Should you use a handy man?
Lately I’ve had a hard time finding a good, consistent, and affordable painter that’s not booked three months out.
This issue led me to do something I don’t normally do – I called a handyman service for paint bids on two consecutive projects – I got burned on both of them.
The first house was in Dalton.
I hired a local handyman service I’d found on Facebook – the business was named after the owner. He gave a good bid and could start quickly. The crew started on a Wednesday and promised to be done the following Tuesday. I was so pleased that I gave them the flooring job in that house, as well.
That Friday I got a call asking for a check for two thirds of the paint job. At lunch I reluctantly agreed rationalizing, that when you add the flooring project, two thirds of the paint wasn’t that much.
Long story short, they left after lunch – and never came back. They left me with all the doors, trim, cabinets and closets left to paint. Fun huh?
Here’s what happened on the second house.
I still needed a painter. This time, I found a company from Calhoun. It was an LLC with a website and was well-ranked on homeadvisor.com. The company sent a rep out who emailed me a professional looking bid the next day. It stated that they required half the total to begin the job. I agreed and cut them a check for $1,100.
I had to fire them after the first day because they weren’t painters. The company’s name is Cleaning N Repair Pro’s. Notice the name doesn’t say anything about painting – they’re a handyman service.
The house they were working on is a 70s model house that was owned by a smoker and has paneling throughout. In order to paint a house like this, you must first prime the entire house with oil-based Kilz. I discussed this strategy with the owner before he sent his workers out. It was evident that he understood because there were 15 gallons of kilz sitting on the job site.
Instead of Kilz-ing the house as discussed, the workers just sprayed the ceilings with latex ceiling paint. The finished product was a white ceiling with yellow splotches throughout.
I wasn’t ugly about firing them. I just conveyed to the owner that this job was outside the skill set of his workers. To help him understand, I sent him some pictures of the ceiling and of couple of other things. He agreed with my assessment and even told me he’d refund my money.
A week later, they stopped answering my calls and texts. That was almost three months ago and I’ve yet to receive my refund, even after homeadvisor contacted them about it.
So what are the lessons here? First, don’t pay someone until the job is complete. Someone who is a professional should have enough credit or working capital to pay their help and for the materials until the job is complete.
Second, use someone who specializes in a particular trade. We had to repaint both houses because the “handymen” weren’t painters.
I hired these guys, mostly out of frustration, because I couldn’t get someone to start in a timely manner. But hiring them cost me more time and money than if I’d waited for a real painter running a real business.
So, should you use a handyman? There’s a high likelihood I won’t be hiring one again, but for little things on a rental, I’d say yes. Handymen can get a multitude of things done in a timely manner. Just make sure to check them out better than I did. If they aren’t running a respectable business, you’ll be the one who pays for it – literally.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.