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What is a Handy Man: an Interview with Michael Jacobson of Jacobson Handyman

By Michael Jacobson

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Jacobson Handyman Services was started in 2010 as a result of my being laid off after 10 years as a welder/fabricator. At the time, good paying local jobs were hard to come by. I knew that I wanted to find something that I could do on my own but still wasn't sure exactly what that might be. Without a job, the capital to start a business was not very accessible. We had just bought a house a few years prior and I had been making many improvements to it. My neighbors, who are all retired, took notice and any time they needed something fixed they would call on me. After several months of not finding work with any local companies it dawned on me that I was well suited for my own handyman business. I also had the bulk of the tools necessary to get started so my startup costs were minimal. I grew up with a father who was a carpenter and DIY'er so I learned much from him, the most important of which was that there is little you cannot do on your own if you try. After high school I started working at a local door manufacturer and then went into machining and then into welding. Each job taught me a new skill set and a different way to go about solving issues. I enjoy doing a variety of projects and not being tied down to doing the same thing all the time so I tend to take on the small projects that larger companies don't want to spend their time on. This means I may be at three or four different jobs in a single day.

Can you briefly describe what a handyman is?

A handyman is basically a jack of all trades. Some may be licensed in a specialty field but I would guess most are not. They are able to do a variety of jobs ranging from carpentry, electrical, and plumbing to concrete, landscaping, and roofing and more. Basically it is someone you can call on to fix or improve nearly anything around your home or business that doesn't require a licensed professional by code.

What are some of the services you offer?

Generally when asked this question by a customer I will respond "What do you need?" It is easier for me to tell them whether I can address their specific issues than to run down everything I am able to do. For the sake of the article I can give you a partial list but it is by no means all-inclusive. I have experience with minor plumbing and electrical repairs and replacements, carpentry, drywall, painting, roofing, doors, windows, gutter cleaning and repair and installation, deck cleaning and staining, preventive maintenance, flooring, furniture assembly, moving, concrete repair, asphalt sealing, yard work and the list goes on. As I said, it's easier for you to tell me what you need and I can let you know if I can do it.

What are the benefits of your business versus one that specializes in just one area say a plumber?

The primary benefit is time. If you have a To-Do list at home, it likely includes a variety of tasks that are not related. Instead of calling a plumber to fix a leaky faucet and an electrician to replace a light fixture and a painter to freshen up the kitchen walls and then accommodate each of their schedules, you can call a handyman who will take care of the whole list all at once. Plus sometimes you just don't know who you would call. It's easy if it is a plumbing issue or an electric issue, but who are you going to be able to get out there when your gutters are backed up or the weather stripping around your door is coming apart?

Does this make you more costly

Actually it is usually just the opposite. A handyman will generally not have a storefront so there is considerably less overhead thus they can charge less for a quick service call. Where you save really save the money is by not having to pay multiple minimum service charges.

In my case I work primarily on a time and material basis and I will let the customer know if I think it would be cheaper to call a specialist. This happens frequently with appliance repairs. I know that I could likely fix it given the time but a specialist will often have the parts on the truck and since he deals with this all the time he can diagnose the problem more quickly.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

I can be reached by phone at: (920)809-0817 or email: mike@jhsllc.com.

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