Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Handyman and Knowledge of Limitations – Part 2

This post should be called the dog in the backyard or better yet, the dead dog in the backyard.

In my last post, I pointed out how important it is for a handyman to know his limitations. Sometimes you know right away that you are not suited for a particular job. Other times you have to run it through your mind.

Several years ago, I received a call from a regular customer of mine. She had a job that needed to be done and wondered if I could help her. A year or so before, their dog had died. The fairly large dog was buried in the backyard in a plastic tote box, the kind with the snap on lid. Now they were moving and she wanted to take the dog to the new place.

I was glad this request was left on my phone machine so I had some time to think about it before I had to answer. My first thought was, “no way.” Then I started to think about it. I was glad my customer had thought of me. She knew that a handyman does a wide variety of jobs and she had one that needed to be done.

I started to take the job apart. A hole would need to be dug that was much larger than the tote box. Then I started thinking what would be in the hole. Did the box have drainage holes? Would there be a smell? Whose vehicle would it go in for the trip across town?

I had my answer; I was not suited for this job. I gave her a call, grateful to get her answering machine. I thanked her for offering me the job but explained that I would have to pass on it. I tried to be very sensitive, knowing the emotions involved.

Many times, I have customers who are hesitant to ask me to do certain jobs. It may seem too small, strange, or complicated to them. Recently I was able to fix a furnace cover that kept falling off, light a gas fireplace, repair the legs on an old dresser and screen a kitchen vent to keep squirrels out. All of these were jobs where the customer needed something done but didn’t know who to ask. The only bad question is the one left unasked. It’s always a pleasure to see the customers sense of relief when I am able to take care of a job that nagged at them for so long.

How can I be of service to you? I’m never too busy to help you out.


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