Charging ahead: Barry Nichols discusses making the move from self-employed electrician to EV installer with Plug Me In



After 20 years as a self-employed electrician, Barry Nichols was looking for new challenges, opportunities and job security. In 2022 he took a leap of faith and joined Plug Me In’s (PMIs) Electric Vehicle (EV) installation team. We caught up with him to find out how he was finding his new role and what it involves on a day-to-day basis. 

Charging ahead

Tell us about your decision to join PMI?
After 20 years of self-employment I fancied a new challenge and was attracted to the EV side as it’s really growing. Job security was a big factor and Plug Me In gets great reviews. Friends thought I’d really struggle to take on an employed role after working for myself for so long, but it’s been the best move for me.


What training did you receive and how was your experience?
Coming in as a Level 3 qualified electrician, I completed an initial two-week training programme at the company’s Training Academy in Ashton. The training was fantastic and the training centre is really well equipped. There were ten of us on the course and the lecturers were incredibly knowledgeable and made the training really simple and fun. I was then buddied up with a mentor for a couple of weeks whilst I learned on the job.


Describe your daily routine and your current role
I generally do one installation a day and we are contracted to work 8am – 5pm, and there’s an opportunity for over time. The people in head office who arrange our diaries are fantastic - they will always check if an appointment is ok with me before they put it in my diary. 


Do you work alone or in teams?
I work on the home installation side and we generally work on our own unless it’s a bigger job. But you never feel that you’re on your own. There’s always someone to chat to and I’ve made friends that I now socialise with through the job. I feel really well supported by my colleagues and senior colleagues and special mention must go to Daniel Rdzanek, Head of EV Operations, who originally hired me. The team are always on hand if I have a question and I can also rely on the technical helplines for support too. 


Are EV customers different to those your serviced before?
Yes. I’d say I have to be more patient with customers I’m installing EV chargers for. It’s very new technology and some are quite apprehensive. It’s important to walk them through the process and make sure they’re happy. I always leave them with my mobile number in case they have any questions, but 9 times out of 10 they don’t need to call. 


What advantages do you find in being employed rather than self employed?
There are loads of perks to being employed by PMI. It’s great to have my diary arranged for me and I love the fact that I don’t ever have to worry about re-stocking my van. We have an amazing stock management company who have keys to my van and every week they come and refill it with everything I’ve used from the consignment list. It means I never run out of equipment. They even take away old accessories and rubbish. It’s amazing!


How do you find the compensation and additional incentives at PMI? 
The pay is competitive, with additional perks like paid overtime. And I love the incentives and bonus schemes, like earning extra money for 5 star Trust Pilot reviews and our new refer a friend scheme.


Are there opportunities for career progression?
There are lots of opportunities and the company really supports employee development. The commercial EV side is growing so there’ll be opportunities there. I’m really looking forward to being a mentor this week and I’m going back to college so that I can complete a higher level qualification in electrical testing and inspection which will enable me to become a qualified supervisor. It’s a qualification that I didn’t have and PMI are giving me paid leave to complete it. 


Would you recommend PMI as an employer?
Absolutely. It’s a rapidly growing business and PMI are at the top of their game. We learnt more about the business’s plans the other week when the whole of the EV side came together for two days. It was a chance for all the installers to meet each other, which was brilliant. We also got to speak to supervisors, managers and directors, who all took a real interest in what we do, what we need and what we feel can be improved upon. We even had a chance to look at the new EV fleet and provide feedback to make sure the vans are fit for purpose. We also got to meet manufacturers and look at new products. If you’re looking for a dynamic, supportive, enjoyable job in an industry that’s growing at an incredible pace and that’s critical to future of our planet – then I couldn’t recommend PMI enough!



Ready to become a valued member of the Plug Me In family and contribute to creating a smarter, more energy-efficient Britain? Discover more about our exciting opportunities on our Calisen Group careers page today!