Chimney sweeping in Tooting | This is local London

Tooting-based Ian Nolan founded TootSweep in 2008, a sweeping business based in his area.

Previously a photographer, during the 2008 recession when economic instability and unemployment levels were high, Ian decided he wanted to transition into a tradesman in the service industry as something more practical.

After having his chimney swept and decided he wanted to pursue his career, he went to Rodtech – a professional rotary sweeping company. In order to develop his skills and interest in the trade, he completed a comprehensive three-day chimney sweeping course, establishing his abilities and passion. Following this, he worked with other sweeps and joined Facebook forums to immerse himself in the craft.

Throughout Ian’s career as a sweeper, work patterns have changed dramatically due to economic, social and political factors.

Over the past decade, major economic adaptations have faced our economy, leading to the death of cash. Six years ago, 40% of people paid for the service in cash, whereas today only 10% use cash payments to pay for the service. This transition to digital payment shows the adaptability and the necessary to be a successful business owner.

Typically, Ian aims to do eight sweeps a day four days a week, which forces him to turn down several jobs during the busiest season between September and January due to excessive demand.

Recently, due to many factors such as the war in Ukraine and Brexit, the country’s economic stability has led to a substantial increase in the cost of living and property. This has led to an increase in people wanting to use their alternative to gas and electric fires for warmth in the cold winter months, with many dormant fireplaces requiring Ian’s service to enable them to be used safely and effectively. Subsequently, Ian has to turn down many possible jobs so as not to overwhelm himself or his business, but this causes problems for the local community as a chimney that is not regularly swept and maintained can cause health problems. security leading to major problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ian said: “In 2022 we have seen an unprecedented rise in the cost of living and in particular the cost of gas and electricity. This has led many people to consider using their fireplace for the first times. As a result, many chimney sweeps are busier this year.”

This increase in the cost of gas and electricity was followed by an increase in the price of parking. To combat this, Ian had to change his mode of travel to a small petrol van to see the effect of the cost of living in a crisis on his business and due to his awareness of litter pollution . Contrary to this, due to the niche nature of the trade, there are very few chimney sweeps in London, so an increasing proportion of chimney sweeps live outside London and commute to sweep chimneys due to the cost of the lodging.

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