It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like FiXmas

The tell-tale signs are all around us. Your favorite radio station just switched to Christmas music, Schnucks is pushing whole turkeys. Furniture stores are running semi-annual going-out-of-business sales.

This can only mean one thing – the FiXmas season is upon us. Sure, it’s the season of gratitude, joy, goodwill to men, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. But as you count your blessings, is it a crime to count among them a house that’s in good shape for you and your guests to enjoy?

So, it’s time for making a list and checking it twice, no time to remodel, so let’s keep it concise. Here’s our TOP TEN list for the simplest, most guest-noticeable repairs this FiXmas season.

  1. Get that doorbell to work to avoid a bad 1st impression.
  2. Replace discolored caulk around tubs and showers.
  3. Make that door fully “click” when closed.
  4. Get bi-fold and sliding closet doors back on their tracks.
  5. Remove ominous stains from your ceiling, and fix the leak above it while you’re at it.
  6. Keep that toilet from continuing to run.
  7. Patch those cracks in your walls.
  8. Stop the dripping from your bathroom sink and tub faucets.
  9. Replace or fix that missing or broken pop-up stopper in your bathroom sink.
  10. Make sure something happens in guest rooms when light switches are flipped.

The holiday season may be mostly about giving to others, but a house that’s in good shape is BOTH a gift to yourself AND a gift to your guests. Now, THAT’s the FiXmas spirit.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

The Guests are Coming! The Guests are Coming!

(Loosely based on “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Listen ye homeowners and you shall hear,
That the holidays are drawing near.
Soon Thanksgiving, then December twenty-five;
Hardly a homeowner is now alive,
Who’s not dreading guest visits this year.
Guests will arrive by land, and some by air,
Only to find their host’s home in disrepair.
Causing said host’s reputation permanent harm,
Across every St Louis subdivision, complex or farm.
But, our handymen stand ready to take that daytime ride,
Throughout the greater St Louis countryside.
We’ll correct doors and windows that misbehave,
Toilets that run will be trained to “stay.”
It’s one-stop shopping for home repairs,
and guests’ll never know we just got outta there.
Guests make you anxious? We can restore calm,
To every St Louis subdivision, complex or farm.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

We kneel all the time, but OUR ratings keep going up

This week, I think I finally figured out why we at Fix St Louis will never be among the rich and famous. Apparently, we simply don’t think the way they do.

Now, it’s not like we have NOTHING in common with rich and famous people like NFL players, Hollywood actresses, and late night comedians. For instance, just like them, we’re big crowd pleasers and we win more than our fair share of awards, including:

  • A+ Rating Better Business Bureau
  • Angies List Super Service Award – Top 5%
  • Best of Home Advisor
  • 25 Best Handyman Services in St Louis (Home Advisor)
  • Home Advisor Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

But for the life of us, it’s never even OCCURED to us that our great professional achievements in fixing toilets gives us the right to do end zone dances in your backyard, share our expertise in foreign affairs, or tell you how to raise your children.

The great thing about being in the handyman business is that no one ever accuses you of abusing your privilege, because they can’t seem to find any. But in fact, we enjoy one of the greatest privileges of all, making people happy by making their homes more livable, and getting to talk only about things we know something about.

So, if you are looking for worldly wisdom, as great as our home repair achievements may be, please don’t ask our technicians – ask Oprah. On the other hand, I betcha she wouldn’t know which end of a toilet plunger is up.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Why We Wouldn’t Creep-out Hillary

This week on the news, we all heard some quotes from Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book. And like everything else in the world, it got me thinking about Fix St Louis and the handyman business.

Secretary Clinton is claiming that at the Wash U. debate Donald Trump invaded her personal space. “It was incredibly uncomfortable,” she said. “He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.” She wonders whether she should have said “Back-up, you creep, get away from me!”

Now in our line of work, it’s far more likely for customers to ‘literally’ breathe down our necks than the other way around. But still, we recognize that every time we work in your homes we are invading your personal space — a place where you rightfully expect privacy. You want folks like us to do what we need to do as quickly, quietly, and neatly as we can, and clean-up after ourselves as if we were never there.

And that’s why we at Fix St Louis have very deliberately put in place policies to make things a whole lot less creepy. We’d like to believe that even in the unlikely event we received a service request from Chappaqua, whether to swap out a bathroom sink or server, absolutely no one’s skin would crawl.

Some of these policies for our technicians include:

  • Addressing our customers as “Mr” or “Ms” unless asked to use first names.
  • Uniforms and vehicle signage that clearly identify we are a serious, professional company.
  • Ensuring that every employee has passed a criminal background check.
  • Technicians who follow ‘Check-In/Check-Out’ procedures so you always know when we are in your home or not.
  • Work habits that minimize the ‘footprint’ of the work area, and keep it orderly.
  • Employees who are bonded and insured.
  • Leaving your home at least as clean or cleaner than when we arrived.

In fact, at Fix St Louis, you might say we run our operations as if we are always ‘ready for Hillary.’ But more importantly, we are always ready for YOU.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

7 Life Lessons from a Subdivision Warrior

truck

Some people dream of the free and open road. But yours truly spends his life meandering through one-lane, unstriped streets and circling cul-de-sacs, ’round and ’round. All of which have the same names, just in different combinations – pine, oak, maple, forest, river, place, terrace, etc. And occasionally, caught-up in a suburban reverie, thoughts come to mind. Not deep thoughts. Maybe not even interesting thoughts. But, here is what passes as wisdom from this subdivision warrior:

  1. The probability of a handyman being bitten by a dog is inversely proportional to the size of the dog. (Smaller dogs also make better ‘doorbell extenders,’ if you know what I mean).
  2. Most under-rated home improvement: Whole house fans (almost always mistakenly called ‘attic fans’). Those louvered fans on ceilings cut summer air conditioning bills without sacrificing comfort by sucking in cool outside air when the temperature dips every night.
  3. Most over-rated home feature: Cedar deck. Save yourself some money and get better wear by replacing rotted cedar boards with pressure-treated lumber, then staining it with a solid color so it lasts even longer. Hint: using Sherwin Williams elastomeric deck coatings means you’d only be refinishing your deck as often as you’d paint your house.
  4. The homeowners most likely to apologize for the tidiness of their homes are those with the least reason to, and vice versa. (In case you’re wondering, we don’t notice, we don’t care, we don’t judge, and even if we did we don’t remember. What happens in your house stays in your house).
  5. About 25% of handymen that homeowners let into their homes, where they come into contact with their families and possessions, have been convicted of at least one felony (source: our recruitment interviews and criminal background checks). Strange, but true: When the subject of their felony conviction is brought up, the most popular explanation is an ex-girlfriend who refused to return his TV upon break-up, creating a moral obligation to break into her apartment to retrieve it. (Well, who among us WOULDN’T do that?!)
  6. Wood and water don’t mix. From what we’ve seen, you should keep hardwood floors out of bathrooms and avoid it in kitchens. Sooner or later you’ll have hard-to-repair water damage.
  7. By far, our best source of employees is a unique, under-appreciated, 100+ year old, private, non-profit college that promotes the “dignity of labor,” thinks of the trades as professions, and functions as a ‘boot camp’ to instill good work values. It’s a mystery why more people don’t know about Ranken, and more high school grads don’t consider it as a job-certain alternative to a liberal arts education.

Not that you ever asked me for career advice for your kids.

Would love to stay to chat, but the leafy roads of suburbia are calling. But while I may spend my life on the road, you can always reach us at our office. Hope to hear from you soon!

Dr. Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

How to Participate in the Missouri Caulk-Us

Many Missourians are frustrated this election season. Given that our March 15th Presidential caucus is still weeks away, we simply won’t have as much impact on the outcome as our Iowa neighbors to the
north.caulk

We at Fix St Louis feel your pain and have decided to do something about it. We have a plan that, in the meantime, will give you something meaningful to do, something more interesting to stare at than TV debates, and something that will have an even greater impact on your life than the next President of the United States.

Gawk at your caulk

We proudly introduce the Missouri Caulk-Us. Here’s how it works: First, stop watching those candidates on TV, get up from your chair, and walk to your bathtub. Now, look at the bathtub ledge. You see that once-white, once-solid hardened goop running along the perimeter? Pretty disgusting, huh? Worse yet, maybe some do-it-yourselfer in your household tried to cover it up with even more goop but didn’t have a good sense of how much to put on, or where it should go.

Also, while you’re there, do you see tiles where the grout is missing, letting water into the wall, possibly rotting it and loosening the tiles?

Now walk to your kitchen countertop and look at the similar white goop between the wall and either your backsplash or countertop. Is it discolored? Maybe brown, gray or black? Is it separating from the wall or countertop? Mind the gap (a little London Tube lingo there).

Yes, you SHOULD be angry to be living in a house where even hardened white goop mocks your cleaning habits. You’re not going to take it anymore. And, among all their fake promises, can you believe that not a single candidate from either party is offering a federal program to replace your caulk for free? Some don’t even think you have a right to own a CAULK gun!

St. Louis Caulk Service

Gawk at your caulk, then give Fix St. Louis a call. Let’s make America grout again.