What advice do you wish you had received when you were getting started?
Get as much training and take as many classes as I could. There is so much to learn and so many different ways to get education. Even after almost 10 years in the industry I am still finding out things I didn't know. I try to learn something new every day. I also schedule my work around various on site, off site, and traveling education classes to make sure myself and my technicians are up to date on the latest codes, standards and practices.
John Ceaser of Ceaser Chimney Service, LLC in Manchester, New Hampshire is this month's member to know! Check out his interview below.
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job? What are your best strategies for overcoming it?
Finding, hiring, and keeping good employees. It takes a certain kind of crazy to do this work, and finding people that not only want to do it, but keep doing it is the trickiest part. I have found that paying well, training a lot, and offering benefits are the first three key ingredients.
Who was your most famous customer?
I can't say :) But we have worked for local celebrities, politicians, actors and athletes.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Starting a chimney sweeping business in the middle of winter, after most people had already had their chimney swept, with no forward scheduled work or previous customer base to pull from and not only staying in business but almost doubling in revenue every year to date.
Have you ever had to make your own tool to solve a particular problem?
Many times. My favorite is a sleeve and foam insert that I made from random plumbing parts in a Home Depot aisle that allows us to sweep flues from the bottom with both the rods and vacuum connected.
Weirdest thing you have ever found in a chimney?
Someone used their empty mortar bags to fill the cavity of a chimney while they were building it. When we rebuilt the top we pulled out dozens of charred remains.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Sleep! But when I'm not doing that I am either watching my sons play baseball, spending time at my seasonal camp site, or playing softball.
What is, in your opinion, the most valuable part of being a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild?
Having the networking and education available. My favorite part of chimney sweeps is their willingness to help and assist you with any problem you may have. The NCSG helps connect me with hundreds of sweeps, either through their tech line, conventions, or Facebook.
Thanks, John! It's always great to share challenges and successes within this amazing network of chimney and venting professionals. If you know someone who should be featured in the next Meet a Member, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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