Be a Chimney Sweep
By Eric Hammer
Flickr Photo by George
Anyone who saw Marry Poppins as a child or who saw the modern
Broadway version has likely wondered what life would be like
to take the job of Bert, the chimney sweep. However, few people
will actually go into this rather unusual profession since it's
no longer such a popular job. After all, in order to become a
chimney sweep, one must find enough homes with fireplaces to
actually land work in the field.
However, for those few who do become chimney sweeps, the handful
of people who insist on a real, wood burning fireplace will always
be in need of your services since an unswept chimney is considered
to be a fire hazard. In fact, it was estimated in Great Britain
that as many as 138 deaths from 1996 to 2008 could be directly
attributed to home owners failing to hire a professional chimney
sweep to ensure that their chimneys were safe.
On the other hand, those who think that Bert had a very dirty
job are both right and wrong. They are right that at the time
that Mary Poppins was made, a chimney sweep had a very dirty
job. However, today with modern tools, the job is considered
much cleaner, though still somewhat dangerous.
How Much Can You Make?
According to Salary.com, the average chimney sweep makes about
$18,000 per year. However this amount can vary greatly depending
on where in the country you are located and how aggressive you
are about pursuing business (most chimney sweeps are self employed).
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
As noted above, the days of the bristle brush are long gone,
replaced by modern blower equipment which makes being a chimney
sweep much less of a dirty job. On the other hand, the job of
the chimney sweep is still quite dangerous since you do need
to climb onto rooftops and drag along quite a bit of equipment
in order to do the job.
You also need to know more than just how to sweep the chimney.
You also need to be able to inspect the chimney and recommend
and often carry out repairs as needed and you of course must
be able to take proper safety precautions to ensure that you
don't cause smoke damage to the home.
Qualifications / Requirements
Some states will require licensure from a chimney sweep while
all chimney sweeps will need to learn how to use the equipment
properly. In most cases, there is no formal training though.
Most training is on the job.
Start by contacting local chimney sweeps in the area and asking
if you can apprentice under them. This is likely the best way
to learn the business as there are no formal schools available
to teach you how to become a chimney sweep.
Check out this helpful resource to learn more about becoming
a chimney sweep:
of Master Sweepers - While it is a British rather than an
American organization, the Guild of Master Sweepers is still
a great place to start learning about becoming a chimney sweep.
And of course, for British readers, this is the perfect place