If you like gambling you’ll love shopping at Bunnings. Some staff are brilliant and very knowledgible – others are far worse than useless giving completely wrong advice (“a four stroke mower has four cylanders and a two stroke mower has two cylanders.” Just nonsense!)
The lottery is finding the good guys and dodging the idiots.
So here’s my advice.
1. Do a GOOGLE search including the word Bunnings. (Don’t search within the Bunnings site because its rubbish at searching.)
2. Find what you want online, print it off and take it to the store.
3. Interestingly, not all stores carry all Bunnings products, so it may not be there – but no one really knows! DO NOT believe the first staffy that tells you they don’t have one. Ask more than one person until you exhaust the possibilities or yourself. Mid week or early evenings are best for this. Forget weekend visits.
NOTE: I followed my advice the other day looking for a plaster-sanding-tool, I’d found on the Bunnings site. Team member 1 said “Dunno, try tools”, Team member 2 (in tools) said “No way. It was an online order item.” I’ve never heard of online orders despite searching the Bunnings Website and shopping there every second day for over two years. Team member 3 suggested we wander over to the plastering section and voila! There it was. All up, about 45 minutes and 3 team members to track down a tool advertised by Bunnings on their website!
1.Why can’t the Bunnings website tell me what items are at what stores?
2. Why can’t a page printed from the website be checked at store to see where it is?
3. Why do Bunnings train their staff to be more knowledgable about the products on the shelves?
It's my fault (and all those shoppers like me). We want low prices and a wide range of products. We grizzle about terrible service but keep on spending. There WERE plenty of Hardware stores with great service (but higher prices) and guess what? Most have closed down. Bunnings NEVER have to close down a store; they just keep opening new ones.
PS. If you have a paint or handyman problem click here and I'd be happy to help.
I was working at a clients place in Mosman when a plumber pulled up. Without even looking at the job he had to do, he grabbed two wrenches and a rag and dashed inside.
I looked down at the tools I had spread around me. It looked like an explosion at a Bunnings.
Being a handyman has a tremendous variety of work, which is why I like the trade so much. BUT each type of job has a required range of tools: woodworking tools, painting tools, plastering tools, tiling tools etc. As a result, handymen need many more tools than a regular specialist tradesman.
So when my quote comes to you please bear in mind, a lot of that money goes into overheads ... such as tools.
PS. If you have a painter or handyman with ALL the gear click here and I'd be happy to help.
I spent part of the holidays with my cousin Rob, who manages people, materials and systems at New Zealand’s largest bank. He likes to cut to the chase. So when the conversation turned to my handyman business being so busy Rob had the reason.
“You DON'T act like a tradesman, he said. I don’t mean the skill or craft which most tradies are OK at. I mean the stuff that really anoys people.”
This is how Rob found most tradies.
They can’t manage a calandar – how long will a job take?
They can’t manage a watch – when will they turn up?
They can’t manage a calculator – how much will the job cost?
And they can’t communicate – what’s going on and why?
“Your Handyman work is fine and that’s a given. But it’s these four common “trade-weaknesses” that make you different and keep people coming back.”
I've never really thought about it that way but, maybe Rob has a point.
I’ve just been alerted to a possible handyman job from an online job registry.
A guy wants a handyman to renovate a bathroom ... completely ... in 7 days. It will need demolition, full waterproofing, full tiling, carpentry and plumbing.
Not counting demolition, that's 4 skilled trades – one of which (plumbing) is illegal to carry out by anyone but a fully licensed plumber.
We handymen pride ourselves in having a wide skill set, but this is ridiculous! A big part of being a Mosman handyman in is knowing when to say NO. I tried to give this guy my opinion but I think I have to pay to reply!
Maybe he thinks he’ll save money. He won’t. A good handyman will tell our friend to use specialist tradesmen. A bad handyman will have a go and do a very bad job.
I hope he goes for the former.
(PS. If this sounds like you and your name is Luke I’m talking to you)
Most home owners know that grout goes between tiles on a wall.
But did you know that where the tiles meet a bath, sink, bench or even the corner of the bathroom silicone should be used?
Because silicone is very flexible and grout is not. So when a house moves a bit or the bath expands a bit - the grout falls out and dirt moves in.
Making a good silicone join is harder than squirting goop along the join. It's very sticky stuff and very hard to remove.
The photo above shows the masking that is needed before the silicone goes on. And masking is the slow part.
But fear not! I've been using masking tape since I painted a car at age 17 ... and I've gotten a lot better at it!
If your bathroom or kitchen has unsightly and unhygienic corners let's see what HomeRite Handyman can do to clean it up ... with silicone.
PS. FYI Caulk (pronounced 'cork' in Australia) is any 'toothpaste like' filler that comes in a tube. Silicone is one kind of many caulks.
PPS. If you have a silicone or painting problem click here and I'd be happy to help.
I’ve just come from quoting at a restaurant. The owner needed some tiling done. He had a large sheet of ‘tile’ that needed to be cut neatly into 8 correctly sized new tiles, which would then be glued over the place where old tiles had fallen off. This, like most Handyman jobs, required time, tools and knowledge.
He must have told me 5 times how quick and easy the job would be, forgetting that I had to effectively 'build' 8 tiles. Maybe he thought he could hypnotize me into agreeing, so I would give a low quote.
After years of practice I have a general idea of how long most jobs should take ... but I'm often wrong. 'Unforeseen circumstances' crop up a lot. And because I give a fixed written quote (rather than an hourly rate) my clients don't have to worry about me taking a bit longer.
Not surprisingly my quote didn't fit into the restaurant owners fantasy time scale so we parted ways.
But I’ve kept his number in case I ever need to tell my mechanic or dentist or accountant how long they should take to do their jobs.
I was having coffee with my wife in a café that had recently opened near our home. The coffee was very good BUT …
… I felt like I was in the Sienfeld ‘Soup Nazi’ episode. The owner of the café was making great coffee but in a ‘busy, busy, get moving, don’t interrupt me, I’m an expert’ sort of way. I even heard him lecturing some poor guy about how he should place his order next time!
And that reminded me of the way some Handymen and tradesmen operate. Technical skill alone is not enough. It’s only half the job. The other half is client service.
Clients EXPECT technical skill , but they also LIKE service. Little things like turning up on time, fixing mistakes quickly, cleaning up, respect, listening, politeness … In fact many people would rather have a slightly less polished job as long as they are respected and treated politely.
I wonder if the coffee guy knew that we wouldn’t be returning? Probably not. He would be too busy bossing his customers around to notice.
Q: How can you find the best handyman for your needs?
A: 1. Check references, either personal or on the Handyman’s website.
2. Check his website. If a 5 year old can make one for free why not your Handyman (or his 5 year old)?
3. Meet the Handyman and talk. Most of us can decide within a few minutes if we are happy to have this person in our home ... or if we have a niggling doubt.
4. If you have a niggling doubt find someone else.
5. Make sure the handyman is comfortable with the jobs you want done. Few of us are experts at everything. A good Handyman will tell you what he can AND can't do.
I’ve just come from a client who was ‘lavish in her praise” as Dale Carnegie would say. It wasn’t my work, or my costs, or my service that this lady appreciated so much. It was simply that I’d turned up when I said I would. That’s it. I said I’ll be there at 9 and I turned up as promised at 9.
Apparently this is such a rare thing these days, that it deserves applause!
Maybe rather than spending millions on consultants and marketing service businesses could just do what they promise.
And on that note I will now call Telstra for the third ... no fourth time.
The other day I was asked to assemble several pieces of flat pack furniture.
My client had ordered it all online and booked delivery in time for me to swoop in and do my thing.
The delivery was a disaster (I'll write about that another time). But eventually 'most' of the boxes arrived.
Here's what I found:
1. Although the online furniture company presented itself as a single point of contact, each piece of flat pack furniture came from a different manufacturer. So ...
2. Each piece of flat pack furniture was made with WILDLY different standards of quality. One peice was quite good. And one had some fasteners that were faulty - that is, they couldn't even get their screws right!
3. ALL of the flat pack furniture had poor instructions. I had to guess a lot. An inexperienced person could have really stuffed up.
Which brings us to Ikea. Their fasteners and panels are always correct and their instructions are idiot proof (if you pay attention). BUT you can't buy Ikea online AND they choose to outsource delivery to a courier company that has received many bad reviews:
So what's a girl to do?
1. If you want flat pack, Ikea is very good. Everyone else is a lottery - may be good - may be bad.
2. Avoid delivery if at all possible. You stand a very good chance of being very frustrated. Better value to rent a ute or bribe a friend.
3. Factor in the cost of professional assembly by, say, me. (PS. I charge less for Ikea assembly)
You are welcome to use my blog posts - in their entirety or as "quotes".