How Todd turned plumbing and gas into fame and fortune
- British plumber and gas engineer Todd Glister has won fame on social media for the precision of his pipework
- Todd started his own business in 2008, just before the global recession hit, aged just 18
- Todd says Steel Blue work boots are ridiculously comfortable and the zip is “a game changer”.
Todd Glister was one of those kids who hated being stuck at school, sitting behind a desk.
“I just wanted to use my hands and get dirty and get to work,” he said. “So, I did. My Dad is a builder so, when I was about 15, I went out and started giving the different trades a hand—with the tradies my Dad was using. I went and helped the plasterer; I went and helped the electrician. Then, I went and helped the plumber and I absolutely loved it. It was by far the most challenging.”
As soon as he had sat his last secondary school exam, Todd started his plumbing apprenticeship.
Now not just a plumber but a gas engineer and a multi-qualified tradesman, a social media influencer, radio DJ and a YouTube star, Todd has always been a man in a hurry. The London-based tradie started his own business, Glister Services, right out of his apprenticeship.
“My Dad told me to go self-employed,” he said. “I said I couldn’t do that as I was only 18, but he said he’d give me a bit of work and helped me get subcontracting work with other plumbers. So, I’ve had my own business since 2008.”
Going out on his own
That was a challenging year to start any business, with the global recession hitting the economy, including house building, hard.
“The recession probably did me a favor because it meant you had to go in cheaper to win the work and that helped me build up a client base of people who were willing to give a young guy a go while saving themselves money.”
Todd soon realized there was good money in boilers and heating systems and added to his qualifications. He also began doing entire kitchen and bathroom renovations, doing most of the work himself but bringing in other trades as needed.
“I also started to work out that I’m fussier than a lot of other builders and that I want a better job done,” he said. “As the plumber you go into a job first and then last and you’re relying on the people in between not to mess things up for you. I know how I want things done. So, I thought, actually, I can just take care of it myself and oversee the whole job.”
Becoming a social media superstar
Todd began sharing his work on social media and now has more than 17,000 followers on Instagram, where his posts regularly include complicated heating system installations with incredibly precise and ordered copper pipe set-ups.
“The whole reason I got into social media was because I did take the time and care on these jobs and I’d open the door, give the grand reveal, and then the customer wouldn’t know any different. They’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, thanks for that, it’s lovely’. And I’m like, ‘No, that’s a work of art! I put my heart into that’.
“So, when I found social media and there were other plumbers out there and you put it up and they’re like, ‘Oh, my god, that’s incredible. I can see what you’ve done there”. I’m like, “Yes, thank you! This is what I was after.”
Todd’s social media profile, and his gregarious personality, led to him being invited to co-host a weekly show on Fix Radio—a digital radio station aimed at builders—alongside Andy Cam. The show, which goes out for an hour on Wednesdays across the UK, was recently nominated for Best New Show at the ARIAS, which are billed as “the Oscars of UK radio and audio”.
“People think we must just talk about pipes and stuff, but there’s so much happening in the industry and really Andy and I just go in there and have a laugh,” Todd said. “We end up cracking up every week.”
View this post on Instagram
Why Todd chooses to wear Steel Blue boots
When he’s on site, Todd wears Steel Blue boots.
“It’s ridiculous how comfortable they are,” he said. “My feet feel so good at the end of the day. They’re like walking on mattresses. Plus they tick the box on the whole safety thing. Obviously, slipping in and out with the zip is a game changer. I’m going in and out of people’s houses every day and being able to slip them off quickly is just lovely.”
Todd loved them so much, he got his dad a pair.
“My Dad is the hardest man on the planet to please and he actually texted me the other day to say ‘these boots are lovely’. That’s the greatest compliment ever, coming from him.”
Head to your local Steel Blue distributor to discover work boots that are built for comfort, made for work.