The Goddess Speaks
It's more difficult to locate a good handyman than it is to find Mr. Right
I'VE HAD A lot of work done on my house lately, some of it voluntary but most of it by demand. It's been a series of something breaking, my getting it fixed -- and then the next disaster strikes.
I've learned a lot about home improvement during this painful process. One of the biggest lessons has been that it is probably harder to find a good handyman than it is to find a good boyfriend, and the rejects bear not just a little resemblance.
This is what I mean.
With the handyman I have to make the first contact. Kind of like online dating. I open the phone book and look for somebody in my area. He must be geographically desirable. They are all glad to hear from me at first and generally nice on the phone. Hello, they want my business. But it often gets tricky after that.
First come scheduling issues. Apparently these men are in high demand because even if it is a home-repair emergency, many can't come for at least two weeks. I need somebody who is available right away and accommodates my schedule as well.
Then there's that window thing. Instead of making an appointment as to date and time, some want me to stay home all day waiting for them. Others are willing to schedule a two-hour window, which is more reasonable. I can work with that, but I prefer a set appointment time. I'm a busy working person, too.
PROMPTNESS does not seem necessary in this profession because they rarely arrive when they say they will, window or not. They are almost always late and without even a phone call. The few times I've dared to call to check on the delay, I've been informed that the previous job took too long and they were delayed. They figure I will just wait -- and I usually do. On a few occasions I've been completely stood up.
Next comes communication. I want to talk about it. I want to share my troubles about the sink or the dryer or my pipes. I need him to listen to all that's gone wrong. He usually just wants to get right to business. He sees the problem already, understands what needs to be done and just wants me quiet and out of the way. I try to control myself but figure I should at least be a part of what's going on.
Sometimes he will carefully explain the issues in excruciating detail. And then I tune out and miss something important. Ensuing problems then become all my fault.
I won't even go into the varying quality of the work performed. But as a general rule, you get what you pay for.
Through all of my trials and tribulations, I've found that not all of these laborers are bad. Some have good work ethics, excellent communication and mutual respect for the customer. Just as in boyfriends, there are a few gems out there. And when I find them, they're definitely worth keeping.
Lorraine Gershun is publications adviser for Searider Productions at Waianae High School.
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