What Separates a Fix-it Guy from a Professional Handyman?
I remember back in the 80’s when I was subcontracting on a custom home project. On the same job, there was an older guy who was the wood trim sub-trade. His work was perfection! Once when we were talking, he turned and looked at me over his glasses and said, “You know George, I can fix anything but a broken heart.”
That saying has stuck with me ever since. Sometimes I will be assessing a problem on a property or in a building and the saying comes back to me so real it’s like he’s standing by my side.
“No problem. I’ll take a look; I’m sure we can fix it.”
Does this sound familiar?
Hello! My name is George and in 1979 after finishing high school I started my first Handyman Company, GH Services. All I had was a pickup truck, some tools, a little experience and a dream. My father, who was a great influence on me, was my teacher. We would spend countless hours in his shop building, fixing and talking. Once I started GH Services he would help me on projects like building fences, decks, and finishing basements in homes. I would never turn down an invitation to fix anything that was building or property related.
I advertised on the side of my truck and in the local papers. Eventually I hooked up with a property management company that specialized in multi-unit residential and commercial properties. After some time they hired me full time, gave me a pager, a truck with a plow, and a lawnmower. I still used my own tools though. During this time I also kept GH Services alive and completed small projects on weekends and evenings. What a wonderful time to be a fix-it guy!
Darmax Inc. the company I now own came along after the property management company downsized in 1998. They still maintained their portfolio of properties, but I was no longer an employee. They hired me as a contractor to maintain their properties. This allowed me to grow a landscaping division of Darmax with snow removal, building maintenance, and renovations. Now I could seek new business and follow my dream of having the biggest and best Property Maintenance company in the country!
The journey continues to this day. I’m no longer just a guy with a truck full of tools running around trying to fix everything or anything that is put in front of me. Now, I’m a WE with more combined experience than I ever imagined possible. We’ve seen industry trends come and go and a shift in our business from strictly commercial work to include multi-unit residential work.
Do you need a professional handyman?
With the direction of Darmax Inc. shifting we are finding that the role of a property management is also shifting from deep knowledge of few properties to more general management of several properties. As a result, they can no longer be on site all the time and they rely more on people like us and any site staff for the deep knowledge and situation analysis. Whether on a big project or a small work order, they still need to know what is going on in a timely and accurate manner.
In addition to broad and deep knowledge of different types of properties and responsiveness, here are a few other things our clients count on that set a true professional handyman apart from the “fix-it guy with a truck and tools” type of handyman:
- Insurance (5 million Liability)
- WSIB coverage for all employees and owners (this is also known as workers compensation insurance in other areas).
- Fall arrest/working at heights training
- First Aid Training.
That’s it for now, I plan to write regularly to cover different areas of building renovations and maintenance and relate some of my experiences – past and present – with you.