Plumber and heating engineer George Drake reveals why he still makes the time to visit trade exhibitions such as PHEX.

But actually, the very fact that we are having to fight harder for jobs and find other revenue streams means it is more important than ever to make the effort and attend some of the big shows. Location is definitely key and I only tend to attend the PHEX Manchester exhibition as it is the biggest show near to where I am based – I can get there in 1.5 hours leaving me plenty of time to tour the stands.

To me, exhibitions are the one chance to get face to face with not only the products but the suppliers themselves. Like many installers, I often attend events at different merchants where a supplier is there to promote a new product, but that is one individual in a crowded room with a large number of installers. At an event like PHEX I am guaranteed time with the supplier on a one-to-one basis – it gives me a chance to ask any questions I need answered and get a real understanding of the product.

You can always find an excuse for why not to do something, but I can hand on heart say that for some things you just need to make the time, and this is one of those cases.

The first time I ever saw the MagnaClean from Adey Professional Heating Solutions was at an exhibition. I remember being very sceptical about it – how could one product possibly do everything they were claiming it would? But I then saw an enormous fish tank on the stand – it immediately grabbed my attention. One of the men on the stand connected the MagnaClean to the tank and I have never seen something clean so quickly. I now fit MagnaClean with 99% of my Baxi boiler installations. It just shows – demonstration is everything.

The next PHEX exhibition will be held at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium in London on 14 and 15 November. To register online for your free ticket, and be in with a chance to win £1,000-worth of holiday vouchers, click here.