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Andrew Mitchell

How It All Began

The story so far ...

Posted on: 25/07/2012   By: Andrew Mitchell

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, it was December 1981 and the snow was falling. This was the indirect start date of my current business. What does that mean? Well indirectly - that's when FTS started although not in its current form but as a mobile disco ...

when I started out as a dj we still used vinyl

when I started out as a dj we still used vinyl

Yes, almost 31 years ago, I started my life as a disc jockey who then turned professional. Back then we used those round things called records - made of vinyl - and no they weren't 78's, they were either 45's or 33's. Maybe some of you may remember 78's but not me! I'm not that old but I do still have a couple of them and in mint condition.

So you may be wondering how I got to where I am now from being a professional disc jockey who spent time out in various Spanish resorts spinning the discs and seeing in the millennium with a very large four figure cheque in my hand.

Well let me explain, back then there was no such thing as Health and Safety - well not in its current form. We never had to worry about portable appliance testing however over the years things changed. About 15 years ago I had to start getting my equipment PAT tested. Back then there were not many people who were qualified in this process so it was expensive, but at least you were confident that your equipment was safe and the job was done right.

I shall never forget the first time when I was told there were at least 20 fuse changes needed on my equipment as I didn't understand the danger. It has always panicked me to think that I could have been killed by a piece of disco equipment that had the wrong fuse fitted! What makes it worse is that even today manufacturers still fit the wrong rating fuses so as a testing company we have to change fuses almost daily on every business that we attend.

For the next few years I had my equipment annually tested by the same qualified company. I never worried about the price and having one of the largest mobile disco shows in the Thames Valley, it used to cost me a fortune. In terms of a business expense it was not necessarily the cheapest option but was certainly the correct option.

I still remember the days when I had to break my back carrying box loads of vinyl discs but with the introduction of CD's I was able to take 30,000 tracks to each venue. Now you can take 200,000 tracks on an iPod to each function. There is one downside to the laptop/iPod DJ - the lack of ability to understand your audience - and that is the difference between a professional and Laptop DJ.

Nowadays it's a shame as there are too many Laptop DJ's offering their services and all they can do is plug in the iPod and let it shuffle tracks. Professionals are able to read the crowd and play the music both for the function and those on the dance floor, but that's another story. Hiring a professional means you might just have to pay a little more but the experience will be 10 times better.

Now to reduce my business expenses I attended courses and passed various exams and finally I was qualified to carry out In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment, which was the first stage of building my business. Over the next few years I worked for a national testing company and worked my way to the position of Customer Service Manager, managing 30 staff. I still continued to be a DJ, but in a part-time capacity, until 2010 when I retired after almost 30 years having worked with various entertainers, businesses and clients. With this service background and my management qualifications, I was confident in my abilities to run my own PAT testing business.

My experience within the music industry stood me in good stead as a specialist in that area and even today I can test all the various types of equipment used within the industry - something not all PAT testing companies can do. I've even tried the "secret shopper" trick and asked a few companies about certain types of equipment and plugs but was shocked to find that even though they called themselves "specialist" they hadn't a clue what I was talking about. Some companies today do not even understand what is required when they are tasked with 110v and 400v equipment.

So spring forward to 2006 and FTS was incorporated and now we are growing by providing a professional service within Health and Safety testing including a department for DJ's, entertainers and bands. So if you are a DJ, Entertainer or part of a band have you been tested?

PAT testing really needs to be carried out by professionals, especially when it comes to the safety of electrical equipment, so for all your testing needs call me on +44 (0) 800 118 2404 or click here to ping me an email.

Until next time ...


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More about Andrew Mitchell ...


I have been electrical safety testing for over eight years and have worked for various police forces, small and large business clients even the Royal Household and more recently the Forensic Science Services and the Fire Service.


+44 (0) 800 118 2404


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