what is a handyman and when should i call them
26 Aug, 2021, 10:58 AM

We all throw around the term at some point, usually when we need a quality tradesman to do a not overly specific job, such as replacing pipes, or doing some form of electrical work, where the certified tradesman needed is straight up obvious.

So when do you call your local handyman, then?

Unlike your standard tradesman, their skills are specialized and very specific, which is why they require such stringent certification, which is achieved over a span of many years. A handyman on the other hand, is usually a tradesman who has worked in many different areas of the construction field, learning and mastering many different skills, such as tiling plastering, waterproofing and so on. For example, a plumber should be able to easily break through tiles and plaster or cement sheeting to be able to access a pipe, but would you expect a tradie with these very specific plumbing skills to be able to patch the hole, and re-tile the area, as if it wasn’t previously touched? My guess is that most people would not see this as expected and that a separate tradesman would need to be called in to take care of this. In some cases, it may ever require three different tradesman, if their trained skills don’t span through all the additional items that need to be re-done.

plumber fixing sink

This is exactly where a skilled Handyman would be called into action. Potentially, if you are a lucky one, you may only need the single tradesman who can do the entire start to finish. And I’m not talking about your neighbours handy husband who has a shed full of Ozito tools, and like to tinker with fixing things on the weekends. I’m talking about a tradie who’s spent his lifetime being a problem solver, somebody who thinks outside the box, in order to find the most viable, yet simple solution to whatever puzzle he is presented with at any random point in time.

We are all already familiar with the more well known trades, such as: Air conditioning plumbers & electricians, standard domestic plumbing, framing carpenters, cabinet makers, joister carpenter and so on. Then from there, you have the Master tradesmen, who have completed their qualifications and certifications through a trade school and their employer.

This is often the point where the very best Handymen are born, they are an expert in their field who has decided to grow their skill set, utilizing all the principles they have instilled in their daily repertoire, that has made them the best at what they do, and taking it to the next level. Typically growing into somebody who is a master of all trades, and a jack of none!

Of course, I am being cheeky there, but you get the idea… I hope!

Handymen are the underdog, master tradies you call when you only have time to make one call and deal with a single person, who will be able to look after your main area of concern, whilst also taking care of all the surrounding grey areas around the main job.

Having a handyman on call for emergency home maintenance is also a very common and very wise move, because without getting bogged down in the detail of “I’m not sure how to do something” they really do come into their own, and get shit done. Often skipping the understandable lack of confidence displayed by somebody who has not completed certain tasks before.

handyman and customer shake hands

Sure, you could call a builder to renovate or fix up your home, and they’ll send out all the specifically trained tradesman to your house and get whatever needs done complete, in the time frame that they can, but then you’ve got to remember, they’ve sent out at least a few tradesmen, some of which will be waiting on each other before they can continue working, so you’ll be paying for additional people, to sit around whilst potentially there is only one of them working, and others waiting for paint to dry (Let’s be honest here… not a favourite pastime of mine!)

The alternative, is having one vastly skilled tradesman who is very capable of almost every task you can give him, even the strange requests, that would leave most scratching their head as to who can fix or build something totally left of centre. If he’s working on his own, yes it will take longer, but you won’t need to worry about flushing your hard earned cash down the drain, whilst he is charging for his time to sit around, because chances are, he’ll be working on more than one job at a time and has already have the foresight to prioritise the jobs that will require drying time to be done first, then followed by the other jobs to fill in that time.

Why does this make a handyman the best man for the job?

Because, most lifelong handyman are highly intuitive problem solvers, who value your time and theirs, being handy is more than just being able to complete a job. There is always a best way to complete a job… And knowing that time is money, completing that job to a satisfactory standard, efficiently, the first time, is always going to be the biggest key to success, for any smart business minded problem solver.

What kinds of work does the typical handyman do on a daily basis?

Universal Tradesman has been called out for all kinds of things in the past, for coffee chugging adrenaline junkies (at least, speaking for myself!) there is a high level of excitement with the unknown, which is what we get to enjoy, anytime the phone rings. Most of the time, some random thing has broken down at the house, and the tenant has been left, scratching their heads as to who they should call, so, enter the grey zone, and the most well rounded tradesmen will pop into most people’s heads, the local handyman!

Some days our tradies have been called out to jobs that are so foreign to them, but thanks to their experienced trade backgrounds, indomitable will and over all skilled approach to work, within 20 minutes of being on site, have already worked out all the steps required to take the job at hand from wherever it is, to wherever it needs to be.

A few examples I think deserve an honourable mention, is that our guys are great with doors, and yet, the door maintenance we have to do, is vastly different every time we do doors, more so on the commercial doors, as they have countless varieties and styles of just how a panel that moves back and forward can be installed to a building. So often our men need to clean up the space, pull everything apart, test what does what, and metaphorically (not physically) “bend everything to our will.” So I will say, that fixing commercial doors are definitely one of the fun “brain teasers” we enjoy a lot of!

handyman checking window handle

Another great example of being that top Mister Fix It guy, is door and window frames, that have either been eaten away by years or water abuse and rot, or by an abusive rottweiler (both of which we have witnessed plenty of!)

Turning up to these jobs, it requires the same principles as most jobs, clean up the area, work out what’s going on, often, treat the area with an appropriate wood treatment, especially if the wood had become rotten over many years, which is done after the soggy rotten wood has been removed. Then the area is simply filled with builders bog, which I have to say, is basically as strong as concrete, you shape it accordingly, sand it for the perfect finish, then paint it.

In this example, the alternative to a simple window repair, is rather than spending a few hundred for example, is to replace the entire frame, suddenly an easy to digest three digit number turns into a four digit number, and the time frame turns from a few hours, into potentially weeks to complete fixing the frame to a similar standard.

Of course, repairing a window frame is not always going to be possible, sometimes repairs will only extend the life of a door or window frame by a small amount, which is why we like to live by the phrase, a stitch in time saves nine. Although I will admit, we are handy, but we are unlikely good seamstresses… But, I’ve said that before about other trade work, so if I may be so bold as to say, Never say Never!

So to conclude this revelation, call a handyman first!

They may not necessarily be the correct tradesman for a specific job that requires a certain certification, but handymen are still handy enough to know the direction to send you in. Sure, you may need to make a second call, but you can be guaranteed the direction you’re sent in will be vetted from one professional for another.

So as you pick up the phone, make sure you’re getting in touch with the handiest handymen, skilled tradesmen, who are committed lifelong problem solvers, don’t just hire your best friends hubby who likes to tinker with fixing things in their free time.

Enjoyed this post? Take a look at our article on DIY floating shelves.

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