Why Plumbing? It certainly was not my first career choice…but the opportunity of working my own hours and running my own business made the career a smart choice for a woman who wanted a family but wanted a flexible job.
Sounds perfect in theory but those of you who run your own business know that a trade or even being your own ‘boss’ can take you away from the family. I am so thankful to my dad who started Jacol Plumbing nearly 15 years ago because he did the ground work to make it a successful commercial plumbing company. I am also grateful that he was eager to incorporate my idea for change to service the domestic maintenance area for a different pace of life and to accommodate his daughter who wanted to start a family. My dad is an inspirational man and without him I wouldn’t be who I am today or even where I am today.
In 2006 I was working for a transport company which I had worked for three years. I was then offered a higher position with a different transport company and after 6 weeks and working my butt off I realized that I wanted to work for myself and have my own business so that I could have flexibility to be a mum. I also knew that I would have to start this business now so that it would be making a profit or some sort of income by the time I was pregnant.
I talked to my dad about my ideas of starting a business and as he thought about my situation he asked me if I would be interested in learning the plumbing business because it was a business that was already started and if he could train me to do what he did every day I would ‘inherit’ a business that was already making money and already had the clients. I was excited and scared by the idea but I thought
Why not and that is how I got involved in Jacol Plumbing. To have the controls of running the business I would need a plumbing license which meant I would have to undergo a plumbing apprenticeship.
I smile when my mum said ‘it’ll be easy Bec, it’s just glueing pipes together, you’re good at craft, you’ll be fine.’. What a friggin craft it was! I just passed technical studies at school and the thought of welding or using a drill scared the poop out of me. I was such a girly girl and the thought of being rough did not appeal to me at all or to my image.
I did it though, but in the middle of my apprenticeship in 2008 the Global Financial Crisis hit and my dad was unsure whether we would continue to get work in our current niche – the commercial tenancy fit out. I told dad we had to change our direction and start thinking for ourselves about the lifestyle we wanted and the people we really wanted to work for. It was then that we started our maintenance service and that is what my dad and I do today.
Plumbing has allowed me to be a mum (I have a gorgeous 15 month old daughter) and the flexibility of doing maintenance plumbing means that I can pick the days I want to work and my mum looks after my daughter while dad and I attend to these jobs. The emergency plumbing jobs require some juggling around and we always have back-up staff if we can’t get to a job.
My dad has always believed you can do whatever you put your mind to do and my testimony is truly the truth in the pudding. Plumbing prepared me for being a mum. I’ve been covered in all sorts of effluent, so having a baby vomit in my hair was really nothing I had to gripe about.