Performance at the service of the customer.

INTERVIEW

How long has Völkl-Eisenhüttenstadt been in existence?
The company Völkl-Eisenhüttenstadt has been in existence since 1st July 2000.

When was the subsidiary in Forst (Lausitz) founded and how did it come about?
Sebastian Schippeinz: I started my second apprenticeship at Heizung & Sanitär Krätsch and quickly realised that it was a good fit and that I was interested in the profession. I immediately added the master craftsman’s diploma at the end. Afterwards, I spent quite a while commuting back and forth to various companies in Cottbus, which always had a lot in mind with my master’s certificate, but then didn’t keep it. Coincidentally, an employee of our company asked me if I’d like to take a look because they were looking for me. After all, I didn’t get my master craftsman’s diploma for nothing.

Michael Fisch: The large Völkel GmbH, based in Weiden/Oberpfalz, filed for insolvency in February 2000. This gave us the opportunity to buy out the subsidiary and run it independently from 1 July 2000. We opened the branch in Königs Wusterhausen with the former employees of Völkl GmbH in 2001. At some point a colleague came to us who had heard that I was interested in opening a subsidiary in Forst. In consultation with Mr Herzberg, we bought out the inventory and everything else and started here in Forst (Lausitz) on 1 April 2021. Mr Schippeinz has been managing and steering the subsidiary since 1st June 2021.

Were you able to take over the customer base?
Sebastian Schippeinz: Yes. With start-ups and then saying, “Here I am.” and “We want.” and “We can.” is not target-oriented in our region, almost impossible. Customers don’t change so quickly because of the long-standing relationships. Our customer service technician has been with us for 30 years and is often asked if we have taken him on. He knows the systems and the customers know, they just have to say the key is there and there and it works.

What do you like best about your work?
Sebastian Schippeinz: The versatility. Our profession is no longer like it used to be – heating and plumbing separate. More and more is coming onto the market. Renewable energies play a role somewhere every day. But even a regular customer doesn’t come with the same problem every day. Problem-solving, that’s actually what still fascinates me about the profession You don’t do the same thing every day, but really build up your level of knowledge every day and develop it further.

When new heating systems are installed now, is it more in the direction of renewable energy or do many people stick to oil/gas?
Sebastian Schippeinz: At the moment there’s a bit of a pause in the renewable sector. BAFA is sponsoring new buildings – no longer new houses . They say, “You have to bring in renewables anyway.” Last year it was different and so there was more demand. The big hype here with solar thermal systems for hot water and heating is actually gone. Either the gas rail has to be integrated or often a combined version with air-source heat pumps has to be installed. This is increasing because drilling for brine is becoming more and more expensive. When younger people, in their mid-30s, enquire with us, they plan for the long term and go the renewable energy route. The older customer base is more for the 1:1 exchange.
The contracting programme of the municipal utility is quite new in our region. Single-family home owners can have a new gas boiler installed and financed by the public utility company through contracting, as with a leasing contract, including maintenance and repair. A fixed monthly price that minimises the risk of financial “surprises”. We have already installed 4 systems and the enquiries are increasing.

What makes your work difficult?
Michael Fisch: The current price developments on the market. In the meantime, everything we buy is affected – from shower enclosures to copper pipes. You have to tell the end customers that prices are going up. Many see their old contracts. They have always paid the same price for ten years. And that actually makes it difficult at the moment, because then you really pay attention to every quarter of an hour with the end customer, so that it remains affordable.

Do you have any vacancies?
Michael Fisch: We are currently looking for a trained customer service technician for our oil and heating systems (June 2022).

Do you provide training?
Sebastian Schippeinz: Yes, we are allowed to train. The profession has become very extensive and is also very interesting for women. The profession of plant mechanic is no longer just about heating and sanitation, but also about air conditioning, ventilation and solar energy systems.

Is it possible to do a practical training with you? Do you offer holiday work?
Yes, internships and holiday work are possible with us.

The location of Forst (Lausitz) or Brandenburg: how important is that to you?
Sebastian Schippeinz/Michael Fisch: We are from Forst (Lausitz) or Brandenburg, have always remained loyal to the region and want to stay.

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Address
Triebeler Straße 231
03149 Forst (Lausitz)
Contact
+49 (0)3562 7367
Branch
Heating system
Sanitary

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