Tradesman opens up to Shelagh Fogarty about 'harder and harder' work routine

11 May 2022, 16:06 | Updated: 11 May 2022, 16:17

An air conditioning engineer has told Shelagh Fogarty his work routine is getting "harder and harder".
An air conditioning engineer has told Shelagh Fogarty his work routine is getting "harder and harder". Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Sam Sholli

A tradesman has told Shelagh Fogarty his work routine is getting "harder and harder".

Richard in Portsmouth, who is an air-conditioning engineer, told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty that "everything is a struggle now" before opening up about the financial cost to him of working in London while living in Portsmouth.

He explained that the Congestion Charge, ULEZ, diesel and parking altogether cost him £800-a-week.

Richard told Shelagh: "I'm an air-conditioning engineer. And you know - it's tough, it's hard.

"You know, I'm even to a point now where I purposely don't pay for parking to risk getting a ticket because I might not get one."

Richard added: "I mean, I'm actually friends with the traffic wardens now on Tottenham Court Road oddly enough because...I collect parking tickets for fun...because it's £25-a-day cheaper than paying for parking."

He went to explain: "You need your tools on your van. You know, there will be many, many people in my position...And need your tools on your van to get to work, because you don't know what you're going to need.

"Building sites these days aren't really safe enough to leave your tools on site. You know, you want to take your tools home with you every night, because that's how you earn your money."

In response to being asked by Shelagh how long his drive from Portsmouth to London takes, Richard said: "Well, as a rule, I get up at 4.30AM and I'm on the road at 5AM and I get to London for 7AM. I then do my day's work, starting from 8AM and then I leave London say 4PM or 5PM in the afternoon."

"Blimey," said Shelagh in response.

Richard continued: "And I'll be home [at] 6PM or 7PM, just in time to put the kids to bed, have some dinner and do it again the next day."

"That's hard work," said Shelagh.

Richard also said: "This has been my normal day for 20 years...And it's hard. It's getting harder and harder. And you know, in the building industry it's not uncommon for people not to get paid. You know, it happens more often than you think."

He went on to tell Shelagh that his margin as a tradesman is being "squeezed" year on year.

He also told Shelagh: "Well, once I get in and put the kids to bed and have my dinner - I then jump on the computer and do my invoicing and you know reply and do quotes to other people, prospective clients that I want to do work with.

"So although it's a long day. It's an even longer day once you wrap it all up."

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