Barbara Corr talks to Ian Marson who recently moved his business of carpenters, painters, plumbers, plasterers and electricians from Soho to Fitzrovia.Barbara Corr: Are you glad you moved from Soho to Fitzrovia? Ian Marson: Definitely. People are calmer here and seem more permanent. In Soho a lot of people are passing through. Also we were on a top floor in Soho whereas here on the corner of Goodge Place we are on the ground floor with shop windows so we have a street presence.
BC: So what do you do?
IM: We do building maintenance in Fitzrovia and Soho. We’ve got sixteen full time carpenters, painters, plumbers, plasterers, electricians etc. In emergencies we can do same day plumbing or glazing. We charge a minimum of £55 per hour depending on the trade for a one off job – otherwise we are flexible. We have a connection with two flooring companies. Also if there’s a job we can’t do, we know someone who can.
BC: Emergency plumbing, that’s good. Water gushing out of the wrong place can be so scary. But is parking round here difficult for you?
IM: No, we’re happy with it. Some of us go to jobs on bikes – we don’t use the vans when we don’t need to. We got one job because the client saw one of the lads turn up to a job on a bike.
BC: So what’s your favourite sort of job?
IM: It would be a small job in a small to medium sized office where we can build a relationship with the client. For instance we went to one office just to install a new entrance doormat and this led to us building a complete film studio for them. I like repeat business. I’m happy when a client comes back to us.
BC: And what sort of clients do you have?
IM: We work for three letting agents. I’d say sixty per cent of our work is for businesses in Fitzrovia and Soho and ten per cent is for owner occupiers. We do all the maintenance across the country for l’Occitane – you know, the French perfume company. A lot of our work in Soho is for the gay community – bars, clubs and so on. Maybe it’s the pink stripe in our logo but we have a good relationship with them.
BC: What is the funniest thing MPL have been asked to do?
IM: We were asked to fit two meeting chairs in a room – however, due to limited space we needed to hang the chairs from the ceiling by way of chains – giving the room a more “quirky look”.
MPL Maintenance, 15 Goodge Place, London W1T 4SQ. Tel: 020 7998 3137