Byde Heating & Plumbing Ltd.

Gas, Heating and Plumbing Specialists

Reading 0118 9482432 / 07967 198953

Article reproduced from The Sunday Times featuring Vince Byde of Byde Heating & Plumbing Ltd. "Aftershock" By Andrew Taylor. April 2, 2006.

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Plumbing the depths

You don’t need to know about my plumbing skills. It’s enough to say that the main thing I learned that day was that there is something else I can’t do – and that not being able to do plumbing can be messy, frustrating, and very, very wet. Vince Byde, who took me out with him for the day, has been doing the job for about twenty years, and has had his own business in Caversham, near Reading, for four, so he should know a bit about it. In fact, if central heating boilers were dogs, Vince would have them walking on their back legs and taking dog biscuits out of his hand.

...if central heating boilers were dogs, Vince would have them walking on their back legs and taking dog biscuits out of his hand.

And, oddly, he doesn’t make £200 an hour. He just rolls his eyes at the sky when I suggest to him that he might. “I wish,” he says. “Fifty-five pounds for the first hour, and £35 an hour after that.” I’m mentally doing the calculations for a 40-hour week, when he adds that those figures don’t include the time taken to get from one job to another, which can often be a quarter of the whole day, or the time doing paperwork in the evenings and weekends. That’s all free. And then there’s the cost of the van, and the training to keep your qualifications up to date – qualifications to work on gas have to be renewed every five years.

John McDermott is an Aftershock reader who knows all that. He’s not dazzled by the dinner-party exaggerations about the plumber’s life – but he’s still committing around £8,000 of his savings to training and qualifying to do the same sort of job as Vince. It’s a decision he made a few months ago, shortly after he’d been made redundant at the age of 49 from his job as an audit manager.

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