Sir Henry, A guy I know in a different trade, a paint sprayer that I know is really good at his job, once said to me 'You know when you are good at a job don't you... I know you are good at your job and I know I am good at my job'. If people are realistic and have some 'normal' level of self criticism, if they are not arrogant, then I believe that is true. During very busy periods where customers have wanted a very simple to convert vehicle converting at absolute minimum cost I have steered them to some of the local 'done in a day' installers that we all moan about on this forum for not being very skilled and/or thorough.. In such cases I considered the vehicle was a very simple job, so the done in a day lot couldn't go far wrong, considered that I would have had to charge a few quid more than those guys to convert the same vehicle (even though I would have done a better job) and that the customer wanted the cheapest job possible and gave hand on heart advice. But I would never steer customers to 2 of the LPG installers that are in the Doncaster area, because I know that those installers do a similar kind of job to the done in a day guys (from a technical perspective at least) but charge a lot more for their services (or mis-service choose how you look at it)! Not just when installing vehicles, but 2 in Doncaster are also seemingly abysmal when it comes to repairs, though they really know how to charge, usually for none-effective results and/or just an incorrect diagnosis. Where they haven't fitted their usual preferred system (Prins or BRC) I have also often been involved in putting systems right that they have attempted to install but failed miserably.
I have a great reputation (among those in the know / those who network and discuss cars etc) for getting excellent results for LPG conversion of the most technically challenging vehicles and for this type of vehicle customers come from far ends of the UK for me to fit or repair their system; for such vehicles, other than myself, I could only confidently steer customers to a very small number of installers in the UK. This has only happened a few times, the last time it happened was with a guy who wanted his new Honda Civic Type R converting (a bit demanding), owner didn't like the fact I worked from home (I have a massive yard, secluded and set back from the road, massive tripple garage etc, all of which I thought I'd explained but the owner decided not to go ahead). This situation was unusual in that the customer hadn't come by recommendation, nearly all my work does, so perhaps I have become accustomed to customers accepting my setup because they are confident of results, but I sometimes leave removed LPG bits in the yard so this place isn't always as tidy as Aston Martin's premises! But no hard feelings to the nearly cinversion customer! I gave him his deposit back, I pulled some repair work forwards (people from all over the UK who had had no luck trying to get their vehicles repaired elsewhere)and recommended Andy Evans on The Wirral as the next closest guy I dare recommend to convert the Type R... When I say dare, not really in this case, I have faith in Andy's skills and workmanship. I would not do anyone the dis-service of recommending an LPG pro I thought not really up to the task. I don't even know Andy but have seen his work, have read some of his technical thoughts and I know that he knows what he is talking about... The furthest some installers should go is to stick to changing brake pads, not me or Andy.
I doubt you will find many reviews of me on review sites etc... that would be because I don't personally enter reviews about myself - It seems review sites are notorious for such dodgy entries (I always expected it and the BBC recently did a radio report on this subject), I personally pay little attention to review sites, all very biased, I find obviously so in the case of LPG installers... many installers that I know are @!## have good reviews, especially on their own websites. There are no reviews on my website - I used to teach IT, English, Maths and mechanics, have written commercial software for the likes of Powergen, but I'm not the best at website design and don't know how to setup a 'review page' on my website... Damned if I'll pay someone to setup a review page on my website for me though!
There are plenty of people who I expect would be more than happy to provide you with a review of my services, without asking them (not something I generally do). I wouldn't feel too cheeky giving you their phone numbers, even if I chose random customers, because I know they usually think I have done them a very good turn... But then again you wouldn't know that I wasn't steering you to friends, family, or maybe to a minority of customers that have been happy with my work, indeed I would suspect such if anyone jumped to give me references. In 12 years I have only ever had a couple of customers that seemed less than 100% happy and there are mitigating circumstances behind both of them... I will explain one of these situations at the bottom of this post but think I have mentioned this situation previously on the forum - I am very honest about all my experiences, good and bad.
Central Garage and B&H Automotive (now going under a different name - they should have changed their name with any sense) might have been included in the list of installers around Doncaster you've heard about besides myself - You might search this forum and maybe find some info about all 3 of us... I have a dim view of both of the others, mostly due to hearing so many negative stories from customers who have had bad (and costly) experiences at these places.
If any of my employees leave then there would be nobody here (I am a one man band)! But I have been converting vehicles for 12 years now, am well known, have a great reputation, enjoy fixing LPG systems and having pride in this work and have no plans to stop. Even if I ever did stop to do something else I would still repair LPG systems 'on the side' but LPG is, and has been for a long time, the only thing I do (I do general servicing and repairs for previous LPG customers that don't want to trust anyone else). I do a roaring trade repairing LPG systems where multiple other installers have already tried and failed. I wouldn't be hard to find if the above were untrue - my workshop is attached to the house, where I convert vehicles is at the side of where I live!
I put pride into my work and am happy to be judged on any of it. I get some work from this forum and would invite you to post comments about anything I do, and/or I could post pics of any work I do on your vehicle on this forum if you wished, and then you could comment on the same thread... The only type of customer comment I would feel pleased about myself with is 'system seems very well fitted, vehicle runs on LPG just as well as on petrol, very happy with Simon'... but you could write on this forum what you wished.
Central Garage and B&H like to fit Prins and BRC, that's probably because they can download calibration files for these systems so don't have to calibrate systems themselves - they're terrible at calibrating systems or installing anything Prins or BRC. At last count there was only one guy (CG owner) who knows anything about LPG at said company, so as big as they are they are a one man band like me when it comes to LPG. According to customers, B&H have had people have head gaskets done / even replace their engine (pointing out head gasket failure / cracked blocks etc) at cost of at least £2500, when the only issue was actually a reducer problem, identified by me, which I have sorted for less than £100 after the owner has paid for head gasket johs / rebuilt engines that made no difference.
RE one of my comments above - one of my customers that wasn't happy... This was in fact about a Dodge Day Van that I converted! I have converted many Dodge Day Vans to LPG very successfully, most notably one for a guy who represented GB in the Olympic Games in martial arts (guy from Bridlington would you believe), but his marrtial arts skills don't mean I'd do him a better service than anyone else! Anyway, regards the unhappy customer.... Before I'd seen the vehicle, I'd asked the owner to describe the engine and inlet manifold but he described the newer type manifold rather than the actual type manifold of the vehicle he'd bought, he also got the year of the van wrong, turns out he hadn't even picked the van up before collecting it and bringing it directly to me for conversion. Anyway, he brought the van in for conversion and I had all parts ready to install on the vehicle, except when it arrived the van was an older model than described, so instead of the multipoint sequential system I expected to be fitting I found it required a single point closed loop system to be fitted. The van also had a bad water leak from the water pump and it's fan belt was in a very bad way, it was breaking up, the customer acknowledged such faults even over the phone on the way to me. I had to get an 'old skool' single point closed loop system in stock and had the full system mostly fitted when the fan belt finally snapped. When the fan belt snapped it made a hole through the top hose of the radiator. This was on a Friday night and I phoned the customer to tell him what had happened.. 'OK no problem' he says, 'I can get parts to fix it over the weekend through people I know in this van club I'm in, I could pick the van up from you, fit the new water pump and fan belt over the weekend and then bring it back to you for finishing off on Monday'. 'Problem is, as already discussed, I'll be away until Tuesday now though' I said. 'Well that's OK I'll trailor it away, fix those bits (which I knew were on their way out) and bring it back on Tuesday then if that's OK' he said. He fitted the fan belt and water pump, but then instead of bringing it back to me on Tuesday for finishing off, he took it to Central Garage on Monday thinking he didn't mind paying them to finish the job off... But they told him none of the parts I had fitted would have been up to the job - that the tank I had fitted was apparently an old tank and the R90 reducer I had fitted was apparently not up to the job for the 4.6L engine... All incorrect info from Central Garage but this customer believed them over me, and what would be (if only he'd asked) over the rest of the trade, to his own cost and my cost... The parts I had fitted and my workmanship (not yet fully completed due to inability to calibrate the system at heavy throttle with the water leak) were all entirely suited to the vehicle... as any knowledgeable person on this forum would tell you. Central Garage had this guy pay them the full cost of their more expensive charges to convert the van using inferior Prins single point components with only maybe the same quality of workmanship but cost the owner his deposit and myself the profit from the job. A court case would have ensued, with myself getting advice from a former magistrate customer (who has since had several vehicles converted by myself and who I know would be happy to give a reference), but it didn't come to that. Just left the customer being ripped off and myself out of pocket.