As I sit here at my desk in Grove Park, looking back over the history of My Plumber it fills me with pride to see what I have achieved! My name is Angie Lyons and I am an entrepreneur. I started out working in the City. When I set up My Plumber, I was completely green and lacking any experience in dealing with trades people in such a male dominated industry. The journey I have taken has been an interesting one.
This is my story and how it began at My Plumber.
I have always been career orientated and, after studying all my professional exams at nightschool (and pretty much writing off any fun in my late 20s), I entered the legal profession as a commercial solicitor. This was all fine until I decided to have children. At that time, it was pretty much impossible to get back into work and I can remember sitting there in a meeting with my boss and a 5 month old baby negotiating my return to work. It was never going to happen and they knew that as well as I did. There was no offer of part time work as really, we all knew I had to be available much more than I was willing to be available! So, I left wondering what I could do with myself!
After my second child, I decided that I wanted to try something completely different, my husband at the time, Jamie (that's another story), was a plumber who specialized in bathrooms and heating installations. He was always really busy but had no time to do the little plumbing jobs. So I decided to set up my own company which did attend to all these little jobs. The result was the incorporation of My Plumber in 2005. I spent all my savings on two motorbikes and hired an au pair to look after my two daughters. We were off! That was it! 6 months later, I had two plumbers working using the motorbikes. It was getting really busy and so I had to take on my first assistant, Kaiya.
To begin with, Kaiya and I worked from my bedroom. She would sit on the bed with a mobile and I would be there at my desk. It was quite an experience and looking back, I find it hard to believe that it all worked so smoothly. Interviewing plumbers in my house - often my bedroom, whilst the children played downstairs with the Estonian au pair was interesting to say the least! Both children were under the age of 5 so you can imagine the chaos.
Together, Kaiya and I worked hard learning a new trade. Plumbing and heating is not as straightforward as it first seemed and I can remember us both sitting on the edges of our seats sometimes when plumbers were working on emergencies.
Within a year, we had moved to the tiniest office in the world in Grove Park Studios. Before we left that office, we managed to get 4 people working in there so it was pretty much a squash and a squeeze! Then the following year we moved downstairs to the office that we are now in. You will be glad to hear that there is plenty of room for everyone!
I have had all sorts of people through these doors and the stories I could tell would make your toes curl! We have met everyone you can imagine from a transvestite plumber who wanted me to call him Jane (and who sat there with his handbag on his knee) to a proper "cowboy" who ended up refusing to return a van (Kaiya and I got on the train to East London and retrieved it - I knocked on the door of the plumber's house to have his wife screaming at me for trying to get the van back!). We drove back to our office in hysterics at what had happened (and I got on the phone to find another plumber!). You have probably gathered that non of this would not be possible without a good sense of humour!
Over the years, we have developed the brand and now I have a wonderful client base and wonderful plumbers, electricians, tilers, decorators, window cleaners, etc. who help to maintain a high level of customer service and keep us busy.
I am proud to say that I have my first female apprentice, Georgie, who started on Monday and is no doubt, going to be the best plumber in London one day! She is so keen and I know that with lots of experience and support, she will be a great asset to us. The office is pretty much run by women which just goes to show that it is possible to change careers and learn something new! It's been hard work but great fun and I don't regret a moment!
My Plumber is primarily a plumbing and heating company based in Chiswick's Grove Park. We also provide other home maintenance services such as electrics, drainage, tiling, decorating, handymen and lots more!
Telephone: 020 8996 2930 and information can be found at www.my-plumber.co.uk