At SellMyHome.co.uk we understand the importance of keeping your home in top condition, not only for your own comfort but also to get the best offer when it goes on the market. With this in mind we’re assembling a team of Home Heroes, those professionals we turn to when our home causes us grief.
This week we spoke to Mark Langley of MyLocalPlumber.co.uk, who's aim is to keep London's homes warm during the winter. Mark has been a plumber for the last 15 years, deciding he is better suited to helping people after he changed his mind on a journalism career. He is now serving the British public with their plumbing and heating needs.
What does being a plumber entail?
I visit people's properties and fix any plumbing issues they may have. I also install boilers, bathrooms and kitchens. I carry out repairs and maintenance work. I also get involved in a little electrical work too.
What is the most common type of work you do in your area of expertise?
Given the time of year, I am involved in a lot of boiler work and repairs. It's possibly due to the cold weather now setting in for winter. A lot of my clients like to get a boiler service so they're all ready for the winter months. The weather is still quite mild though so this time of year is a good time to get a service done.
How did you get into plumbing and how long have you been doing it?
I've been a plumber for around 15 years now. Before I was working as a journalist after completing a journalism course but then decided I wanted to become a plumber. I love the self employed aspect of it. I feel it was a great choice and definitely a life changing career move.
Do you have any advice on how a person can maintain their plumbing in their home?
Yeah of course. Boiler services are the big one. You can also go down the route of hot water services and unvented cylinder services. An easy fix is descaling your taps and installing some water softener solution, if you can, so water can flow through easier. These things are your run of the mill jobs you can do to ensure your plumbing works throughout the year.
Do you have any horror stories while being on the job?
Yeah definitely. One that sticks out is a time I was working in a house with a carbon monoxide leak. Very dangerous as it's unscented. That's probably as bad as you can get. I replaced the boiler and the flu. Had to all be redone as you can't mess around with carbon monoxide. I ripped it out and started again, and also installed some new carbon monoxide alarms so the customer would feel safer and alerted to carbon monoxide leakages in the house.
What makes a good client?
Someone who pays on time, which is good! No, I'm joking. It's all about communication. Good communication between myself and the client. That's it really. Good communication and understanding the client.
Have you ever had to deal with difficult clients in the past?
Oh yeah, you get clients like that all the time. It's usually down to them not understanding the processes involved in the work needing to be done. You try and make it as clear as possible. That's the whole process of being self-employed as you rely on yourself and the business you earn off your own back. You have to make it very clear what you're doing, your charges, your rates, and what needs to be done. There are times I've experienced when after all of that, the client still doesn't quite understand that problems can arise in plumbing. I'm not psychic. Problems can happen by themselves. I've had it before where I've been working on an area in the house and then something else goes wrong. I'm then blamed for something that has nothing to do with me. This is where the good communication comes into it. You have to find a way of explaining the problems to the client to make them feel more comfortable about the work being carried out. You have to be fair too.
What's the most rewarding thing about your job?
You know, after you've installed a boiler or a bathroom and it looks fresh and great and the client is happy. That's the most satisfying thing, doing your best quality work and then looking back at it.