Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fence Repair

The wind has been howling all day. It’s been a beautiful day but I know for those with weak fence posts, it has not been a happy day.

I do a lot of fence repair where sections of fence have fallen down or posts are weak. Many times new posts can be set next to the old rotted posts and the fence is as strong as new. The advantage of this type of repair is that it takes less time than digging out the old post and concrete.

Give me a call at 303-232-3347 and we can get your fence back together.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sewer Line Backup

One of the worst things for me is to wake up at night to a plumbing problem. That happened Tuesday. From my bleariness I hear the words that water is coming from the bottom of the basement toilet. I soon figure out that our main sewer line is backed up.

I know the history of the house we have and this is the first time since it was built in 1955 that the sewer has backed up. My dad who had it before us was a plumber. He intentionally didn’t plant trees in the front yard to avoid roots getting into the sewer line.

As a handyman I fix most of our plumbing problems around the house. At the house we moved from six years ago, tree roots caused sewer backups about every six months to a year. Cleaning the sewer was a familiar ritual that I don’t miss.

When one of my customers call with a sewer backup I refer them to Garvin’s Sewer Service. Garvin’s is also a full service plumbing company. They have been around since 1940. I decided to have Garvin’s clean our sewer line because my work day was packed and I couldn’t reschedule the job. I called them around 11:30 pm and was told they could come in about an hour. Their charge is the same night or day. I decided to wait until morning as the line, though backed up, was still draining although very slow.

I have always had good feedback when I refer Garvin’s but this would be the first time I would be using them personally. The plumber arrived around 8 am. My wife reported to me how things went and was well informed by the plumber of what he found. He even told her ahead of time that the bolts holding the toilet down may break when he removed them. Thankfully they didn’t. He even suggested that we should replace the downstairs toilet as it is a style doesn’t flush as well as other types. It was information and not a sales pitch.

When our house was built, the sewer lines were made of a clay material. My dad called it tile pipe. It is very common for the pipe to be damaged by tree roots and settling or other environmental problems can also damage the pipe. The plumber said it was possible that something like this is going on with our line. He said that if the problem persisted we could run a camera through the line to inspect it. He said we didn’t need to do that at this time. I was glad to hear that. Many other companies try to sell the camera inspection with every sewer cleaning job. It is expensive and only needed at certain times.

Garvin’s motto is: We Clean Drains NOT Bank Accounts! I appreciate that in a company. Many sewer cleaning companies have all kinds of hidden charges and are always trying to make the job more expensive. You won’t get that with Garvin’s. I was very happy with their service.

Here is a link to Garvin’s.

Please keep me in mind for your home maintenance and repair jobs. I am fair in my pricing and will never do a job beyond my ability. Call me at 303-232-3347.

I also appreciate referrals. If you like my work, please tell your friends.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Defective Parts

My kitchen faucet was dripping. It's the Delta brand classic with a single handle. I think it is one of the best faucets available. Parts are readily available and it is easy to repair.

With a lifetime warranty I can get free parts from the manufacturer. For most repair jobs this isn't done because it's easier and quicker to pick up new ones at the local hardware.

I carry Delta parts in my inventory. I prefer the name brand ones but sometimes Home Depot is out of those. Such was the case the last time I replenished my supply.

I used the ones I had and planned to call Delta to get warranty parts to replace them. After a simple repair, the faucet still leaked. I made some adjustments and the problem persisted. I wondered what I was doing wrong.

Finally it dawns on me that it might be a defective replacement part; that has happened before. Well, after the Delta brand parts arrived in the mail the problem was solved. The defective part was returned to Home Depot and a lesson was learned.

In the future I will not settle for off-brand parts when precision is required. If this had been a customer's faucet, it would have required a return trip to repair and would have called my competency into question.

My son who is a mechanic has had similar problems. I remember a recent repair where a cooling system part leaked after being replaced. It looked the same as the old part but the o-ring seal was apparently out of spec. To complete the repair the system had to be disassembled again and a new part installed.

The lesson learned is to watch out for off-brand replacement parts. There are times they may work but many times they are not manufactured with the precision required. A problem with them may present immediately or may show up in a premature failure.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Work of a Handyman

The voice on the other end of the phone was sad, but resolute. Her beloved dog had “died a year ago.” It was buried in the back yard in a plastic tote box, “the kind with the snap-on lid,” she said. The family had to move and “naturally,” she blustered, “Ben needed to go with us.”

As a regular customer of mine she knew that I was very versatile. She called, hopeful. After all, a handyman can do anything, right?

I actually thought about this for a while. I called her back, thankful for an answering machine pickup. I explained that I would have to pass. I tried to be sensitive, knowing the emotions involved. For the record, I realize that exhuming animals is not something I do – ever.

And that’s a big part of my challenge – knowing my limitations. Certain things are better left to someone else. I have a simple business plan and I stick to it.

I didn’t start off my life intending to do this for a living. But my janitorial company forced me to work nights, and with a wife and a couple of young children, I knew something had to change.

“Officially” I began to work in the business when a close friend of mine who owned a busy handyman company invited me to join him. But after a couple of years, he left to pastor a church and the company was mine. I missed the friendship and companionship, but contentedly fell into the solitary role. There’s a Latin word for what I do  – sola repaira.

Satisfaction in the fulfillment

My days are spent helping customers cross items off of their home maintenance and repair to-do list. I help single moms, busy couples, and overwhelmed customers with a variety of home tasks. One of the most satisfying things I have been able to do is help senior citizens to stay in their homes. The help I provide them enables them to be able to enjoy their home without having to worry about repairs or maintenance that needs to be done.

After all these years, most repairs are fairly routine, but some require the ability of a magician and the inventory of a junk collector. It’s a good feeling to have customers express their appreciation -- and sometimes amazement -- regarding the finished job.

Many times the task I am working on requires heavy concentration but on many occasions I am able to think about other things. Lately I’ve been reading – and then thinking – about the book of Proverbs.

It’s applicable to what I do every day. Look at Pr. 22:29. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” This tells me when I’m skillful in my work, then I’ll be able to actually command a higher price and have a solid, devoted customer base. I can’t sacrifice the quality of my work just to satisfy those who are looking for the lowest price.

Faith in my workplace

I make my daily work a matter of prayer. It might sound funny to pray before a porcelain throne, but that’s what I do. I’m not afraid to ask for God’s help and the wisdom and knowledge I will need to accomplish what I have to do that day.

As I look back over 26 years in the business, I’ve ridden along with the economy. In just a couple of short years I went from my best year to my worst year. But the one constant has been God as provider. Even in the leanest of times my family and I have been abundantly blessed. With eight children, that has been a lot of food and clothing. God has given me the aptitude to be a handyman and has given me the ability to make a good living.

What more can a man ask for?

Philip Faustin

This story was originally published at The High Calling
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