Meet Corey Butler with Butler Chimneys LLC in Dousman, Wisconsin. Corey shares with us how he got his start in the industry and lends some great advice to new and potential NCSG Convention attendees.
What is a question you get asked most about being a chimney sweep/chimney sweeping/the industry?
"That must be a dirty job." My answer, “Tell me about it, I started out as a white guy."
How did you get started in the industry?
My mom worked for a chimney company and in 2001 I started working summers as a chimney mason laborer at the ripe old age of 13. I worked my way up, then took the plunge into business ownership 10 years ago.
What advice do you wish you had received when you were getting started?
Take this seriously because there's some serious opportunity in this industry (not that my 13 year old brain would have taken that advice).
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job? What are your best strategies for overcoming it?
Keeping customers happy. I've always worked on the idea of treating customers the way I would my grandparents. Every time I want to get frustrated and tell them how I really feel, I think about what my grandma would say if I did that! Works every time.
Who was your most famous customer?
J.J. Watt and his parents the year he was drafted. He was an amazing guy, and his family was great to work with.
Have you ever attended NCSG Annual Convention & Trade Show? If so, what was your favorite takeaway?
Every year I find that my best takeaways are from the meals I have with people. The seminars are great, but what I learn from my peers that I invite out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner have been the most valuable. If I could give advice to a first time attendee, it would be to try and never eat alone. You will always get your money’s worth out of the conventions.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Creating a great company. It’s not anywhere near perfect, but I have a great staff and a customer base that loves us.
Have you ever had to make your own tool to solve a particular problem?
If any has answered no to this then they don't really work in our industry!
Weirdest thing you have ever found in a chimney?
I pulled 32 frogs, in various stages of decomposition, off of a smoke shelf once.
What do you like to do outside of work?
There's such a thing as outside of work!?! I spend most of my time doing whatever my 4 daughters and wife want to do.
What is, in your opinion, the most valuable part of being a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild?
The conventions, for sure!
Thank you, Corey! If you or someone you know should be the next NCSG Meet a Member, please send an email with your nomination to Annemarie Stockton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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