Electrician Mandy Reynolds is a bit of a bright spark – she’s just won a top business award for the second time in three years.
The 55-year-old, from Heeley, has been named the region’s best local trader by website Which? Local – based on feedback from her customers.
She won the same accolade in 2011 and went on then to win the national title of Business of the Year.
Mandy said: “I was gobsmacked to win two years ago and I am utterly thrilled to have won again. I have some wonderful customers, who have taken their time to review my business on the website, so it is they I have to thank.”
Mandy is one of a select few – it’s estimated that less than one per cent of electricians in the UK are women.
“Women are smart – they’ll choose a career at which they can really succeed,” she said.
“And this is a very physical job, you have to lift floorboards and shift stones, so that is an issue – you do need to keep fit. But I don’t think there’s discrimination at work here.
“After all if a client doesn’t want to employ a woman then they don’t ring you in the first place – so there’s no way of knowing if I’d be more successful if I was a man.
“I think I do bring female attributes to the job. We tend to be painstaking, tidier and we show empathy with the customer. And I do get a lot of repeat business.”
Mandy set up her company Mand Made in 2006 after quitting a career in the financial services industry.
She found a base at an electrical and hardware shop in Totley, which is run by her husband Paul.
“I had no experience, not even remotely, but I wanted to find a service that would always be in demand, perhaps something to do with homes. Passing the exams only takes a couple of months – it’s then about getting known through word of mouth.”
Mandy’s business was still in its infancy when the recession struck in 2008.
“In a way I’ve never known anything but tough times and I’ve still managed to make a go of it. I do enjoy being my own boss and building the company, and I now have a young woman who is doing her training with me,” Mandy said.
“There’s a different sort of stress to that which I experienced before, but now I’m doing it for me, not for someone else where the best I could hope for was a bonus. Now it’s all about seeing the business flourish.”