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)
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.
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.
New Years resolutions or personal commitments? Whatever. I've been bugged by late and sloppy tradesmen for years so I've resolved to be different with HomeRite Handyman Services. Here's how ...
1. I will arrange an exact time (not a range) to visit you.
2. I will arrive on time.
3. If I am delayed I will contact you.
4. I will take the time to get a clear understanding of your job and discuss options with you.
5. I will give you a fixed, written quote.
6. At the end of each day I will clean up after myself.
7. At the end of each day I will tell you of my progress.
8. If anything changes I will tell you and discuss options.
9. I will be respectful of you, your family, pets, neighbours and property.
10. I will complete the jobs as quoted even if this takes me longer than expected.
1. He’s the handyman who promises the world.
2. He's the handyman who says ‘don’t worry Love’ a lot.
3. He's the handyman who doesn’t listen.
4. He's the handyman who doesn’t look.
5. He's the handyman who can't give you a fixed quote.
6. He's the handyman who is very cheap.
7. He's the handyman who can’t provide any references.
8. He's the handyman who makes you feel uncomfortable.
9. Like this unexpected extra point, he charges a bit extra because you live in Mosman or the Lower North Shore.
As a way of ‘finding’ a Handyman online is fine. But any Handyman who quotes without seeing your job has to be a worry.
A lot of websites effectively get tradesmen to enter a bidding war assuming cheapest is best.
I once hired a labourer for $10 per hour. Bargain, I thought. Until he turned up and only had the use of one arm! True story.
My experience is that you usually get what you pay for.
When people ask me this I tell; them I don’t have one.
What you really want to know is how much your job will cost to do/fix.
I once hired an electrician who had the cheapest hourly rate in Mosman. Guess what? He was also the slowest in Mosman … and not very good either. I spent the whole time looking at my watch.
It's far better to get me (or any tradie) to quote upfront in writing. That way you know exactly what the job will cost and you can say yes or no, then relax.
You are welcome to use my blog posts - in their entirety or as "quotes".