Chimney sweepers still in hot demand
The role of a chimney sweeper is certainly not obsolete in 2017.
Grey Lynn small-business Complete Chimney Care has for the third time taken out the NoCowboys business of the year award. NoCowboys is a New Zealand website where people read and post reviews about trade services.
More than 80,000 people a month use the website to look for tradespeople from more than 20,000 Kiwi businesses.
Complete Chimney Care was formed in 2012 and is owned and operated by Ciaran Fitzpatrick and his partner Kimberly Muncaster.
Originally from Ireland, Fitzpatrick said chimney sweeping was still in demand in 2017.
‘‘It’s actually more popular than it ever was. A lot of people are turning to wood fires for the heating of the house, even new builds put them in,’’ Fitzpatrick said. Other than sending small children up the chimneys, Fitzpatrick said his service is almost identical to what it would have been 100 years ago.
‘‘I do get called Dick Van Dyk by some of my friends,’’ he said in reference to the American actors’ role of a Cockney chimney sweep in the Disney classic Mary Poppins. Muncaster said the couple often got a funny look when they told people they had a chimney sweeping business.
‘‘It’s kind of quizzical because you don’t meet many chimney sweeps,’’ she said. ‘‘The reality is people love fires.’’
The NoCowboys award comes for the couple as a result of consistently good ratings from customers.
They were judged on quality, reliability, value and communication. Despite the success Muncaster said they had no plans to expand as they wouldn’t want to lose control of the quality of service. NoCowboys’ general manager Bruce Lindsay said the award was outstanding considering the business had been operating only four years. ‘‘They’ve demonstrated the ability to consistently deliver great customer service and it’s a pleasure to market their reputation,’’ Lindsay said. In 2014 Auckland Council considered a draft air quality bylaw which would have prohibited the use of open fireplaces and pre-2005 woodburners from 2018.
However, the bylaw was not adopted so Aucklanders can continue to use open fireplaces and woodburners of any age.
Ciaran Fitzpatrick said his role is not too dissimilar to that of chimney sweeps 100 years ago.