Bermudian’s self-made maintenance business
Before he set out to train and start his own maintenance business, young entrepreneur Sharundae Thompson was facing a hard time.
He met that challenge with self-belief and support from his family to become a self-employed tradesman who can service major household appliances. He also holds a licence to use an inventive Australian air conditioning cleaning system in Bermuda.
It was all quite different a little over three years ago. At that time he was a mason by trade, but work opportunities had dried up. Mr Thompson knew he had to do something to find employment because he and his wife had a baby daughter on the way.
The solution was to retrain. As he searched for work, he saw details for a Pace [Professional and Career Education] course at Bermuda College. He took the plunge, retraining to repair and service appliances, from refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines to driers and air conditioning units.
That was the start of his journey to becoming a self-employed tradesman with his own company, Self Made Maintenance.
The college training included hand-on experience and real-world situations.
When he graduated, Mr Thompson, 30, set up his business. Describing the initial decision to retrain, he said: “I was at a point in my life where I had to make a decision because work was scarce, I had a baby girl on the way and I had to make a decision to cut my own role.”
With support from his wife and family he set up his business doing servicing and repairs on a wide range of major appliances. Maintaining air conditioning is a big part of the service he offers, and is something he stresses is of key importance for Bermuda residents, pointing out that mould thrives in the island’s high humidity.
He holds the Bermuda licence for HydroKleen Global, a highly regarded air conditioning cleaning service devised in Australia.
The HydroKleen system uses environmentally friendly cleaning solution and a water jet to remove dirt, mould and bacteria from air-conditioning units, especially split systems. The benefits are clean air to breathe and greater efficiency for the unit.
“Air conditioners become dirty and mouldy, creating a potential health hazard, recirculating dirty air in the room,” said Mr Thompson.
“A dirty air conditioner will use up to 30 per cent more power than a clean one, so it is a real financial cost.
“And a clean air conditioner will last longer as the dirtier they get the harder they work to keep you cool — and the harder it works the quicker it will wear out.”
Mr Thompson demonstrated the effectiveness the portable HydroKleen system makes by cleaning one half of a unit. The difference between the cleaned and uncleaned side of the unit was striking, and the process was done in a matter of minutes compared to the longer process needed to take a unit apart and clean individual components.
Mr Thompson advises having air-conditioning units cleaned every six to 12 months. The HydroKleen cleaning process has been exclusively approved by Australia’s National Asthma Council’s sensitive choice programme.
He finds it surprising that in Bermuda there are no government hygiene standards that ductless air conditioners have to meet. He would like to bring his service to schools, rest homes and other organisations where mould and dirt can be a problem triggering allergies and asthma. One of its biggest clients to date has been the Bermuda Police Service.
Mr Thompson added: “My goal is to employ Bermudians, and to reach out to other establishments, such as restaurants.
Describing his journey from seeking work to becoming a trained technician with his own business, he said: “From the initial step it was like ice skating, and you know you are going to fall, but it’s been a smooth ride. I’m proud to be a young entrepreneur and catering to clients. I’ve got a good support system from my family.
“I love to work with my hands and I like being my own boss. I can control my hours and push it at certain times of the year, like at the moment this is the time to get your air conditioning done to prevent fires and before the heat comes.”
Self Made Maintenance can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone on 777-9326, and Facebook at hydrokleenbermuda