Yes, handyman services HAVE been rigged against you

As someone who is out on the suburban streets of America every day, I can tell you there are a LOT of angry homeowners out there. They’re tired of the empty promises of handymen, contractors, plumbers, and electricians. They’re sick of waiting around their homes for hours on end waiting for them to show up. They’re frustrated when no one answers or returns their calls, and devastated when work is unfinished and they can’t get ahold of them.

The home repair system has been broken, and here’s why. Traditionally, the top 1% of customers, especially large commercial customers and large new home builders, have been stealing away the most professional of those who know how to fix homes, offering them the three most important things – jobs, jobs, and jobs.

And while I would not be so unkind as to say that many of the remaining folks available for you to choose from are ‘deplorable’, our recruitment efforts do suggest that about 25% of them have felony convictions. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Homeowners and those friends and neighbors who refer handymen to you don’t run the kinds of experience and background checks that the big companies who choose not to hire them do.

Fortunately there’s Fix St Louis, the only full service home repair company that competes against the big companies for the best, most professional technicians.

We’re the only one with a booth at job fairs at Ranken Technical College, that regularly makes presentations to their students, that picks the brains of faculty members regarding their most promising students, and that seeks out their alumni. And, we build upon Ranken’s rigid training in technical skills, people skills, and overall professionalism.

At Fix St Louis, we’re out to make the handyman industry great again. OK, OK. So maybe ‘great’ just for the first time.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Instapoll: Are your closet doors on the right track or wrong track?

Maybe I missed it, but with all the campaign promises made this season, I don’t recall a SINGLE candidate promising to fix that closet door in your house that is falling off its tracks. Can you believe it?

That’s too bad, because that would probably give you more day-to-day satisfaction, and at much less cost, than either a wall OR free college tuition for all of your children and pets. It’s no wonder two-thirds of the country thinks the nation is on the wrong track – perhaps the candidates are LOOKING at the wrong track.

For all you closet door junkies out there, you should know that there are three key demographic groups. The ‘swingers’ are the standard closet doors that swing open and shut. They tend to be ignored by homeowners because they rarely cause problems other than an occasional need for realignment between the latch and the striker plate, or rubbing against the side jambs and flooring. We at Fix St Louis know how to rein-in these unruly swingers.

The ‘sliders’ are the closet doors with those heavy door slabs that slide left and right, bypassing each other. These doors are somewhat less predictable than the swingers, as they sometimes fall off their tracks. Some even develop their own unauthorized in-and-out swing, jumping the surly bonds of door guides attached to the floor. We at Fix St Louis can keep these sliders sliding.

Then, there are the doors that think they’re the hippest of them all – the ‘bi-folders’. These are the doors with the accordion-type moves, with each door split and hinged in the middle. But not only can these doors fall off their tracks, they can also get hopelessly stuck in really awkward, partially expanded positions. Yep, Fix St Louis can bring these doors back into the fold, too.

Hmmm. So, maybe the federal government DOESN’T need to do every stinkin’ thing for us. Maybe we DON’T need a federal agency regulating closet doors after all.

No, that’s just crazy talk. But, remember…. when it comes to closet doors, nobody has a better track record than Fix St Louis.

Dr. Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

The OTHER debate featuring hot air, smoke & slime

Well, last night’s debate was quite the spectacle. But it was not the only current debate featuring hot air, smoke, slime, and the possibility of coughing.

The other debate is about the hood duct above your cooktop. Is it OK to have one that just recirculates filtered exhaust back into the kitchen, or do you need one that sends that exhaust into a duct and out of the house?

For a lot of folks, it doesn’t matter where exhaust goes. Between microwaving and trips to McDonald’s, preparing the typical American meal doesn’t require loud sizzles, billows of smoke, and ear-splitting smoke detector alarms, unless the food preparer has really, really screwed-up big time.

On the other hand, there are folks who really love to fry because of taste or ethnic preferences, like traditional Chinese and Indian dishes. For some of this cooking, sending all that smoke outside is an absolute must, not an option.

We have good news for those who cook that way. Whatever appliance or cabinet is mounted above your cooktop now, we have a reasonably-priced option to fit in a duct, and run the exhaust out through the roof or the side of the house.

Sometimes we run the duct straight up, passing through the inside of that over-the-range cabinet. Or, behind the wall. Sometimes we continue its run sideways along the top of the cabinet, while other times we’ll run it through a new or existing soffit. We even know how to install a hood over an island, and then run the duct through the ceiling.

The point is, we can run that exhaust to the outside in just about any situation, and your head will not sizzle, burst into flames, and generate billows of smoke from sticker shock when you hear the price.

Just because our politicians spend all their time (and our money) in smoke-filled rooms, doesn’t mean you have to. Give us a call, and let us help you fry with the eagles!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

We’re Your Ally in the Government’s War on Toilets

It’s been sad to watch the decline of American civilization during my lifetime. I’m referring, of course, to the diminishing quality of the American toilet. And it’s all the government’s fault.

You see, back in 1979 reacting to limited fresh water supplies on the West Coast (only), our all-wise federal government surveyed the planet for solutions. Overlooking the, oh, 97% or so of the world’s water now sitting in our oceans ripe for desalinization, they broke into our bathrooms, pointed one finger at us and another at our toilet tanks and scolded, “Aha! You greedy Americans, how can you be using up to 7 gallons of water in your toilets while 3rd world countries are still digging holes in the ground?”

Since then, the feds have forced toilet manufacturers to reduce their tank capacities by more than 3/4 to a piddly 1.6 gallons today. And since water is to a toilet what electricity is to a light bulb, you can understand why we get so many calls from you guys to fix your toilets – toilets whose effectiveness have never been better than marginal at best. And why divas from Barbra Streisand to Beyoncé now specify 7 gallon tanks in their dressing room contracts (just kidding, I think).

Well, WE at Fix St Louis, at least, are NOT in the tank for the federal government. So, bring us your running toilets, your limp handles, your washed out washers, your leaky fittings, your flappy flappers, and your half-full or half-empty tanks (depending on your disposition).

We’ll be right there with you until we have defeated the DC toilet tyrants. Until you can fire-off a flush heard ’round the world, and unleash a 7 gallon gusher worthy of a free people!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

We’re the Fredbird for Ceiling Fan Fans

St Louisans understand better than anyone that you can still be a big fan even when performance is disappointing and problems seem insurmountable. A helpful trait when your baseball team is 14 games behind the Cubs with only 5 weeks to go, to pick an implausible hypothetical.

Like most of you, we at Fix St Louis are big fans of ceiling fans. They can make you feel comfortable in a room in ways no other heating or cooling devices can, and with a negligible energy cost.

But sometimes, like baseball fans, ceiling fan fans encounter situations where they lose hope that there is any way out. They need someone beside them, like Fredbird, who is constantly smiling, wearing a costume (or uniform), sometimes making fun at their expense, but ensuring them everything is going to be all right. Other than that making fun part, that’s what we at Fix St Louis do.

Here’s a partial list of things Fix St Louis can do with ceiling fans you might not have thought possible.

  • Install a new ceiling fan on ANY ceiling, even in rooms without ceiling lights
  • Stop wobbling blades and replace damaged blades
  • Get the light bulbs on the bottom of your fan to start working again
  • Hang a ceiling fan on an angled ceiling
  • Change the bulbs in a fan that’s two stories off the ground
  • Add a remote control feature to your fan, or restore a broken one
  • Replace or repair a ceiling fan wall switch
  • Install a ceiling fan where there’s a light fixture now
  • Replace your fan when its time for it to retire

What Yogi once said about baseball applies equally to ceiling fans – ‘it ain’t over till it’s over.’ Give Fix St Louis a call and give your ceiling fan hopes a chance.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

7 Life Lessons from a Subdivision Warrior

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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