Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC

 
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:09 AM   #21
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


I agree with Goldenview.

Being a handyman is not a great living. You have to know everything, have every tool, compete with every two bit hack, make a run to the hardware store every day, and deal with the cheapest customers and their beer budget champagne taste bs.

Also, as you are finding out - most of the handyman tasks turn out to be something you either do illegally or don't do at all. Do you want to spend your professional career looking over your shoulder?

Maybe aim a little higher? Bath remodeler, kitchen remodeler, flooring, roofing, carpentry, gutters even painting would be better than handyman. And that is saying something, painting is fing awful.

What is keeping you back from bigger ticket more profitable work? Do you need more access to capital?
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:46 AM   #22
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


This is why you reputable business owners need to stop advertising on Angies List, Home Advisor, Yelp, etc. They allow Un Licensed Handyman to advertising in Plumbing, HVAC and Electrician categories and they are all under bidding you..
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:58 AM   #23
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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Originally Posted by cwatbay View Post
Her in CA which is one of the most regulated states, you would likely have no problem doing any kind of electrical or plumbing work, as almost all GC's here do. I think your worry is that you are legitimate, with a GC license, so you can see that you have more to lose if you do some gray area work.

That is the problem. If you don't have a license, insurance, legal employees, and so forth, what do you care if someone complains or you get caught. So what? Can't squeeze blood out of turnip. Considering the 1 out of 10,000 cases that may go to court here, the defendant simply pleads poverty and any fines are dismissed, if not the whole case.

I am glad you are playing by the book, but in reality, most don't. Especially in residential, nobody here cares, not even the inspectors. As long as you got a GC, you can do all the electrical and plumbing you want. In fact , I have been on several permitted jobs and I ask the GC, who's doing the electrical and plumbing ? He goes, "I am".
That's the rub where I sit. The insurance. My insurance won't permit me to do certain things. I can go ahead and do them but if there's a paper trail then I risk assets should someone decide for whatever reason to become litigious.
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Old 02-06-2018, 01:16 PM   #24
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


My take on this is. ..here in littleville south dakota, I had to take a test as to my proficiency in my trade before I was issued a ....wait for it because I know little about others trades. .. a water and sewer contractor license.


I see nothing wrong with measures taken to keep scabs out of the trades.

Show your proficiency, have at it.


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Old 02-06-2018, 01:49 PM   #25
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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My take on this is. ..here in littleville south dakota, I had to take a test as to my proficiency in my trade before I was issued a ....wait for it because I know little about others trades. .. a water and sewer contractor license.


I see nothing wrong with measures taken to keep scabs out of the trades.

Show your proficiency, have at it.


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In the OP's case, he has the instructions written for a HO to install a hood. No special anything if you're the HO. Go ahead, put the wire nuts on just the way the directions show. Want to get paid to do it? I think that's a journeyman electrician license, so you can work unsupervised.

Theoretically, the HO is taking on the risk when they put the wire nuts on, but then that isn't something that's disclosed on sale, so the next owner is taking on risk without knowing it.

Yes, there are licensed hacks who do work that never should have passed inspection, yet it did. I've also seen a permit pulled for a new panel, but what wasn't on the permit was tape splicing in the walls for new wires to the panel, hiding the k&t.

Regulate all you want, there is no guarantee you'll get a good job except the tradesman doing the work.
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Old 02-06-2018, 02:12 PM   #26
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


All good and fine until you burn down the rest of the complex.

Trust me, I'm not for government intrusion. But alas, without regulation of some sort, you'd have a whole neighborhood of "hey, why did my house burn down, I just hired a contractor to look at it for me.

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Old 02-06-2018, 04:22 PM   #27
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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Originally Posted by cwatbay View Post
Her in CA which is one of the most regulated states, you would likely have no problem doing any kind of electrical or plumbing work, as almost all GC's here do. I think your worry is that you are legitimate, with a GC license, so you can see that you have more to lose if you do some gray area work.

That is the problem. If you don't have a license, insurance, legal employees, and so forth, what do you care if someone complains or you get caught. So what? Can't squeeze blood out of turnip. Considering the 1 out of 10,000 cases that may go to court here, the defendant simply pleads poverty and any fines are dismissed, if not the whole case.

I am glad you are playing by the book, but in reality, most don't. Especially in residential, nobody here cares, not even the inspectors. As long as you got a GC, you can do all the electrical and plumbing you want. In fact , I have been on several permitted jobs and I ask the GC, who's doing the electrical and plumbing ? He goes, "I am".
That's because it's legal in California for a GC to self-perform any, or all trades. The only thing a GC can't do is water well drilling and fire sprinklers.



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Old 02-06-2018, 05:00 PM   #28
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


Here, I can run natural gas lines, but I can't install toilet, or I suppose even a doorbell.

I don't touch any of that stuff. I call my electrician and they use it as fill in work. I don't install toilets either, as I don't want the liability, or the hassle.

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Old 02-06-2018, 05:47 PM   #29
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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1. What is your opinion on the matter? Am I the only one who feels this way?
2. Do you perform minor stuff like this despite not being a licensed plumber or electrician?
1. In MI, we're required a license if we contract for $600 or more per year on any one residence. I hate it. (Wife is committed to the area; I'd leave again in a heartbeat.)

The license is virtually useless. It requires a relatively large capital to get and maintain, but, for the work I do, I don't get compensated for it. (But, I guess I've been moving into other work, so that'll probably change.)

2. We're allowed to perform incidental repairs.


I'm going to echo the other advice that you've received: don't bother with it. Service electricians and plumbers aren't that expensive. And, they're not too busy. My mother has an electrician, a plumber and an HVAC guy who are cheap enough that my Saturday's stay free, and she has each out at least once per year. If someone is calling you to save a buck, then it's probably a good indication that you don't want to deal with that person.
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:21 PM   #30
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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Here, I can run natural gas lines, but I can't install toilet, or I suppose even a doorbell.

I don't touch any of that stuff. I call my electrician and they use it as fill in work. I don't install toilets either, as I don't want the liability, or the hassle.

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That is a bizarre thing about this state.
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:29 PM   #31
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


I feel sorry for guys that are over regulated and frankly I live in NYS and do not have statewide license requirements.
We do not have a lot of houses collapsing or fires or people dying from sewer gas because we do not have a license.

Funny part is I am asked all of the time if I am licensed and I explain to them it is not required in this state.
I love the contractors on Craigslist that just tell everyone they are licensed.
By the way, I am a handyman that makes a living doing small jobs as well as large jobs. The small ones lead to the big ones.
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:47 PM   #32
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


Howz' about this ?

I worked for two maintenance outfits, both jobs were hired-on as employee status and we did just about everything.

One was working for a large gambling casino, with bars, 3 restaurants, hotels, etc. We did almost all the remodels, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc, and no license or certifications required to be hired on. If it was over-our-head stuff we'd call in our subs. Permits were pulled by my boss who was not a GC. And he didn't know what end of the hammer to grab.

The other place was a maintenance company tailored pretty much for the elderly. There were about 20 employees doing small and big jobs. No licenses or certs required. Some jobs I refused to do and told the head honcho to stuff it. I didn't stay there long. But IMO there's a lot of these "maintenance" aka "home repair" outfits running things in the same fashion.

I can only surmise both places had their own liability coverage to cover the work. It seems like they walk a mighty fine line though. The worst part was that some of the hired-on guys sucked big-time...they didn't know their azz from a hole in the ground.

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Old 02-07-2018, 09:31 AM   #33
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


In my state (Colorado), to get a plumbers or electricians license (not a masters) you are required to work under supervision for 4000 hours if I recall correctly. That makes it a non-starter for me. I have a GC license and I do a lot of little-old lady handyman work as well as bath, kitchen, basement remodels and a lot of decks. Frequently those little handyman jobs turn into those bigger jobs. It is rough to make a living at the handyman thing to be sure, but when no one else is willing to take those little jobs it's not quite that hard.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:47 PM   #34
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


Hi folks,

Thanks again for your input. It's eye-opening to see what's going on in other parts of the country... what's allowed vs. not allowed vs. what folks do in practice.

Thanks also to those who have asked, "Why be a handyman? Why not remodeling, or a specific trade?" The answer for me is that it's not necessarily an either-or proposition. I'm offering both handyman and remodeling services and I've tried to reflect this on my website so customers know they can get either:

https://www.simplyrenewedspaces.com

So I don't plan to limit myself to handyman work, but I do think there's a market there for those willing to accept the associated difficulties.

FWIW, on the remodeling side I'm sticking with smaller scale projects for now. Once I get more familiar with building code and establish a larger network of trustworthy subs, I'll start taking on some larger projects. But for me, room updates & smaller-scale stuff seems like a good starting point.

Regarding the handyman services, make no mistake: I do plan to charge for them! In other words, I'm going to make it worth the effort. As others have already mentioned, handyman work isn't for the faint at heart. I may drag along the same miter saw as a remodeler, but he's gonna make 1000 cuts with it. I'm gonna make 2.

Also, I have no intention of competing with cut-rate prices or being the "low price leader". I've tried to set up my "Rates" page to filter out a lot of those inquires so I'm not spending time on the phone doing it. I may lose some business by publishing my philosophy and my handyman rates, but I believe it ultimately attracts the kind of customers I want to work with.

https://www.simplyrenewedspaces.com/rates/

Anyway, back to the original subject: unlicensed plumbing/electrical.

Today I'm going visit the customer & take a look at the range hood project. I talked to her yesterday and explained the situation. Turns out she has an electrician friend who can do the final hook-up. She even has a tile guy planned for the backsplash. I guess neither of them wanted to do the full installation because - surprisingly - she still wanted me to come out & have a look.

Again, thanks for your time and input. I really appreciate it and I'm eager to hear more - if there's more to say on the topic.

Steve
Simply Renewed Spaces

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Old 02-07-2018, 03:35 PM   #35
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


There's a guy here in Oxford - and I'm sure they are everywhere - he runs 2 separate operations.

One is a full-blown kitchen-bath remodel outfit.
The other is a Handyman biz.

IMO, both are "easy-pickings" run operations.

Got the web pages & print ads all ginned up to look pious and a real swell community guy, but I talk to peeps that tell me he's no different than Home Depot or a thousand other hucksters.

My point is - he can make money being that way. Seems like a decent fella can too - the old fashioned way.

Just remember: when his unlicensed work - if it ever does - bites him in the azz, he'll just walk away.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:19 PM   #36
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


I know a guy who does nothing but drain unstopping. He stays busy, and he's very fast at it. He doesn't need a box truck of tools and parts, either.
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:47 PM   #37
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


Hi Steve, fellow Washingtonian here. My suggestion is to reach out and partner with a few electricians and plumbers and use them when you need them and I'm sure they'll keep you in mind when a customer is looking to have work done more up your alley. We have a small electrical sub (small in the sense that it is the owner + 1 electrician + 1 helper) that does all of our electrical. We use two plumbing subs - one larger outfit for our big projects and a smaller one for small repairs and service plumbing. I know it seems like such a pain but it also helps establish a good working relationship with others and you'll know who to call when you have a big bathroom remodel!
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:45 PM   #38
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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Hi Steve, fellow Washingtonian here. My suggestion is to reach out and partner with a few electricians and plumbers and use them when you need them and I'm sure they'll keep you in mind when a customer is looking to have work done more up your alley. We have a small electrical sub (small in the sense that it is the owner + 1 electrician + 1 helper) that does all of our electrical. We use two plumbing subs - one larger outfit for our big projects and a smaller one for small repairs and service plumbing. I know it seems like such a pain but it also helps establish a good working relationship with others and you'll know who to call when you have a big bathroom remodel!


True.

I specialize in home repairs,, a lot of handyman type stuff, as well as bigger items: roofs, siding repair, or trim repair. All residential.

I try to stay away from the electrical and plumbing repairs by having an electrician and a plumber that help me when I need it. The plumber who I use referred me to a job today, and I often return the favor. The job he sent me is handyman type stuff, but since I wait till the house sale closes, I take payment from escrow and charge accordingly. So I gave an estimate for repairing a little bit of vapor barrier, pushing a little bit of insulation back up between floor joists, and sealing some holes in foundation vents screens.


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Old 02-08-2018, 12:31 AM   #39
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


Hi guys,

Hey - thanks for the advice. I appreciate it. I do have some potential subs once the need comes up. I'd be willing to give them a try at least. In each case they've done work in my own home and for the most part I'd be comfortable using them as a starting point.

I guess the concern for me is that I want like-minded people representing my business. By that I mean subs who are committed to showing up on time, doing what they say they'll do, conducting themselves professionally, treating the customer with respect, doing right by the GC, etc.

Until that's in place, I don't want to take on jobs that rely heavily on subs. I'm content to do smaller jobs where I can handle most of the work myself, and just let things evolve as I try out different subs.

I'll be glad when that day comes, though. Not only will it open up more opportunities (for me and for them), but it will also be nice to have some people I can count on. Some homies. Some like-minded folks who've got each other's backs and enjoy doing work for each other. Some people I can confidently use, confidently refer, etc. - and vice versa.

Thanks,

Steve
Simply Renewed Spaces
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:23 AM   #40
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Re: Handyman Work: Unlicensed Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC


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I guess neither of them wanted to do the full installation because. . .
Because they didn't want to work for her

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