Ravenstonedale Kirkby Stephen Cumbria

A Nicheworks interview with Alan Lewis - Heating Engineer

Copper piping in hand Alan Lewis can be seen loading up his distinctive blue and yellow van ready for an emergency call-out or a pre-booked job - at all hours of the day or night. With thirty to forty per cent of his workload based on servicing, installing and commissioning, Alan is also a Rayburn specialist.

Other types of work undertaken include: oil fired Agas (Alan's business is OFTEC recognised and registered), oil stoves, boilers, Stanleys, central heating and installing bathroom suites.

Following his own good reputation around an 80-mile radius Alan rarely needs to advertise his heating and plumbing business. A list of about 250 people contact him annually for boiler servicing. Gradually moving his business away from installation into servicing, Alan not only has plans for expansion, but hopes either his son or daughter may be keen to follow in his footsteps - but that is not for a while yet.

On the technical side, he makes full use of the latest equipment on the market with the recent purchase of a flue gas analyser. Keeping computer accounts is another step towards future proofing the paperwork side of any small business and Alan's wife, Bev, makes sure they stay up to date on these matters.

'The part of this job that I enjoy most I have to admit is seeing the face of a customer when they switch on the newly installed central heating for the first time - from the moment I walk into their unheated house to price the installation I know how pleased they will be. Catching a customer's warm smile as their home is transformed is as good as a letter of thanks - and almost as good as the final payment'.

Watch for the twinkle Big Al is famous for . . .