Nova Scotia

Female-owned Small Jobs Plumbing aims to help women do their own repairs

The two women behind Lower Sackville's Small Jobs Plumbing are launching courses that teach women the skills to fix common plumbing issues and save money.

Tammy Buchanan and Sherri Lee want to help other women save money

Plumber Tammy Buchanan on the job. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

An all-women plumbing company in Lower Sackville is launching a course to teach female homeowners how to fix common plumbing issues so they don't have to rely on professionals for help.

The course is being run by Small Jobs Plumbing, which is owned by Tammy Buchanan and her business partner, Sherri Lee.  

Lee, who handles the company's marketing and public relations, came up with the idea for the course 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 said.

"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.    

Lee said she hopes the repair courses, which will cost each participant about $50, will help support women who feel house-poor and want to save money by doing their own repairs.

Every cent counts

The course will show how to fix common plumbing problems, such as changing bathroom faucets and unclogging toilets.

"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," said Buchanan.

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 said.

"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, said 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 said.

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 said. "We should let people know that we can do this too. It is not rocket science."

Buchanan and Lee are offering two courses for now. The first one is on May 1. The location has not yet been decided.


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