All-Women Plumbing Company Teaches Female Homeowners How to Make Minor Repairs

Monthly courses include how to change bathroom faucets and unclog toilets.
All-Women Plumbing Company Teaches Female Homeowners How to Make Minor Repairs
Tammy Buchanan, co-owner of Small Jobs Plumbing in Canada, is teaching female homeowners how to fix common plumbing issues. (Photo courtesy CBC Nova Scotia)

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An all-women plumbing company in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada, is offering female homeowners courses in how to fix common plumbing issues so they don’t have to rely on professionals for help.

Small Jobs Plumbing owner Tammy Buchanan and her business partner, Sherri Lee, are offering six, 2-hour courses, beginning in May. The first course will cover how to replace a bathroom faucet and how to maintain a clear basin drain. 

"We're the only women-owned and operated plumbing company on Canada's East Coast and one of only three in Canada," says Lee, who handles the company’s marketing and public relations and came up with the idea for the courses after noticing more single women are buying houses.

“Being a single person and owning a home is expensive. Both Tammy and I had been in that position,” she says.

“Historically, people associate trade-related jobs to men and we don’t think that should be the case anymore. A lot of these skills aren’t difficult to learn and only require simple tools.”

An analysis from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed an increase in the number of women who live alone in their own home between 2006 and 2011. The number of single mothers who are homeowners also grew, according to CBC News Nova Scotia.     

Lee hopes the repair courses will help support women who feel house-poor and want to save money by doing their own repairs.

The monthly Home Plumbing Repair Courses for Women cost about $50. Each class is open to 10 students.

"This is a hands-on course," says Lee, who received 68 inquiries in April about the classes. "We have three stations set up for participants to actually practice removing an old faucet and reinstall a new one."

Other classes include how to replace a toilet flapper, how to unclog a bathtub drain, how to maintain a hot water heater for longer life, how to unclog a toilet and general home plumbing maintenance tips, including inspecting for leaks, exercising shutoff valves and testing the sump pump.

While the classes are open to anyone, they are designed for women homeowners, Lee says.

Every cent counts

“They don’t have to hire a plumber to come in and charge them an hour’s wage for something that could potentially take 10 minutes to fix,” says Buchanan, a Red Seal certified plumber.

She believes every cent counts.

“I feel, for 15 years of my life, I just made ends meet and I know a lot of people in the Maritimes are in that position,” Buchanan says. “It was a motivator for me to get a little ahead by opening the business and getting to help out.”

Kelli Skinner, who owns a house that is about 20 years old, says it’s less intimidating to be trained by another woman.

“As a homeowner, I think especially when you have children or if you are an elderly person, you might feel more comfortable having a female technician come into your home as opposed to a male,” she says.

Skinner is looking forward to being able to do minor repairs on her own.

“I think the opportunity to be in a classroom with other women who are interested would be a lot of laughs,” she says. “We should let people know that we can do this too. It is not rocket science.”



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