How did you get started in the trade and when was it?
I first started in the trade in 2005. At this period I saw there was a distinct lull, a time where older sweeps were retiring from the industry, yet around the same time, there was also a gradual increase in use and installation of solid fuel appliances. Being a traditionalist, I saw an opportunity to join this age old profession in its emerging renaissance, it’s rebirth.
Initially I trained with a very fickle sweep in Berkshire. He was indeed very meticulous in his methods, dare I say it, he was a tad slow along with it. That aside, his disciplined work ethic rubbed off on me and I still stick to the repetitive routine in setting up my gear, to ensure each individual job has at an equally high standard.
I also trained for a short period with another Wiltshire sweep, as I felt it pertinent to a fledgling business, to see a variety of working practices. This time however, my experience of his chimney sweeping techniques was at the other end of the spectrum to my previous work experience….hence it being so short!
I have, in my 13 years, trained two other sweeps, one who is now also a certified Sweep Safe member. Having given back into the industry is a really good feeling.
Now I’m proud to have a customer base of around 800 and growing.
What do you like most about being a Chimney Sweep?
What I love about being a chimney sweep is being part of a growing family of chimney sweeps, that are selfless in passing on tricks of the trade and that are all striving towards the same goal….which is to highlight the importance of fire safety in the home, freely educating customers as to best practices, keeping abreast of the latest techniques & equipment and ensuring the future of our industry continues to maintain high standards for our number one priority, the customer!
What is your favourite part of the job?
The best part of my job is being content in the fact that I’ve made a difference. Not only eliminating the risk of a chimney fire, but also reducing air pollution.
I also love the interaction with customers. I can tell you that after going to the same customer for over 10 years, each visit is a bit like an annual catch up with an old friend.
For example; I’ve been going to one particular customer since I started in 2005. After 4 years they had a daughter, a few months after the birth of my daughter. Every year we compare where each girl is at in their development, which is super cool.
What do you think makes you a good, trustworthy Chimney Sweep?
A good and trustworthy sweep is one that keeps appointments, as near to the arranged time as possible.
I usually give a 30 minute window for arrival. If I get unavoidably delayed, due to things like traffic or needing to extending a previous job, I always call or text the next customer to update them.
Also, it may take a couple of visits for me to strike up a good rapport with customer, after which they feel at ease, allowing you into their homes….so both first and second impressions do count!
What would you like potential customers reading this to know about you?
For any potential customers, considering using Dusty Sweeps, you can be rest assured that the service I offer is of the highest standard. I have 13 years of 100% customer satisfaction to be proud of and I continue to learn, adapt and improve my skills. I don’t rest on my laurels, nor get set in my ways.
In recent months I have decided to polish up my business, by joining a chimney sweeping association. After careful consideration, of all the chimney sweeping governing bodies, I felt that Sweep Safe mirrored the same work ethic I adhere to and I am very proud to be associated with them.
Only a few weeks ago I was assessed on the job by Neil, of Sweep Safe, to check I was working to the current chimney sweeping industry standards they advocate and employ.
I shall also be further improving my knowledge and skills by completing a H009 HETAS course, this year. This will give me valuable guidance on safe solid fuel installation regulations, so I could then pass on advice to customers on any remedial work required to make their appliance safe for use.
What music or radio station do you listen to in your van?
On my way to and between jobs, I tune into a local radio station called ‘SAM FM’.
They have a 9am-5pm, non repeat (songs) session, playing music from 90’s and 00’s….if you’re local tune in, it’s mint!!
Favourite book, Film, TV Series?
The only books I read are by John Grisham novels, as I love the court case based dramas.
I’m really into my 1940’s era, so I love most WW2 films/TV Series.
When you’re not working what else do you like doing?
Aside chimney sweeping I’m also a full-time firefighter, with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service. The shift pattern I’m currently on allows me to sweep about 3-4 days a week.
As mentioned previously, I love anything 1940’s. I used to chair a committee, where we organised a local Military/Vintage weekend, called ‘Lacock at War’. I’ve also organised several vintage themed dances, where profits went to local charities…and I’ve even wedding planned a 1940’s wedding!
When I do get time in between all my passions and my family, I like to go walking with serving and ex-fire service members….to the Brecon Beacons, Lake District etc.