What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
I typically estimate based on past experience with similar jobs. Since I am just starting out in Boulder, I plan to offer low prices for the next few months to build up new customers, reviews, etc. I am currently estimating my fees to about 20/hr to pay my bills.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Firstly, I am careful to respect the customers home and privacy. I like to get to know my customers with a quick chat on the phone so everyone is comfortable. I will also ask questions about the job ahead of the visit so that I have all of the tools / materials needed.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have worked in many different capacities during my handyman career. I started with window cleaning, then moved into other types of cleaning projects which got me eventually doing yard cleanup. More landscaping jobs followed and I cleaned lots of gutter. With all of my experience with the ladder-work, it seemed natural to move into painting. I spent years as a painter and then gradually build up carpentry skills, especially drywall but also demolishing, new wall construction, trim work and door mounting. Electrical experience came as I took an electrical apprentice job. Other work in my past includes fixture installations, furniture assembly and house moves.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I always fell back into this line of work whenever I was in between work assignments. I started work as a software engineer consultant. Now 55 years old, I am looking to get established in the Boulder area as a handyman. I am new to Thumbtack still and never quite had the time to devote to working this platform but turning my attention to gaining customers, collecting customer reviews and building my network.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Having moved to Boulder just over a year ago, I started by working with an established businesses, Schlepps Painting and DHS Electric. I recognized that it would be difficult to get my own business started without a reputation in town so hoping Thumbtack might help me get started out on my own now. Before moving to Boulder I worked in Cape Cod as Jim’s Home and Landscape Services working routine lawn maintenance, painting, and odd jobs mostly word-of-mouth. This is difficult to establish here without knowing many people.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I enjoyed Window Cleaning actually. There is a zen-like motion to the practice (think wax-on, wax-off.) My most favorite projects were window cleaning projects. But I enjoy the challenge of something new and/or odd. All of my favorite projects involved active customer involvement. I enjoy jobs when I work with a customer that is invested in the project and wants to build a solid relationship with a tradesman / handyman for possible future jobs.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Using the computer, its easy to browse reviews. But with popularity comes price increases usually. If you want to save money, you can try someone who is new, who wants to gain some work history. Before you commit to someone new, I would have a phone conversation with them to get comfortable. I guess I would look for maturity and integrity. With that usually comes responsibility, timeliness, and cleanliness.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Have a budget in mind. If your starting a paint job, definitely get an understanding of paint cost (it surprises people usually how expensive paint can be.) Some painters can get much better prices on paint so you might want to check in with them for possible savings.