It has come to our attention, that on multiple occasions, another chimney sweeps’ association has issued a range of negative letters to their members specifically about Sweep Safe. These now seem to have become obsessive and difficult to comprehend.
The content of these letters has been shared with us and we were disappointed, but not surprised, to find them full of inaccuracies.
While we have made every effort to ignore these and not validate them by acknowledging them, there comes a point where if we don’t publicly rectify these inaccuracies, they could be perceived as being true.
Sadly, and very reluctantly we need to address them.
We chose to do so as an official statement, on our website, for all to see.
1/ Our company status is that of a Limited company operating as an Association. (94120 – Activities of professional membership organisations)
2/ We do indeed have a full team of trainers and assessors. One of Sweep Safe’s purpose is to ensure standards of chimney sweeps are of the highest order and are regarded as such by consumers. We do provide ongoing training to our members.
We cannot see what could possibly be wrong with that.
As for our promotional videos, we made is very clear that we are not training NEW chimney sweeps at this time.
We are taking the view that there are too many chimney sweeps in the UK in relation to the amount of customers at this point in time. We have sadly seen some people in the industry lure new recruits with the promise of high income, a lucrative market where they can’t fail etc. All this seems highly questionable to us.
The market, for many, is shrinking due to an excessive number of sweeps being thrown into the marketplace. We have seen over the years many experienced and highly trained chimney sweeps businesses suffer greatly due to a large number of newly recruited sweeps thrown in their territory as fresh competition and often barely able to do the job.
We believe that to keep “the recruiting business” going without self-regulation and because it is lucrative to the directors of these association is selfish, careless, and shows a total lack of understanding and complete disregard for the industry.
Such is our stance. So, once again: We do provide training, and we do provide assessments. Sweep Safe standards are high. However, applicants to Sweep Safe also need to pre-qualify with a certain amount of experience in the marketplace. Sweep Safe does not create unnecessary competition to its members by recruiting brand new sweeps to throw in their territory.
We see this as responsible behaviour.
3/ Sweep Safe does have a clear Memorandum of Association, available to members upon applying and always available in their admin section as a downloadable file.
4/ Sweep Safe is a modern company, digitally focused in its operations.
We see the business of association AGMs as largely unfair and obsolete, as only a minority of members are usually able to attend and vote, and these meetings are often heavily politicised. AGMs happen one per year and are do not allow the flexibility needed for quick, continuous decision-making process.
Sweep Safe does indeed consult members on an ongoing basis on a wide range of topics, via polls in our private members forum and discussions. This is a much more constructive, fair, open and friendly way to discuss topics and reach consensus. So far, this consultative process is proving very popular with our members and a huge source of inspiration to Sweep Safe directors.
In addition, the company also delegates a large range of decisions to its technical committee (assessors and trainers) who are entrusted consulting with members when appropriate and with voting rights on a wide range of matters.
5/ Sweep Safe does not have rules against membership in other “competitive” organisations.
All chimney sweeps are esteemed colleagues. Whether they are independent, members of one or more association providing they do a good job for their customers. We believe every chimney sweep need to do what is best for his / her business. Since all chimney sweeps are grown adults able to make decisions for themselves, it is not our business to lecture them on which trade body they should be member of or not.
We also do not regard any other organisation as “a threat”, as we have consistently been referred to in these letters.
We believe in all professional organisation having something to offer, important views and experiences to share and we believe in us all consulting and working together to lobby for our industry with political bodies.
Put simply: We don’t mind if you are with an association or not, and who that may be. None of our business. We are also always keen to learn from our members with multiple memberships what they like about the other bodies they work with and how we can improve to serve them best.
6/ We are marketers and make no apologies for it. Our ambition is clear: creating a truly consumer recognised brand for chimney sweeps and our members to be the preferred choice for consumers. We are creative, we are determined, we will consistently launch new initiatives to help our members. If you are annoyed from seeing our ads, or videos, our social presence, our growth in the market place and our recognition from consumers, it probably means we are doing something just right for our members. We will continue with our plans, we will push on and rise above the surrounding negativity.
Onwards and upwards.
Daniel Hodgson & Vinny Piana
END OF STATEMENT