This month we interviewed the owner Tech Surveys, headed by Plymouth-born, Mick Quick. Mick carries out Energy Performance Certificates and Legionella risk assessments. This is not a path he chose but he thoroughly loves his work.
When Mick was 17 he had tendencies to hang out with the wrong crowd, and at the time his future could have taken a very different path to where he has ended up today. That is until his Dad stood in front of him and gave him three choices: Army, Air Force or Marines. As reluctant as Mike was he chose the first option and joined the army as an engineer in 1992. Looking back, this was a pinnacle point in his life as after he had completed his training, he was posted to Germany where he then lived and went on many tours, some of which included Bosnia and Canada. However in the year 2000 after 8 and a half years of service, Mick was discharged due to the stress of being under a huge amount of pressure having to run the stores on base and having to deal with the stress of being constantly audited.
After Mick’s discharge the first thing he did was spend some quality time with his wife, Jasmine. The pair have known each other since they were children as they were family friends for many years. The couple got married in 2001, bought their first home and had their son, Michael.
When Mick came out of the army he found it particularly difficult to transition back into civilian life. He found it extremely hard trying to convince a civilian employer that the skills he’d gained in the military could be transferred. Jasmine explains, “I think it was the fact he was 26 and they couldn’t believe he’d done so much. All the skills he gained in the army were top notch. He’s gained so many certificates but these aren’t always recognised by civilian employers.”
This was a challenging time for Mick so he decided to start working in various entry level roles to build up his experience before landing a job in Plumbase where he stayed for a couple of years. Some of Mick’s relatives worked in the plumbing trade, and he had gained experience from going out on jobs with them so this industry made sense to him.
In 2004, Mick left Plumbase as he was keen to progress and earn more money as their daughter Lilli had just been born. He went on to do some agency driving work which lasted for four years, and in an effort to earn more money for their growing family, Jasmine started working nights and the kids would go to pre-school in the daytime. They then decided to move into a new, larger property in 2006.
Three years later, Mick became a Transport Manager at a local Builders Merchants. He trained and completed his NVQ level 3 certificate in just 11 weeks, when it usually takes two years. To help him with getting to and from work, Mick decided to buy a moped which turned out to be the demise of his career. One morning in 2010, on his way to work Mick was involved in an accident and was knocked off the bike and sustained a knee injury. Mick pushed the broken moped home and the knee swelling prompted Jasmine to take him to hospital, and following an operation, Jasmine was forced to leave work to look after the children.
Mick was advised by his Doctor to stay home from work for three months, but his employer couldn’t accommodate this. “I had no choice but to go back to work,” Mick explains.” I had to keep a knee brace on and had to lower my hours because I was in so much pain. This is when things started to go downhill. I couldn’t drive HGVs anymore. I could tell that my boss wasn’t happy, and after a long dispute I had to leave.”
The family then began to struggle. Mick was trying to find another job, and it was at this time that Jasmine became very ill. After many tests in hospital, in 2011 she was diagnosed with ME and fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain condition. The couple lost their caravan holiday home and had to sell everything they could to support the family. They nearly lost the house as it took almost 18 weeks for financial support to come through.
Jasmine tells us how grateful they are to the British Legion for their help at the time – they provided uniforms for the children and gave the family food vouchers. Mick is so appreciative that he even donated money back to them later on as a thank you.
Things took a turn for the better when in 2012, Mick’s brother, Ben, set up his own plumbing and heating business which focused on renewable and eco-energy. However, homes they were working on needed to have EPC’s (Energy Performance Certificates) carried out. Ben approached Mick and offered to put him on a training course so that he could carry out this part of the business. After 18 months, Mick was finally back in work. By this point he was becoming so desperate he was even considering starting up his own business knitting scarves! “Anything to keep a roof over our heads!” said Mick.
Mick was busy conducting EPC’s, often working six days a week, and this continued for year and a half until the funding was cut for boilers and there was less demand for EPC’s. Ben partnered up with someone else to do loft insulation, and Mick moved from EPC’s to doing the insulation and solar panel fitting. Because of the way his brother’s company worked in regards to eco-energy, Ben later discovered that he needed an independent company that he could trust to monitor their work and conduct EPC’s. Tech Surveys was born, and Mick was the best person to head the company.
“It was going to be an independent company but they needed somebody to be a director – that was me, and I didn’t even know!” When Ben’s company went bust in 2014 due to lack of funding, Mick received a phone call from his brother saying he had no more work for him and he told Mick, “You are Tech Surveys now, it’s all yours!”
Mick was using his earnings to pay back previous debts so he didn’t have the funds for a business start-up. Instead, he got the company off the ground by knocking on doors, letting people know that Tech Surveys exists.
His research into his new business found a gap in the market – Legionella risk assessments. Legionnaire’s disease is a very dangerous form of pneumonia caused by bacteria and it can kill a vulnerable person, yet many people are unaware of what it is and how it occurs. The bacteria are caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water, and older homes are more likely to be at risk due to dated or more complex water systems.
Mick fills us in – “If your shower head or tap heads are dirty, they become a breeding site for Legionella. If you’re a smoker, have asthma, heart problems, are over the age of 45, male or have had major surgery you are more susceptible to the disease. This is why when you come back from a holiday, it’s a good idea to run your taps and shower for a while to clean out the water pipes.” If Mick goes into a property and finds a Legionella risk, he is able to give the tenant or homeowner recommendations on how to avoid it. “People need to be educated on it as it’s a very serious issue.”
Recently, Mick went to a property to carry out a Legionella risk assessment and was told that the baby living there was ill. While carrying out his assessment, Mick found that the shower head and hose were corroding and he informed the tenants on the risks it posed. The mother took her baby to the doctor and it turned out that the baby had the early stages of Legionnaire’s disease. The baby could have died had she not been treated thanks to Mick being able to identify the risk, and the problems in the home were sorted right away and the baby made a full recovery.
“People need to be educated about both Legionella assessments and EPC’s as they’re important issues,” Mick explains. “Landlords cannot rent a property or evict a tenant from the property if there’s no EPC. To sell your property you also need one. We’re trying to educate people that you don’t need to use the estate agents for it, you can get it a lot cheaper. Some estate agents charge £100 to £150, whereas my domestic EPC rates start from just £39.99. Legionella assessments are just £60 each.”
Mick and Jasmine now work as a team. Mick conducts the EPC’s and Legionella risk assessments and Jasmine answers the phone, books the jobs in and organises the diary. Moving forward, Mick would like to focus more on commercial EPC’s. Staying positive, working hard and never being afraid of trying new things – these are the values this man has stood by over the years and still stands by today. If you are a home owner, rent a property or are a landlord and you would like to find out more information on the importance of EPC’s and Legionella risk assessments, contact Mick Quick.
Call us: 01752 936236 or 07710004669