Why is your handyman’s START DATE as UNCERTAIN as your COVID shot date?

You’re a busy person, and you keep a tight schedule. You make firm appointments with just about everyone — your doctor, hair dresser, pilates instructor, even your friends.

But when it comes to handymen and contractors, for some reason that’s a different story — you just hand over all control of your schedule to them. They say “yeah, it looks like we can start about 3 weeks from now, give or take.” Or, in the best case, “we’ll show-up a week from Tuesday, maybe sometime in the morning.”

And you go, “sure, I’ll just wait until the last minute to find out when you’re coming, then rearrange my appointments with everyone who is less important than you are, including my doctor, hair dresser, pilates instructor, and friends.”

Now, we at Fix St Louis  are the odd-handyman-out on this one. Unlike virtually everyone else, we propose and get your agreement to firm dates and times. And even more amazing given the level of dysfunction in our industry, we actually SHOW-UP at those firm dates and times — unless it’s obvious to everyone that it would be crazy to do that job in that weather.

So, we make your life easier by letting you schedule around our work. And we also give you confidence that, unlike some others, we will actually show-up.

So, why is Fix St Louis  just about the only one who does this? Here’s some reasons.

  • It’s more convenient to let your work date float. No, not more convenient to YOU, who has to keep rearranging your schedule — more convenient to THEM. So if any particular earlier job takes them longer than expected, they can just put you off, and go to your home when they are finished, knowing they’ll have continuous work days no matter what.
  • It’s a way for them to lock you into a commitment, while hoping a bigger job comes along in the meantime.
  • It’s easier than telling you to your face that they don’t want your stinking small job in the first place. If they run out of other jobs, MAYBE you’ll hear from them again. But if you DO catch-up with them, be prepared to hear a litany of excuses, often involving tragedies suffered by make-believe distant relatives.

Look, it’s understandable why you would put-up with the uncertainty of when you’ll get your COVID shot. But, there’s an easy fix for dealing with the uncertainty of a handyman’s start date. Call Fix St Louis .

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Start the Year by Finishing Your House. Your BIGGER House.

Congratulations, homeowners! After last year you are now the world’s leading expert on the limitations of your house.

There were more meals in the kitchen as restaurants and school cafeterias shut-down. There was more business and school work done from home, as you scrambled to find any space quiet enough, bright enough, and with enough cables and outlets to actually get anything done. There was more noise and less privacy with everyone home at the same time.

So you learned you could use a bigger house. But you’re NOT gonna move. That’s crazy talk.

But there’s good news. Inside your house is a hidden, bigger house. It’s lurking in all the space that is now unfinished or underutilized. Fix St Louis can help you put these spaces to work, making your house a whole lot bigger.

Office Space
Fix St Louis can convert just about any space in your house to make it suitable for business or school work. We can add electrical outlets, technology jacks, surface-mounted or recessed ceiling light fixtures, and spruce-up that wall behind your desk so that your co-workers can see you as an upstanding human being, and not a survivalist holed-up in a basement.

Recreational Space
Imagine if instead of that unfinished basement you had a cheerful playroom. Or an entertainment room with a big screen TV. Or a workshop. Fix St Louis can convert those dreary Soviet-style concrete walls and floors into clean, comfortable, and uplifting places.

Storage Spaces
As things seemed to get tighter and tighter with everyone home, you may have become more aware of the shelves, closets, and floorspace filled with stuff that is rarely used and in the way. Fix St Louis can build shelving in your garage, or even convert that space above your cars into a storage loft, complete with a pull-down ladder.

We can double the size of your clothes closets by installing a clothes rod at the top, and another immediately below. We can add shelves to any closet, removing clothes rods as necessary. And if you have a room that for some strange reason does not even HAVE a closet, we can build walls with a door to create one.

Hey, Fix St Louis has just showed you how to move to a new house, maybe 25% bigger, without moving at all! Well maybe just one move. Get up, find your cell phone that’s hidden under all that clutter, and call Fix St Louis!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Could there be only 6 shopping days left before Christmas?

If you needed another reason to believe this year was different, here it is.

In days of yore, Fix St Louis was able to provide an extended “FIXmas Season,” offering you a couple of pre-holiday months to catch up on your home repairs before Christmas guests arrived.

But we just looked at our schedule and realized – yikes! — we’re now booking jobs into mid-December! We feel for those whose jobs in other industries have been hurt by all these lockdowns. But for Fix St Louis, more people at home has meant more people seeing things they want fixed in their homes.

How many “shopping days” are left before we can’t perform your repairs before Christmas? Hard to say, but it’s sure gonna come a lot earlier this year.

So, if you are planning to have Christmas guests, and want to get these repairs done beforehand, pick-up a phone RIGHT NOW, give us a call to set-up a free estimate, and do your best to garble through your face mask something intelligible to our customer service rep. Here are some of the more popular small jobs folks ask for this time of year:

— Bathroom Sinks: malfunctioning pop-up drain stoppers, leaky faucets, dripping pipe beneath sink.
— Doors: doors that don’t close/latch properly, off-track closet doors, weatherstripping.
— Doorbells: doorbells that haven’t worked for years, or don’t have video.
— Ceiling stains: Ominous yellow stains on downstairs ceilings that may be caused by the toilet above (yuck!).
— Garbage disposals: you’ll need a properly working one for those guest meals.

And while you’re at it, why not invite us over for a free estimate on larger projects you’ve been putting off, to kick-off after the holidays? Great way to get next year off to a great start.

So get in touch with us right away, when we still have slots on our schedule. Just a few more days for us to guarantee that our Fix St Louis home repair elves can beat your Christmas guests to your front door.

Merry FIXmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!
Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Accepting Virtual Reality: Time to fix-up that PERMANENT virtual home office

They said we just needed 2 weeks to flatten the curve, and you believed them.

So to continue your job virtually, you moved your computer to the basement, where you wouldn’t be disturbed by your newly at-home kids. You found and dusted off an old desk and desk lamp from your storage room, and ran extension cords to it from all over the basement. You pointed the Zoom camera back at yourself, and the roughly-painted wall behind you that was decorated with a mounted shelf with your grandmother’s Precious Moments and Cherished Teddies collections, and a poster of fallen Cardinals home run hero Mark McGuire.

But just about now, the virtual reality of it all is about to set in. This is going to be your PERMANENT office for 1, 2, or maybe even 5 days per week. Forever. Shattering dreams of someday having your feet up on a desk in a corner office. And while it may be slightly better than that Dilbert cubicle you were working in, your self-respect and your mother-in-law require you to do better than this.

You need a makeover. And while an old handyman like yours truly might not be the first person to come to mind when thinking of a “makeover,” in the year 2020 anything is now possible. So, let’s pretend Fix St Louis has a magic wand, and you are Cinderella toiling at a virtual office instead of scrubbing floors.

That Wall

Good grief, what are those incoming Zoomers to think when their minds momentarily drift away from your important pronouncements, look past your silhouette, and study your wall? Does it reinforce the idea that you are a competent, well-credentialed professional who has his/her act together in work, personal, and family life?

Fix St Louis can help transform that wall into one you might EXPECT to see in an office. We can paint it, panel it, or even shiplap it (for those Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper fans out there). We can hang shelves, pictures, diplomas, or other objects to make you seem like a smarter, kinder, more virtuous, or more successful person. We can even assemble inexpensive IKEA shelving units, so that you don’t have to embarrass yourself in front of some stupid androgynous instruction manual stick figure.

Those Wires

Today’s virtual office warrior needs a whole lot of electrical outlets. There’s desktop computers, monitors, laptops, phones, modems, bluetooth devices, and more. If you’re lucky, there’s an outlet on the wall directly behind you, and not 6′ away. Even then, chances are it’s just a duplex outlet with only 2 places for plugs, assuming neither of them are the type of plug that’s part of a bulky transformer box. Fix St Louis can install new wall outlets, in the right place on the wall, and with 4 or more places to plug-in. We can also hide those non-power coaxial TV cables, and a/v and Ethernet wires behind walls and drop or drywall ceilings.

Those Lights

Fix St Louis can put a light on the ceiling above your desk, so that you have adequate lighting and can use the space on the desk now taken-up by a lamp. We can also install a ceiling fan somewhere else in the room, where it won’t blow all the papers off your desk, assuming paper is still a thing.

Those Work Breaks

Maybe you’re now working in a basement with a yucky bathroom you’ve never fixed-up because there was never a compelling reason to — until now. Changing out the sink/vanity, medicine cabinet, and light fixtures can make an enormous difference.

And while you’re at it, if you’re changing out the vanity, you might as well have Fix St Louis install new vinyl plank flooring at the same time. Usually, installation is surprisingly inexpensive because it can simply be laid over the existing floor, it requires no fasteners or adhesive, and you don’t need much flooring to cover the small floor space. BONUS: You’ll be converting your basement into an acceptable living space for guests.

Let’s look at the bright side. You’ve lost some or all of your commute. You’ve got a full house to work in that includes a kitchen. And, you’re not limited by the unexceptional, standard-issue space, furniture, decorations, and utilities provided in a nondescript office building. Let Fix St Louis turn your office into a place fit for a Prince or Princess, and the envy of every mean Cinderella step-sister.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

“The Handyman Unmasked”: An Online Class

Just about every day I listen to stories from homeowners puzzled by the behavior of a past or would-be handyman. Why did they never hear back from him? Why did he suddenly quit before the job was finished? When will he ever return to fix the thing that immediately broke again?

You know, I hate to be the one who has to stick-up for lawyers, but when it comes to those who maintain a good social distance from the truth, lawyers are mere amateurs. Generally speaking, a handyman is a better target for that old joke about you can always tell he’s lying “when his lips are moving.” But, what’s a homeowner to do these days, with handymen now wearing masks covering their mouths, when even THAT clue can’t help you?

So today, we at Fix St Louis are pleased to deliver this very short online class. The topic is how to translate the garbling coming from behind the mask of your handyman into the truth. Just to be clear, NONE of this applies to Fix St Louis. We’re the folks trying to professionalize the infamous handyman industry, remember?

Introduction: The First Principle of the Handyman Industry

“The value of your job to the handyman, and his associated willingness to achieve customer satisfaction, are directly proportional to how big your job is versus his other jobs.”

So, if you have a relatively small job, your “customer service” (geez, am I being kind here) will generally be worse than a customer with a bigger job. That means things like later start dates, longer times to finish, less competitive pricing, reluctance to return to fix subsequent quality issues, and lack of responsiveness to phone calls and emails.

Example #1:

Handyman: “Great! We’ll start your job in about 3 weeks, depending on how fast we finish our other jobs between now and then.”

Oh, that’s a good one, always makes me laugh like hearing it for the very first time! What this really means is we’ll start your job in about 3 weeks depending upon whether any BIGGER jobs pop-up between now and then. Now you may think, well that’s OK because he didn’t ask me for any money in advance. But as a result, you actually HAVE no agreement, and he may never call you back at all – while you Mr/Ms Honest Homeowner, have in effect made a commitment to not hiring anyone else. It may seem counterintuitive, but assuming the handyman is not a crook (beware: we believe ~25% are convicted felons), you are better off paying money in advance because then at least you do have some kind of legally enforceable commitment. Assuming you’re into that lawyer kind of thing. Or you can just call Fix St Louis – we provide firm start dates so you can just put us in your calendar, schedule around us, and stop thinking about it.

Example #2:

Handyman: “Sorry, I’m going to have to take a few days off to go to the out-of-town funeral of a Great Aunt.”

Let me start by apologizing for what I’m about to say to that infinitesimally small number of you out there who have large extended families where EVERYONE gets along and SOMEBODY in that family keeps meticulous family trees – these remarks are not meant for you. But for everyone else, this just means you are being bumped by a handyman’s customer who has a bigger job, and it’s possible you will NEVER see him again. I’ve got news for you. NOBODY knows what a Great Aunt is. Even if they did, NOBODY could figure out who she is. NOBODY would take a few days off and forgo their wages to mourn her. And NOBODY would travel out of town to attend her funeral. Nothing against Great Aunts, but how could they be THAT “great”?

Example #3:

Handyman: “Sure, we’d be glad to change that light bulb. That will cost you $500.”

Yeah, I made this one easy on purpose. Unless that light bulb is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and illuminates God’s finger reaching out to Adam, changing a light bulb should not cost that much. But some handymen think quoting outrageous prices on small jobs is a win-win situation for them. If their bid is rejected they didn’t have to explain the job was too small to interest them. But if the bid is accepted the money is worth it. Unfortunately, for most jobs you may not even KNOW what a reasonable price is. So either get additional bids, or call a company that cares about building up a portfolio of happy repeat customers and wants to keep its great reputation. Oh, coincidentally, have I mentioned Fix St Louis?

Geez, this online teaching is exhausting! I don’t know how the school teachers do it. So everyone, you can take off your masks now. Be sure to maintain appropriate distances from normal people and suspicious handymen.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

But can Mr Bloomberg teach ANYONE to be a HANDYMAN?

As you may have heard, Michael Bloomberg once stated he “could teach anybody in this room to be a farmer.” “It’s a process,” he said. “You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.” On the other hand, he said he could not teach anybody to be a TECHNOLOGY worker because the “skill sets that you have to learn are to think and analyze, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”

Honestly, I am embarrassed to admit that Mr Bloomberg’s comments took your humble correspondent by surprise. For decades, I was actually under the delusion that being a successful farmer was one of the HARDEST things anybody could do, and would be a challenge for even the SMARTEST people I had ever met, like my wife’s late grandfather. Farmers’ skills seem to cover a wide range of so-called “gray matter” professions, including veterinarian, horticulturist, climatologist, animal behaviorist, geneticist, and businessperson.

So, I’m sitting here wondering. If this is what Bloomberg thinks of FARMERS, what must he think of us HANDYMEN?! Geez, being a HANDYMAN is one of the many things that even FARMERS can do! It’s not like we handymen NEVER deal with gray matter, but I can tell you, you wouldn’t want the gray matter WE work with stuffed into your head, either before or after it has hardened.

Now, I don’t know if Mr Bloomberg ever reads these newsletters and, even if he did, whether he’d think there’s anything Dr Steve can TEACH him. But I’m not going to take a chance, and miss this opportunity to teach Mr Bloomberg about Fix St Louis handymen, so he won’t embarrass himself if the subject ever comes up.

So, here is my list of things Mr Bloomberg probably would NOT be able to teach Fix St Louis handymen:

Climbing Tall, Scary Ladders

While Mr Bloomberg may have plenty of experience climbing onto boxes behind podiums, it seems unlikely he has the bravado to stand at the top of a 40′ ladder, which our technicians do routinely.

Carrying Heavy Bags of Concrete

Fix St Louis technicians often carry TWO 80 lb. bags of concrete at the same time — one under each arm. If Mr Bloomberg could be cloned, I have no doubt they could also carry one Michael Bloomberg under each arm. Based upon his slight frame, I wouldn’t think he could teach anyone how to do this.

Getting Intimate with Toilets

We at Fix St Louis are poking our heads into toilets every single day to get them working for you. But for all we know, Mr Bloomberg has people whose full-time job is to push his flush levers, and he would have trouble differentiating one end of a plunger from the other. Seems like Fix St Louis wouldn’t get much out of his toilet teaching seminars.

Making Drywall Seams Disappear

The magicians at Fix St Louis can make the seams between two drywall sheets disappear, using that gray matter I’ve been talking about (sometimes referred to as “joint compound”). Trust me, this is very hard to do and requires lots and lots of experience to get it right. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but Mr Bloomberg has willfully chosen not to invest his time on his drywall performance, but instead spends it on his Wall Street performance and, believe me, those are two different types of wall altogether.

So, what have we learned from Mr Bloomberg today? We’ve learned that while we handymen may never be invited to a Mensa party or that annual elite get-together in Davos, an awful lot of folks there and everywhere else CAN’T or WON’T do what we at Fix St Louis do everyday — even the most ardent do-it-yourselfers. You might say we just had a teachable moment.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis