I had a recent conversation with a customer that I thought worth sharing.  While visiting a job site and talking with a new customer she explained that her primary reason for hiring our Mr. Handyman was because we had a business address.  I asked her to explain.

She had a past experience where she hired a ‘guy’ knocking on doors in her neighborhood and things didn’t go well.  He seemed nice enough and said he could get her projects done right away, but he took money up-front to purchase materials and never returned.

It was then she realized her situation.  She couldn’t call the manager or business owner, file a complaint with the BBB, or go knock on the door of the business and demand restitution.  The fact that we had a door to knock on made us a legitimate business in her eyes.

As a driver in the Jacksonville area I see signs advertising a variety of services.  “House Painting”, “Tree work”, and “Pressure Washing” along with a phone number.  These are usually hand lettered signs along the side of the road, and sometimes they are high up on a telephone pole or tree to keep them from being collected.

If you happen to be in the market for one of these services, the thought of a deal may be tempting.  I’d like to urge a bit of caution.  Consider the story recounted above.  What is the chance you’ll be working with a company?  Can you go knock on their door if there are issues?  Do they have a reputation to protect?  Are they licensed and insured?

“Off the grid” type people are not listed with the BBB, licensed through the state, and have no reputation to uphold.  Their appeal is below market rates, and if they are walking your neighborhood knocking on doors they can, “get it done today.”  If things work out you may feel you have gotten a deal.  If things get ugly you have little recourse. 

If they get hurt and don’t have insurance you may be responsible.  They were hurt on your property, while working for you.  Have you ever seen a lawyer ad on TV letting folks know that if they’ve been hurt on a job that they deserve compensation?  If the person hurt was working for you when injured, that lawyer may want a word with you.

I started in this industry in high school as the handy kid in the neighborhood that did odd jobs for neighbors before going to work for a builder.  That was a long time ago.  It pains me to say this, but the world is changing in dangerous ways and hiring somebody ‘off the grid’ can be financially risky, and even dangerous.  Please be careful.

If you are tempted to call the number on one of those signs because you don’t know who else to call, then call Mr. Handyman; there’s simply no one like us!