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Spanner in the works

Philippa Wood interviews Chris Tomlinson a new service for the City Centre, providing plumbing, electrical and general maintenance services.

Published on May 30th 2007.

Spanner in the works

The city centre service has been launched in response to many city dwellers finding it difficult to get hold of a reliable electrician or plumber. The offering has been extended to include a range of handyman services due to city professionals not having the time to do jobs themselves.

Country & Town is the idea of Chris Tomlinson, who was the joint founder of Manchester Food and Drink Festival, now in its tenth year, and until recently was the marketing director of a financial services group. He still has a seat on the board but has decided to roll-up his sleeves and do a proper days work instead.

“The concept for Country & Town came about whilst in the company of friends who live in the city centre,” said Chris Tomlinson. “Listening to the problems they were having getting hold of a plumber and then hearing them complain about not having the time to build some flat pack furniture, made me realise that there was a gap in the market. People are too busy with work and their social lives to do the small jobs and are unsure where to turn when it comes to the more technical tasks.”

Country & Town aims to have workers with a range of skills from a maintenance person with the ability to put up shelves, to plumbers and electricians able to install systems and issue certificates inline with building regulations on completion of work. The philosophy behind the brand is that the company will do whatever they can to get the clients job done and if they are unable to do the job themselves they will take steps to appoint a contractor with the necessary skills, so that all the client needs to do is contact Country & Town once by telephone or email.

As this is a change in direction for founder Chris Tomlinson he has spent months training and is now a qualified plumber and electrician.

“I wanted to become qualified so that I could engage myself in the day to day business and have a real understanding of clients’ requirements. I have spent a lot of time in the classroom, on site and working with skilled trades people and now enjoy the practical side of installing and commissioning systems,” says Chris, “This knowledge is invaluable when relaying information between the client and the contractor and now that I have the skills I spend little time in the office and most of the day on the job with my tool box.”

Country & Town is different to many service providers as they welcome the small jobs.

“We look on the small jobs as a way to prove ourselves,” says Chris, “These small jobs are an opportunity to meet the client, if they are impressed with our work, they will contact us when they need a new bathroom or kitchen fitting.”

Country & Town provides services to both domestic and commercial clients and offers a range of booking options. These include fixed price quotes, ‘pay by the hour’ for small jobs and day rates where the client has a number of tasks to do in one day.

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