a new install on a holiday lodge - both of which were successfully completed on time leaving satisfied customers behind as our sparks headed off for a well deserved Easter break.

Now I'm not the one to take holidays at this time of year, preferring to take time away from the business in autumn or over the winter, so I volunteered to be the one minding the tools over the next few days.

I had planned to start a job at 10am this morning wiring and installing an electrical supply to a garden shed and kit it out with sockets and lights, but a call late yesterday from one of our main customers, who urgently required a visit first thing this morning to one of their locations to investigate loss of power in a kitchen, got me up bright and early and off to Aberfoyle, about 20 miles away.

I was only on site in Aberfoyle for 30 minutes before I headed back to Stirling and already I knew my decision to choose work over pleasure this Easter weekend was the right one.

The road from Stirling to Aberfoyle is a very popular tourist route and even just before 10am in the morning, traffic was building up as families or more to the point husbands were being dragged out by their wives (or vice versa), to do what everybody else was doing - getting in a car and driving somewhere just for the sake of it being Easter. The point of a holiday is to do something to relax you away from the rigors of your work but all they were doing were getting more stressed as they took to the roads in their cars, what with more cars taking to the road - then caravans joining in which make the queues worse as motorbikes whiz pass at a hundred miles an hour, darting between traffic with death defying maneuvers.

Where were these people going?, some just like to drive which is fine as I like the same thing on occasions as well, but not on a bank holiday weekend - some like to go to the local safari park, fine again if you have a family, I like a safari as well, but the Kenyan variety - but where do most of these annoying people on the roads go at this tine of year? - yes, the garden and DIY stores - why? well i aint a clue. Give me a shed to wire any day rather than buy a plant or some paint ( and don't get me started about Mr Public having easy access to electrical accessories at these stores )

So I crawled through the traffic and eventually got to my job of wiring up the shed - 4 hours later it was all done - yes it was work, yes it was a Saturday - but was it stressful? No it wasnt, now go and ask that to the people in the long bank holiday traffic queues, or trying to shop in these awful Garden and DIY stores.

Bank Holiday Monday's coming up and I will be hiding well away from the roads in our office working on the business as I listen to the sounds of very stressful people outside on the roads - people who are supposed to be having a relaxing short holiday.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Saturday was Office Day

The office side of our business has progressed well over the past year with more plans afoot over the coming months to improve our internal systems even further, but even with our good office staff it can be hard to keep on top of all that paperwork that us Sparkies have to fill in, especially with our workload increasing at a satisfying rate from a business perspective.

So on a beautiful sunny Saturday in Central Scotland, i sacrificed my usual ritual of watching my beloved Stirling Albion and decided it was to be a day with my head down stuck in reports, invoices and catching up with some legislation including the new Construction Industry Scheme system which comes into force on 6th April- which incidentally all the sub-contractors we use have been verified as being subby's within the new scheme - so they are not classed as employees so no extra National Insurance money to Hm Revenue and Customs, which is why HMRC have brought the new scheme into place.

So it was down to the office at 8am to start doing invoices, printing off Pat Testing reports and writing up Periodic Inspection Reports - all very boring stuff but it had to be done.

So after some 7 hours in the office, i grabbed some more paperwork and headed home - now i know you shouldn't take work home with you - but its also the end of our tax year today - so it was a good idea to get everything up to date, plus doing the paperwork at home sitting in the conservatory with a beer in hand, is so much better than sitting in an office you see almost every day.

So a couple of beers later, more paperwork was done and Stirling Albion had won 2-0, which at least eased the pain of the paperwork a bit.

Tomorrow I still have some work to do, but before that im out for a relaxing walk with the lovely wife.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Busy Time

As predicted its been a busy week so far with our team of electricians (and me) running around all over Scotland fixing this and that and trying to beat the usual Easter deadlines that customers tend to 'spring' on us at even shorter notice these days.

Its been a busy month also for our Pat Testing team who have stuck a fair few PASS labels on appliances in March - and the odd FAIL label as well. Ronnie our main PAT Testing man has done wonders in this busy month and certainly deserves his holiday next week. Lets hope he remembers to take those labels out of his pocket before he goes off on his hols as i can imagine him attaching labels to every electrical appliance with a plug on it at his hotel.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

The Jamm

Well a busy Sunday comes to an end after watching The Jamm a tribute band to well er; The Jam.
The venue was The Albert Halls in Stirling and although only about half full the audience - average age about 40 were in Mod like Mood with people dancing, jumping about playing air guitars and on the stage.

A super night from a super tribute band which brings Sunday to a close - its work tomorrow and im back on the tools with a job up in Tyndrum - building scaffolding to change some lights.

Ah well back to the grindstone.

Doing stuff on a Sunday!!!

Having spent Saturday morning at the office and then the afternoon watching Scotland stumble past Georgia 2-1 at Hampden, Sunday was once again upon us, which meant I was about to be dragged up some hill or a walk through some forrest.

My lovely wife Jennifer has started to make sure i don't just laze about on a Sunday which i love doing to recharge the batteries after a hard week. This week some 2 hour walk near Callander was mentioned but after a slightly longer lie in on Sunday morning, we decided to explore the lovely village of Culross in Fife, a mere 20 minute drive from Stirling.

Culross lies east of the Kincardine Bridge in the shadow of Longannet Power Station on the banks of the River Forth, but please dont let this cloud your judgement on what this village is like.

It's cobbled street's rise up to the Abbey and leave behind a small medieval style village centre with Palace, Mercat cross and Hobbit sized cottages, which seem a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Longannet Power Station, the nearby main road to Dunfermline and the Grangemouth oil refinery which sits across the Forth.

The village was right in the middle of it all, but it was still secluded enough to be an excellent place for a relaxing stroll on Sunday and more importantly for some super Sunday lunch.

At lunchtime not many people seemed to be walking the streets and thats because they were all having lunch in the Red Lion Inn, a charming traditional village pub with mural paintings on the ceiling. If you visit Culross make sure you leave enough time to visit the Red Lion Inn and more importantly have enough space in your stomach to sample some of its extensive menu.

So after some grub (Pork Steak with blue cheese and smoked bacon sauce) it was time to head back to the car and then back to Stirling for a few hours rest before im out again (i know twice on a Sunday), to a tribute concert to The Jam in the Albert Halls, Stirling - by tribute band The Jamm.

So this Sunday , im certainly not "Going Underground" and seeking a rest from work, im actually doing stuff - heaven forbid. Oh and did i tell you i also changed a couple of basin sink taps as well. Jeesh I'll need a rest at work this week just to recover from the weekend.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Easter Mania

Well here we are in the run up to Easter and it's looking like the hectic past two and a half months is going to come to a head over the next two weeks. One client wanted us to do a two week job in late January and we are still there two months on after the job grew arms and legs (not that im really complaining). The cafe we refurbed opens on Wednesday as does the Steamship which we done various maintenance work on.
Work on a newly built log cabin will need to be completed within a fortnight as the owner has guests arriving on Easter Saturday, so as well as these two jobs and what feels like zillions of others(well there is a quite a few really), its going to be a busy two weeks for our team.
Im sure after all the hard work, my lovely wife may allow me an Easter Egg this year.


Welcome to Scott's Electric Blog - a look into every day life as an electrician and owner of Stirling Electrical Services Ltd. - a fast growing electrical contracting company based in Stirling, Scotland.

Here i will discuss what's happening in our industry, Scotland, football plus lots more

Contact Details for Stirling Electrical Services Ltd.

Stirling Electrical Services Ltd
12 Queen Street
Stirlingshire, FK7 7JG

Tel: 01786 813916, Fax:01786 811447
Web: www.stirlingelectrical.co.uk
Email: info@stirlingelectrical.co.uk