Adrian Steel brushes up his business skills as a Basingstoke chimney sweep (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Adrian Steel has set up for business as a Wilkins Chimney Sweep in Basingstoke
ADRIAN Steel is hoping to clean up with a business where you have to be fit and not mind getting grubby.
The 30-year-old, armed with a degree in accounting and finance and plenty of enthusiasm, certainly feels lucky to have set up his own business as a chimney sweep.
He will sweep chimneys for homes and businesses in and around Basingstoke and as far south as Winchester, Sutton Scotney in the west, and Fleet in the east, having taken on a franchise from Wilkins Chimney Sweep, which has been trading in the Newbury area since 1895.
After completing his training with Wilkins, Adrian has been in business since July and is now embroiled in a very busy season in the world of chimney sweeps.
“The key season is the start of September when most people whir into action when the kids have gone back to school,” explained Adrian. “But I’m providing a professional year-round service.”
It is not the first time that Adrian has taken on a franchise. A few years ago, he had a pest control franchise, which he eventually sold and went back to working in sales.
“I wanted to have my own business and I was looking for a business in a growing industry,” said Adrian.
“A lot of people aren’t aware that this is a growing industry. But with gas being so expensive people are opening up their fireplaces and having open fires and a lot are having wood burners installed, because they are a lot more efficient.”
Enjoying the daily interaction with the public, Adrian said: “This is a business that’s right for me as there is plenty of work.
“I like getting grubby and I like the friendly and social aspect of sweeping, whether it’s at someone’s home, in a pub or hotel.”
Adrian not only sweeps chimneys, but when out of nesting season, will remove nests and fit cages, caps and cowls to chimneys.
When it comes to safety, Adrian has some sound advice.
“You should have your chimney swept once a year – first of all to check for any blockages, especially if you haven’t got a cowl on there. Obviously, any blockage in the chimney could result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
“A lot of people overlook this, but having an open fire is exactly the same as having a boiler – which you’d always have checked and serviced.”
In the same vein, Adrian recommends those with open fires to have carbon monoxide alarms installed, which he is able to supply.
Adrian has had a good start to his new venture and has brought luck to other businesses and happy couples, as by tradition, chimney sweeps are thought to bring luck to weddings.
He was invited to the opening of a bridal business in Winchester earlier in the summer and he has been invited to several weddings.
“It’s supposed to be lucky to put a silver sixpence in a bride’s shoe,” explained Adrian, who buys the special coins online.
“I dress up as a traditional Victorian chimney sweep and wish the bride and groom good luck, and I normally have a picture taken when I’m putting a silver sixpence in the bride’s shoe.”
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