For those of you that read the Times Union regularly, and this column from time to time, you may have read that Mr. Handyman was a finalist in the recent Bold City Best contest.  We were competing in the Home Improvement, Repair & Remodel category.  After winning in 2016 and 2017, a 2018 win would have been a three-peat.

The competition was stiff this year with the orange and blue big box home centers rounding out the top-3.  At the Times Union-Jacksonville.com gala on September 27th, the winner was announced, and it wasn’t us.

The staff were excited to make the finals, and disappointed not to win.  When considering we’re a small home improvement company with 11 staff here in Jacksonville, to take on the two big box chains with 20 stores between them in NE Florida, hundreds of employees, deep pockets and constant TV advertising, I think we held our own.  I told the staff to be proud and keep their chins up.

The Mr. Handyman staff and I would like to thank everyone that voted for us in 2018 and also thank those of you that have had us into your homes.  The awards on the wall are nice and always get the staff excited, but the most satisfying part of our job is a customer’s smile, and future business, after a job well done. 

Switching topics, I’d like to offer a caution to a growing trend I’m seeing around town.  I myself have gotten a knock on the door and meet a guy that says his crew is working in the neighborhood, and he can offer me special pricing since they are already here.  I’ve gotten this knock on the door from guys selling tree work, gutter cleaning, pressure washing and general maintenance and repair.

Regardless of a business card that claims they are licensed and insured, I don’t know that to be true.  I know nothing about their reputation.  This ‘at the door approach’ seems designed to get my attention with a deal before I do any type of research.

As a twist on this approach, I’m seeing more guys approaching consumers on their way out of the big box home goods stores.  I wasn’t driving a company van recently because I needed the pickup to haul materials for one of our staff.  As I was loading lumber and, likely thinking I was a consumer with a project, somebody approached me and explained he was an expert carpenter and offered his services.  I’ve also had folks in the parking lot try and sell me roofing repairs.

You have zero idea who these guys are in these situations.  Not only could quality of work be an issue, your safety may be an issue.  This is not how to properly screen and hire folks, which is exactly why they do it.

Too many ugly things happen out there to take these risks.  Please research who you are hiring.