Eposide 17 – How to Choose a Handyman

Welcome to the rapid repair podcast hosted by Donna Green, featuring her favorite handyman and all-around repair expert. The amazing Phil green. Phil has over 35 years of experience in the home repair industry and Donna is a talented home decorating expert and loves to help you live both a happy and healthy lifestyle. You may hear grunting story or barking coming from the two Bulldogs in the studio. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the home of the highest rated handyman provider in the st Louis area. It is the rapid repair pro podcast.

Donna:
Good morning Phil. How are ya?

Phil:
Great. Donna, how are you today?

Donna:
Yes it is cold. It’s hard to believe it’s May. It’s May 10th and it feels like it is what March? Yes. I mean we had a freeze the other night. I have on a hoodie and I’m still cold, so yeah, I am ready for a serious spring. I don’t know about you. I mean I guess in all reality, I shouldn’t complain. It’s not freezing temps for the most part and the sun has been shining, but it would be nice to have some summer temps this next week.

Phil:
So what are we talking about today?

Donna:
Today I’m going to pick your brain on how to choose a handyman.

Phil:
Okay, sounds good.

Donna:
Yeah. So we’ve been in the business a long time and we know that not all contractors, handyman service providers are created equal.
Donna (01:34):
It’s true. And so there’s a lot of things that set different businesses apart. And so today we want to help our listeners know how to choose the right handyman. You hear horror stories of people choosing a contractor of any sorts and then they get left with unsatisfactory work. They’ve paid for things that the contractor didn’t deliver on or various other horror stories. And so we want to save our listeners that headache and heartache and give them some solid information on how to choose a good handyman.

Phil:
Sounds good.

Donna:
Yeah. And a lot of the advice we’re going to give today, will transfer over to other service providers as well.
Donna:
So it isn’t just handymen that fall into this, really any contractor can. For those of you that are watching this on YouTube or may be following us online, just so you know, Phil is sitting, I am standing, so I am not taller than Phil. He’s a large man. And so anyway, Phil, can you start us off with some things that people should maybe start with when seeking a handyman?

Phil:
Yes. Well, I think first have a good idea of what you’re wanting to have done. Then with that you can begin your search for someone who’s capable of doing the type of project you’re wanting done. So , if you’re looking for a handyman and you’re wanting a room addition built on your house, handyman is probably not the best choice.
Donna (03:12):
Oh sure, For that type of work.

Phil:
So understand what the scope of work you’re wanting done and then search for the appropriate contractor. The second thing that’s important is look for someone who has been around for a while and has a good track record. I understand that everybody has to start in business at some time, but understand the type of person you’re looking at and understand what their capabilities are and what their experience might be. You want to do your due diligence and know who you’re looking to hire and get estimates from.

Donna:
Sure. So we narrow it down and know that we need a handyman. This is for repair work, updating things, not big construction projects. So where should we start? I personally love the referral aspect, if I’ve been happy with the service provided, I’m going to share that information.
Donna:
So probably a good place to start would be with your family and friends and ask around, Hey, who do you know? Do you agree with that?

Phil:
Yes, that’s about right. So referrals from people who may have used others in the past is not a bad place to look. But just to understand, that is not the only thing you should do, because there are plenty of people who’ve gotten burned by someone’s referral. So, let’s just make sure you and I are on the same page here. Okay. This is a process. It’s not a one thing. It’s not one thing you do that ensures you have a good experience with your handyman. There’s a process of things and maybe you should check out.
Donna (04:54):
So to start with family and friends and ask, if they know anybody that does this sort of work and what’s been your experience? But then once you get a name like that, you don’t stop there. You don’t just take their word for it. There are lots of other things that we can do too. Research that person. Correct. Absolutely. I mean, you’d want to go online and check them out, see what kind of reviews they have from others and you’ll check the better business Bureau. Right. Let’s see if there’s been any complaints against them. You want to do a thorough check? See what kind of the reputation they have and don’t just rely on a Facebook recommendation or family recommendation. Right. Great. I really would say be careful particular about taking recommendations from family members because that can be a source of , some tough Thanksgiving dinners if you have a bad experience and a family member recommended a person.
Donna (05:49):
So you really want to make sure you check people out, even if a family member recommends them. Okay. So when you talk about reviews, whenever I look online at reviews, even on Amazon, you’ll have a great reviews and then all of a sudden this review this like, Whoa, it’s completely contrasting every other review. , what’s your thoughts on the review aspect as people are reviewing that? Because we know being in business that no matter what you do, sometimes people are gonna say they’ve not been treated properly. It’s what you’re looking for as a pattern. Okay. Things. So you’re right there. Yeah. Sometimes people just make a mistake and someone will write you a bad review. And in that case, you know, you’d want to know how it was handled, right? If you resolved situation or if you tried to resolve the situation.
Donna (06:42):
And sometimes people there are just nasty people out there that will write you a bad review, but you’re looking for a pattern. So if you see a lot of bad reviews, that’s a bad sign that maybe there’s a problem there. If you’re looking at, honestly, when you look online for reviews, most contractors, very few of them have more than 10 reviews, right? There’ll be a couple that have not a lot more than that. And then most of them will have 10 or fewer. So how important is that? Well, there’s two reasons why that happens. One reason is most contractors just don’t really care about reviews. so they’re not asking for them. They’re not beingproactive in getting reviews and other contractors it may be extremely important to him. At Rapid Repair Pro. It is highly important to us.
Donna (07:28):
We want to know how do you feel about the work we did and we love that feedback. Some contractors don’t care. So when you’re looking at a contractor and they have five reviews an one of them is bad, that’s a red flag because that’s one out of five, right? But you also want to when you look at reviews, you want to look at what was written. I mean some reviews, you can look at it and you can kind of get a sense as person’s probably a little bit psycho. So you want to kind of take them with a grain of salt. To some extent. I would look for things like in bad reviews, like red flags, like well they didn’t show up but they didn’t do the work or they broke up into my house or they kicked my dog.
Donna (08:13):
Yeah, I would definitely add more weight to those type of negative reviews. Okay. All right. What about interviewing various handymen? Should they, is that something that you would recommend to have a couple people come in? I know that you hears it’s always been a good t get at least three estimates on everything you want to have done. The problem with that, I don’t believe that serves you well as a consumer and the reason being, it puts you in a, in a mindset. I’m shopping for price, so you get three estimates. A lot of people won’t really take the time to do the due diligence on the people that they’re getting estimates from We’ll just get three estimates and I’ll pick the lowest one. Let’s set you up for a lot of heartache and headache sometimes.
Donna (09:03):
There’s an old saying that there’s three things. There’s price, there’s quality, and there’s um, no, I can’t even think of the third customer service, price, quality and service. You can only have two of the three [. Okay. You can’t get all three. So if you’re looking for cheapest price, you might get lucky and get quality service. You’re not going to get both. If you’re looking for the best quality, you’re not going to get the cheapest price probably. Right? Right. You’re looking for the best service. So just keep that in mind. And I would instead of requesting three people, I would first look for for one or two really good, right people. People are great reviews, people with a lot of reviews, people with a good track record. And then find someone you’re comfortable with, meet them, talk to them on the phone, get a feel for what kind of person they are personally, and then just get a request, a quote from them.
Donna (10:01):
if you think the price is high, then go to the next person. And see what price they quote.. I don’t think it’s necessary to waste a lot of time getting a bunch of quotes. Especially now if I was building a room addition, yeah, I’d interview a couple of contractors and get a feel for them and make sure there are great people and then I will get a couple quotes on that. But on smaller handyman repair jobs, I personally don’t think it’s worth your time. What about list of references? I guess with the reviews suffices is that it’s sufficient? Yeah. Cause they’re your real customers, right? Yeah. I mean most people nowadays are there. They’re not going to get, they’re not going to ask for personal references, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, you can ask for them.
Donna (10:41):
I wouldn’t rely too heavily on them. I mean, how do you really know this person that you’re calling as reference? Is that just a friend of the contractor that’s just give me whatever, so I would rely more on online reviews. Here’s a big one for me. Well, let me back up. The one thing I want to add to that, whenever we’re talking about interviewing different handyman or whether or not, uh, get three different bids in our radon service that we, the radon mitigation, that’s typically the mindset of our consumer is that they’re going to get a list of names and they’re going to get prices from all three. And that’s all fine and dandy, but we’re not the cheapest radon mitigator. We’re also not the most expensive But there’s a common theme that I hear from our customers that choose us is that, well, I chose you because you guys answer your phone.
Donna (11:28):
That’s a big thing too. If you cannot reach your contractor, they’re going to be a headache to you in that whole process. And so we make it a priority that we have dedicated people that answer our phones, whether it’s during business hours or after business hours. We have people that answer our phones all the time. And so even just picking up the phone and trying to reach contractors and determining how easy or hard they are to get ahold of, if you can’t get ahold of them to ask them to do work for you, how hard is it going to be to get ahold of them when they are doing work for you once they’ve got the job. because to me, contractors should be always hungry enough and eager enough to serve you that they’re going to pick up their phone and take care of you from day one.
Donna (12:08):
But if you can’t get ahold of them before you’ve hired them, you’re probably not going to be to get a hold of him after you’ve hired him. That blows my mind. I mean, why would you I want to deal with somebody who will, not return a call or, I mean, I understand handyman or single guys working in a truck. They’re busy. It’s hard to answer the phone, but Hey, there are companies out there for a hundred dollars a month, we’ll answer your phone and schedule appointments for you. So there’s really no excuse for not answering your phone and talking to customers. Right. How you operate a business. I totally agree. Here’s a big one that people need to no, about the contractor or the handyman that they choose.
Donna (12:50):
And is this kind of a, this is big deal to me personally, is are they properly insured and do they pay taxes? So are they a real business or are they a Chuck in a truck, as we call them, a Chuck and a truck is someone who hops along from job to job, sticks the cash in their pocket, doesn’t pay taxes, doesn’t have insurance, and leaves you the consumer at risk for everything. Now you call a handyman out there, he does some electrical work. Your house catches on fire. He’s not insured. Guess who pays for that? If he gets hurt and then suddenly you’re on it for all of his lost wages and medical bills because he didn’t have insurance. So I don’t think most people really take that into consideration. They don’t understand the risk that they take by hiring uninsured contractors.
Donna (13:36):
Right. So it’s really important that you make sure that the person who’s working in your home has general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. you can ask for and certificates of insurance to make sure you’re covered. And don’t just ask them for it . It has to come from their insurance. Absolutely. As an additional insured. Absolutely. So hear us on that. you want to make sure your contractors insured, but don’t get the certificate of insurance directly from them because, and here’s why. They can get a certificate of insurance today from their insurance company and hand it to you. And it could be the same certificate of insurance they’re handing out for the next six months, but they could have stopped paying on that four months ago.
Donna (14:24):
Right. But yet that certificate of insurance that they got six months ago does not reflect that. So make sure you get the certificate of insurance from their insurance company and that your name is on it to show that they are covered while in your home and please, please, please don’t put yourself at risk. That is one of those things where you get what you pay for. If you’re going to go with the cheapest guy, insurance isn’t free so they’ve got to cover those costs somewhere. So please, um, I can’t stress that enough. If something happens and say your house burns down or they get hurt or whatever and they’re not insured, you’re on the hook for it and good luck suing them. Right? Because they don’t have anything. Right. Right. They don’t have, these guys don’t have money to cover.
Donna (15:09):
That is also why you need to be careful if you’re getting three beds or two beds, what have you, that you are comparing the contractors that are at the same level and you don’t necessarily know that at that point. Just because they’re the cheapest. It doesn’t mean that they’re playing the same field as the other contractor. So those are just some words of caution. Remember, we’re doing this topic to save you some heartache and stress and we definitely hope to be able to do that. What about a contract? Do you think handyman should have contracts for the work they do? Well, legally in n Illinois anyway. Anytime you do work, that is over a thousand dollars you have to have it signed contract and that’s a state law in the state of Illinois.
Donna (15:53):
Anything less than that, you’re not required. I don’t think on a small repair jobs, a detailed written contract is really necessary. However, you should have something in writing about the details. You know what the scope of work is and what the price is. So when you get, when you talk about a detailed written contract, I mean I can go all the way of the everything that could possibly be involved in a construction project. You’re talking more like a remodeling job. Sure. But if you’re having a handyman replace some faucets where he’s going to put in a GFI outlet, he’s going to fix a hand rail or whatever. As long as you have something written that says I’m going to do a, B, C and D and I’m going to charge you this much, then that’s a good sign.
Donna (16:32):
That’s good enough. Okay. What about warranty to handyman typically provide warranty on the work they do? No, I would say typically don’t, but at Rapid Repair Pro we offer a one year warranty on all our work. Okay. All right. Good to know. That’s awesome. So what about a handyman that is hard to get on their schedule? Their schedule is really full. A good thing. Bad thing. What’s your take on the the handyman that has a really full schedule? Well that’s a sign that they’re, and demand and demand, they might be good, right? Little bit there busy and it’s hard to get on her schedule. Sometimes it’s worth waiting a little while for the right person, especially if you check them out. They got good reviews, people like them, the words out that they do good work. Her prices are reasonable.
Donna (17:20):
That’s a good sign. Yeah. Good. So as we were talking today, a story comes to mind of one of your consistent customers that calls you for various things. And I got to meet her lately or recently, which was a pleasure to get to meet her, but she was interviewing several contract handyman. Um, there are elderly, they need some help. They’ve all, they both have some health problems and so their home needed quite a bit of things. And so handyman number one showed up and well let’s just say,. Phil was not the cheapest. Where you the most expensive? I think. So he was not the cheapest, but his competition showed up and he smelled of alcohol and he had told her that he went to lunch and had a beer. So those little details are really important to pay attention to the vehicle.
Donna (18:09):
When they show up what’s their appearancd, how do they look, how professional are they and what do they do on their lunch break? I know I don’t want someone taking a lunch break and coming to my house after they’ve had a couple of adult beverages, and then coming back to work on my home. Oh, I don’t have a problem with somebody having adult beverages, but I don’t think it’s necessarily lunchtime and I don’t want you working on my house after you’ve had those. So that’s just astory sticks out in my mind thatshe shared that with me. So she chose Phil and she is happy that she chose Phil and they’ve been working consistently over there giving them peace of mind in their homes. So yeah, there’s a lot to pay attention to. Again, not all handymen are created equal and not all contractors in general are service providers.
Donna (18:50):
So please do your due diligence. Don’t regret taking the less expensive route over the safer route. And we would love to hear from you and have you interview us for potential handyman for any of the needs that you have. Anything you would like to add to this Phil? Well, we’ll just to reiterate many of the problems people have with contractors are avoidable if they would just do some due diligence, understand who they’re getting to understand what they’re getting, and be prepared to pay a fair price. Yeah. If you follow those three things, well your chances of getting burned by contractor or very low. Sure. Okay. All right. Cool. Good luck to you and give us a call and we’ll take good care of you. Yep. All right. Have a great day everybody. you can find us online@rapidrepairpro.com or you can call us at +1 800-741-6056 and I promise we will get to you right away. Awesome. So hope to hear from you if you have any questions, any thoughts, if you want more information about anything that we talked about, so until the next time, hope you all have a great day. .