We spoke to award-winning plumber and social media extraordinaire Drew Styles about why he got into plumbing and how he uses social media in his work.
Drew, who won the UK Plumber of the year 2017/18, runs Drew Styles Plumbing & Heating based in Wigan. He has amassed more than 5,000 followers across his social media platforms, posting regular and often humorous photos and videos of his day-to-day life.
HIP: How did you get into plumbing?
Drew Styles: I’m the fourth generation in my family. I’ve done it all my life. I wanted to do it from when I was a kid – it was my dream and luckily I managed to do it. Every holiday I had growing up, I was down at my granddad’s working for him.
HIP: Did you do an apprenticeship? If so, how was it?
DS: I did an apprenticeship with a housing association and I worked there – including my apprenticeship – for ten years before I went out on my own.
HIP: How long have you been a plumber?
DS: My grandma says I was six when I did my first job! I’ve been doing it forever really. I’ve been qualified for 12 years now. I started straight after school.
HIP: What do you believe makes your company different?
DS: It is a bespoke plumbing and heating service by the bearded wonder plumber!
HIP: What’s your favourite part of the job?
DS: Probably installing, I love doing it – taking a system that’s not efficient or not working properly and making it work ten times better than before.
HIP: Which brands are you a fan of?
DS: Recently, mainly Vaillant and Glow-worm. They are really good fit for my company, they help me expand on what I’ve got. They are a premium boiler and you get that sort of technology for less money. It’s just a really good fit for my company.
HIP: What advice would you give to people looking to get into the industry?
DS: Listen to everything everybody tells you. Make your own mind up later on whether it was good or bad advice, but just listen.
HIP: How do you use social media as a plumber?
DS: It’s a great way to be in contact with manufacturers and learn about new things out there, learn off people like Den Hollingworth (@Doitlikedenbo) and Wayne Kirby (@2StarKirbs) how to do things on a completely other level. They are the best installers by a long way. You can learn about training days and talk rubbish about shiny pipes!
HIP: Which social media platforms do you use?
DS: Twitter and Instagram, mainly. I’d say Instagram and Twitter are definitely more for within the trade, but the Facebook page is good for customers to get in contact with you. Mainly it’s for me, other engineers and manufacturers. I try and put pictures of everything I can, but you don’t want to do the same all the time, it’s trying to keep things interesting while showing what you can do.
HIP: What do you do outside of work?
DS: Work! That’s the joy of working for yourself, you never really stop. I do go to the gym though.
HIP: How would you describe yourself in three words?
DS: Bearded wonder plumber.
HIP: What couldn’t you live without?
DS: Mrs Styles!
You can follow Drew on Twitter: twitter.com/stylesplumbing