WE all like to think we’re a dab hand at a spot of DIY – but sometimes it’s safer and easier to call in the professionals.
A handyman – or woman – is a person skilled at a wide range of repairs, and they are often called upon to tend to a whole host of odd jobs around the home.
Understandably, there are pros and cons to such a diverse and varied job.
Perks of the job
In this business, every day is different – which can be a huge plus, and there are some jobs that are sought after.
Greg says: “It’s a very varied job. No two days are ever the same.
“I like being outside, like building a garden shed in the sunshine.
“I also like building big PAX wardrobes from IKEA as I know them inside out and can do a good job.
“The flexibility is also a great perk – I can take on jobs when I have time around the other commitments in my life.”
As with all professions however, there are also some less enjoyable elements.
Greg admits: “I dread putting things on the wall in older buildings as they are absolutely solid and my drill won’t go into the walls.”
Andy understandably adds: “My least favourite part of the job is getting ‘knocked’, which means not getting paid by customers.
“The jobs I dread are the ones where I am asked to fix or repair
“Also a ‘dry job’, which means no tea or coffee… and customers that keep saying “oh, while you are here could you just….”
How to be a good ‘host’
It can be awkward knowing how to behave when you have tradespeople in your home – but to ensure a pleasant atmosphere there are a few key things to bear in mind.
Greg says: “I never have set expectations but a coffee is always nice, especially at the first job in the morning.
“I like dogs, but if they aren’t particularly friendly then I would prefer a heads up.
“I also appreciate it when the house is tidy because if I’m building a big piece of furniture, like a wardrobe or a bed, it’s important to have as much space as possible.
“The more space I have, the quicker I’ll be and then the cheaper I’ll be.
“But I’m realistic, I’ve got a two-year-old so keeping a tidy house can be a lot of work.
“If you feel like unpacking the item then I personally really appreciate that as it saves a lot of time but I know other handymen who really hate that, so best to check.”
Andy adds: “The etiquette is pretty simple.
“People should just use their common sense and be polite to
the tradesperson doing the work.
“It’s also important to ensure that before work commences that the tradespeople are working in a clear and tidy environment.”
Be a communicative customer
It also helps to try your best to make sure you’re on the same page.
Greg says: “Good communication is key.
“If you turn up and you already know what the job is then it makes life easier.”
Andy says: “For me, I have three things that make a good customer.
“Number one is that they make a decent cuppa, the second is they pay on time.
“Finally, the third is that they do not keep changing their mind and stick to a plan, which in turn makes my life easier.”
When it comes to finding the right man or woman for the job and getting a quote, both Greg and Andy have some helpful tips.
Greg says: “I would advise making sure that you’ve read their reviews, they may not have many if they’re just starting out.
“Platforms like Taskrabbit make it really easy to be able to see previous reviews.
“Communication is key, if someone messages back and is polite and friendly, they probably will be when they turn up in person.”
In terms of what to bear in mind when getting a quote, Andy says: “When quoting for a job there are a number of factors [we] think about.
“These factors include labour, material and their availability as well as price rises, plant hire and weather to name but a few.
“In the current environment the cost and availability of the items mentioned are constantly changing, so it is important to be flexible and work closely with the client when putting a quote together.”
An odd job
Finally, as the role is so varied, trades professionals do get some unusual requests from time to time.
Andy says: “One of the strangest jobs I had was repairing a leaking bathroom.
“I found the leak, repaired it, retiled and re-grouted.
“The customer then asked if I could patch repair the damaged ceiling below in the lounge, which I did and painted white.
“The problem was they had smoked in the house for decades so I had to go and get a yellowy brown paint to try and match the smoke stained ceiling.
“It was that long ago there was no colour matching service so I had to get the best I could find!”
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