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I've been interviewing handymen trying to find a roofing & siding repair guy in my area. All the handyman companies charge between 40-70 per hour plus materials at a markup of 15% on materials.

NONE would give a piece work price. Most won't even give estimates. I think they are onto something and we contractors can learn from them.
 

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...I don't want to do these jobs but it could be time to hire a couple of handymen...
Sorry guys, but you're about to find out why small contractors are small. Dealing with handymen is like trying to herd cats.

Mike,
Change your phone number.
 

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hourly price

The handyman services in my area do not do estimates. A customer can get a ball park figure on time frame over the phone. They charge $75.00 per hour (with no partial hours, ex. 1 hour 15 minutes charged for two hours) plus materials reimbursment and a $25 truck fee. The truck fee covers the small part inventory they keep on their trucks for minor repairs. Therefore the minimum charge is going to be $100.00. They don't waiver on price and are always advertising for help. I don't know if this is replacement help or more help.
 

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Mike F, I'm going to agree with mikes, I think that you have opened a real can of worms.
Here, by law, a garbage disposal and dishwasher requires an appliance tech. A toilet, a plumber and so on. Most contractors will report if they see you doing their work.
The main reason that people call handymen is because they expect to pay less than hiring a pro. Scheduling is nearly impossible as you get called in for a running toilet and end up changing a/c filters, lightbulbs, repairing downed towel bars and broken furniture.
I posted yesterday some of my early mistakes and this was one of them, I couldn't get away from it fast enough. Be prepared to meet some real winners. On the other hand, you'll never run out of material to post. LOL
 

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MikeF, you know I am an advocate of subcontracting but I have to admit this is just one area where you are probably better off with an actual employee. Here in lies the problem. Can you keep him busy 40 hours a week?

I answer that question NO, not yet. That is the only reason I haven't hired someone for my roofing siding repairs. I think I really really could keep someone busy If I hooked up with a few property managers but that's on the backburner for now.

One other thing about handymen subs. Unless you are keeping them busy, they will have their own work to worry about as well. That means you have to fit your jobs in their schedule... that just doesn't work out very well. I tried it a few times and just gave up. Having to wait 2 weeks for a roof replacement is not bad. Having to wait 2 weeks for a repair of one single shingle is absurd IMO and customers just don't want it.

Just food for thought. If a die-hard paper contractor can't make sub contracting handymen work, maybe it can't work.
 

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Mike Finley said:
the handyman ad I placed is generating phone calls now. I don't want to do these jobs
Huh? Why'd you place the ad if you don't want the jobs it generates?

I think YOU could make it work with your keen grasp of marketing and appreciation of matters logistical. The handyman failures I've seen approach their service like a hobby - not a business. They don't manage workload and can't keep a backlog, constantly falling short on schedule committments while bouncing between feast and famine.
IMO, hourly rate dude - no estimates, no partial hours. Cost plus a fee on materials. Maybe a high 'not to exceed' $ figure for those souls that just can't make a descision without a number in their head. If it turns into a 'side' job its days are numbered.
 

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PipeGuy said:
IMO, hourly rate dude - no estimates, no partial hours. Cost plus a fee on materials. Maybe a high 'not to exceed' $ figure for those souls that just can't make a descision without a number in their head. If it turns into a 'side' job its days are numbered.
I really think that's the way to go. I try hard as heck to do that with all repair estimates unelss they are directly near to me. In those cases I don't mind meeting my neighbors for a few minutes.
 

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Dharma Building
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Mike,
Check out the December 2004 issue of Professional Remodeler. The article is titled "Specializing in Small Projects", and relates to a Glenview, Ill. remodeling GC that started a handyman division. If the information is accurate, you may be on to something.
 

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Dharma Building
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Grumpy,
I thought that was your neighborhood. The GC's name is Ronald E. Cowgill, and the firm name is D/R Services Unlimited, Inc. According to the article, about $1.5 mil in sales.
 

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I understand that a ringing phone is the life-blood of a contracting business, but let me say again, dealing with handymen is like trying to herd cats.

Hire qualified subs to do the work that subs are supposed to do, and pay their price. They're well worth it. Handymen play a different role in the business, they don't work out well as subs.

Teetor is right, if you try to use handymen as subs you will have lots of funny stories to post here.

Best regards,
 

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Craig said:
Mike/Grumpy
Go to www.housingzone.com/article/CA485458.html. Hope it is useful.

It sounds nice, but is in my opinion, B.S. I've seen this all my life. Huge success! then, poof...gone.

I can hire good subs for less, and I don't have to worry about keeping them busy.


Mike,
You will end up with 10 bzillion call backs. When you arrive on the sites you will see the dumbest s#!t you ever saw in your life. After a while you will find out why people hire a sub to do a sub's work.
 

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Mike Finley said:
Do you think I am unrealistic in thinking a couple of semi-retired old coots would be a good idea to start with?
I'd rather work with a bunch of crazy old church-ladies.
 
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