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Hiring a Handyman to...

Hiring a Handyman to Paint the House

After ten years of waiting, I decided to paint my house. My neighbor insisted that a house had to be painted every couple of years—he painted his all the time. Mine was an eyesore, paint flaking off, window trim curled up like an inchworm. So, last year I had the windows replaced and ran out of money.  I waited another year, hoping the neighbors didn’t wince every time they walked by.

It’s hard to hire someone for such a big, expensive job. Will the workers do the job right? Will they injure themselves and sue you? Will they use the planter as a urinal? Too many questions and way too many choices. I considered doing it myself, but as a single parent, I quickly dismissed that idea. I work full time and have interests which lead me toward sanity; satisfying my creative need and getting outdoors to exercise.

I got three bids ranging from $2700 to $3300. We’re talking about a 1200 square foot 1950s ranch. Easy peasy.

They all sounded too pricey, so I waited. Eleven months later, I was reconsidering. I asked a friend if he knew anyone reliable. That’s when I met Michael.

Michael arrived and took a good look. He wore one shoe with a four inch sole. I thought he might have had polio as a child. He asked what the lowest bid I got was, then gave me a bid $500 less. I was ready.

He arrived on Monday and got to work. He said it would take a week, just him and another guy doing all the work. A couple of days passed and things were moving along. Then his brakes went out in the oldest, most beat-up truck I’ve ever seen. He had to borrow his wife’s car, and her breaks went out. A couple days passed and he got another helper with another car.

Another week passed and everything was looking good—like new, in fact. One the day the job was to be finished, Michael didn’t show. I wasn’t worried though, because all his equipment was chained to a tree in the back yard. There was no way he’d leave that, right?

Michael didn’t show the next day, and I nervously called both his numbers. He called back at two in the afternoon.

“Miss Kathleen, I’m holding the stick shift to my truck in my hand, it broke off,” he said.

OMG, I thought. “Are you alright?”

“Yes, I was lucky I wasn’t driving on the freeway.” He sighed. “I need to get it fixed.”

What else could I say? The guy had the worst luck with vehicles of anyone I ever met. Throughout the job, I paid him in small increments so he could get them fixed.

Three weeks later, Michael was done and the house was perfect. I got a great paint job and he got his truck fixed, at least for the time being.