Preparing for the Busy Season

There is more to me than meets the eye. I am more than just a Sooty Face! AndChimney Sweeping - Preparing for the Busy Season I am not ‘JUST’ a chimney sweep!

I am a mother, a wife, a chimney sweep, a business woman, a writer, an employer, a radio star (as of today) an accountant, an office worker, a publicist, a negotiator, a showgirl! (I will come back to that one shortly) ... The list goes on and on.

These are just a few of the wonderful ’job titles’ one takes on as part of being self-employed and running your very own small business, as lots of you will know there are so many different aspects to contend with.

For me, one minute I can be speaking to an important customer about a large chimney contract, the next minute I can be changing nappies! Lol, Life is busy!... and varied which I just love.

It is the loooong School Summer Holidays, and my 2 children are off until term restarts in September (big sigh).  It is such a long time to be out of our usual routine, and at 2 & 4 years old they take a lot of entertaining.

I know, I have had the comments a lot from customers about ‘’Set them to work and send them up the chimney!’’ Much to everyone’s amusement, although after the 3rd time of hearing this comment it gets a little wearing, but as long as it keeps the customer happy, that is just fine.

Anyway, a long sunny Summer is usually quiet aand steady time of year for us chimney sweeps, working away happily, quite content with a steady stream of work, but this year it has just been completely none stop!

We do not seem to have had that usual quite lull at all, and this last month just seems to have gone a bit crazy!
To keep up with demand and keep mine and the children’s sanity I am currently organising some extra child care, (whoop) I can then be out doing more Sweeping, keep everyone happy and keep the world of sweep turning nicely.

Chimney Sweeping - Preparing for the Busy Season 2Excellent news! We have filled our Team Sweep job vacancies. I have just recruited two lovely ladies. Our Trainee Chimney sweep role has been accepted by Jen who is to start full time with us at the beginning of September. Jen will be working alongside myself, Val Sweep and Tom, learning as she goes about everything from fuels, temperatures, document J, chimney types and flue structure to learn all about Biomass boiler flue systems, and about everything in-between over time.

Jen can’t wait to get started. After initial training, we plan for Jen to go along and complete her N.A.C.S training and then will look to having her setup with her very own equipment and sweep van next year.

Quite an expensive ‘potentially risky’ outlay for me the employer but the alternative is to lose a lot of future custom. The demand is certainly there for our services so the options are ether keep up or lose out! We will be keeping up.

Our Second recruit is lovely Sarah who is our new super sweep receptionist, as I write this it is Sarah's very first week and  she has done a brilliant job so far and picked up the ropes with no problems at all, lots of questions as you would expect but  there is always a lot to learn in the first few weeks of any Job, let alone all the weird and wonderful enquires chimney sweeps get when booking.

Last week this was my Job! With a gap between when Alison our former receptionist finished and when Sarah our new receptionist could start, it was up to me to fill the void.

Although I dearly love to chat to our customers, it is far from my favorite part of the job!... not helped with the previously mentioned children, squabbling, laughing, screaming and/or crying in the background as I am trying to book in Mr Smith’s chimney sweeping appointment!

Thank goodness Sarah arrived in the nick of time and the sweep business is once again running like a well-oiled machine… with mysanity restored.

In other events, this month we have just attended our local Country Summer show (Tockwith and District Show) we go along every year and host a little sweep stall, where customers can come and see us, say hello, seek information and advice and book in their sweeping and/or stove servicing appointment. This year we did things slightly different in that we also took along a range of products from our new ‘Little Sweep Show’, selling things such as flue pipe thermometers, stove cleaning products and CO, Smoke and Heat Alarms. All went down really well, it was a great and exhausting day out for the sweep team, catching up with regular customers, and meeting lots of new ones.

Our presence at the show serves as a welcome reminder to get booked in for the annual chimney sweeping… before the weather turns.

Following on from the show In my wonderful, random chimney sweep life, early this morning our lovely new receptionist Sarah rang me in regard to an urgent call.

Chimney Sweeping - preparing for the busy season 3She had been contacted by a nice researcher lady from BBC Radio York who had been in touch to ask if I would speak with them live on the radio (with 30 minutes notice, ekk).  The hot typic been are men and women so different genetically that there are in fact ‘Men jobs’ such as chimney sweeping and ‘women Jobs’ such as child care. After giving my children a bag of party rings each and plonking them in front of the telly at  9.15am, I had a nice live chat with BBC Radio York  about the subject Thankfully the children remained angelically quiet throughout, Few! That could have been a very interesting live interview.

I feel extremely privileged that I am able to have the best of both worlds, as well as been a modern forward-thinking chimney sweeping business women, I am also able to be a mummy, and have the work that I love, work around my lovely little family.

Being self-employed and running your own Chimney Sweep business is not easy, but it is so worth it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  After all it is the best job in the world.
Happy Sweeping to all.


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