You should hire hire a handyman when you don't have the expertise, the tools, the time or you simply aren't interested in handling home maintenance and repair chores. Unless you're looking for someone to clean up your yard after a storm, you should hire a professional handyman who knows the right tools and materials needed for the job and has the experience to do the job quickly and safely.
Over the last few years, we've had much stronger winds than usual in many areas. A friend and peer handyman owner shared a story with me tonight which prompted this article about repairing white trim like that shown in the photo. Here's my story and it will make you laugh, I promise … but there's an important message here for all homeowners.
Don't Estimate a Job You Can't Do Yourself
You've probably been to a ball game where a friend keeps yelling at the coach because they (think) know better. It's no different when it comes to home repairs. There are people who have a few tools and think they know everything there is to know about home maintenance. It takes a while to recognize these people on the phone and when we do, we find ways to avoid scheduling work for them as we know they'll never be satisfied.
I learned this with a customer who wanted to replace 5 to 7 interior doors. He told me “… all the carpenters he'd talked to said it would only take 30 minutes per door to mortise out the hinges, the lock set and hang the door.” We had a long conversation until this man gave up because I wasn't backing down on my estimate (provided by one of my technicians) of 1 to 2 hours per door.
How Long Does It Take to Replace One Piece of Coil Stock?
Now I'll give this homeowner credit, as he knew the piece of white trim hanging down wasn't vinyl siding. He knew it was a piece of white metal hanging from the gable end of his home near the peak. This metal is aluminum coil stock that is wrapped over the wood trim (see photo upper right) on vinyl sided homes to protect the wood from sun and rain. Wood is used for it's strength and then it's wrapped so it doesn't require any more maintenance than the vinyl.
Unfortunately the customer also felt it should only take about 20 minutes to replace the damaged piece of aluminum, so he thought the job should cost about $25. This is where homeowners need to learn to trust their handyman as only someone who's done the job can really estimate the amount of time needed. In fact after running my handyman business for almost 8 years, my husband is still!!! yelling at me that these jobs take longer than I sometimes estimate … so he'll enjoy reading this article and seeing that I really do understand this. What I have to remind him about is my guys have all their tools in their van along with basic materials.
Tools and Material for the Job?
The tool you need for this job is called a brake. The name isn't important. What you need to know and appreciate is the tool (comes in 8, 10 and 12 ft sizes) is very large and it can weight up to 200 lbs. With accessories, it costs $1,500 or more. Maybe a third of my technicians even own one and the larger ones need 2 people to hoist on top of a van — I know as I've sometimes provided the second set of hands.
The coil stock comes in 50 foot lengths and fortunately most of our repairs use the flat white stock so we're able to spread the cost over several customers.
Almost forgot the extension ladder needed to reach the repair area. We carry a 32 ft ladder on all of our vans and that's what is usually needed to reach the peak of the roof on a gable end of the house.
How Long Does It Take to Replace A Piece of Coil Stock?
Here are the steps we'd take to do this job, along with approximate times. This is an illustration as any job will have some steps that take longer and other steps that go faster. It's simply the way I estimate and only give customers the overall time estimate.
|Pick up coil stock at office
|Load/unload brake at storage shed
|Set up & put away 32 ft ladder
|5- 10 min
|Inspect damage, verify type of coil and make pattern
|Set up/put away brake at job site
|Bend coil stock according to pattern
|Install new aluminum coil trim
|Clean up job site
|Complete invoice & review work with customer
|Total project estimate
|1.5 – 2 hrs
Oops, one more thing people forget is it takes time to travel to your home and we do pay our technicians for travel time as they often do several jobs per day. The convenience of calling a handyman is they're able to handle several projects in one visit, saving you time and money when you only have to schedule one visit and they have the tools with them although we can't guarantee we'll always have the required materials so sometimes a trip to the store is needed.