The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Home Elecrtical Concerns

Here is how you know you need an electrician to visit your home

If you have one or more outlets that have loose prongs. They will be outlets that when you plug in your appliance the plug does not want to stay in the outlet, it droops or falls out.

If you have a light switch that arcs when it is turned on. Sometimes it may spark and sometimes it will make an arcing sound. Too much build-up of carbon can lead to resistance in the switch and can cause overheating and possibly, fires.

If you have lights that dim when another appliance is turned on. An example may be when you run the microwave, vacuum cleaner or the air conditioning cycles on. If the lights dim there could be an overload, or low voltage on that circuit which could lead to shorter-lived equipment or appliances, light bulbs and possibly a fire.

If you have a light fixture that you consistently replace the bulbs more so than other fixtures. It could mean an under voltage situation or an overloaded circuit breaker.

If you have a GFCI outlet in the house that keeps tripping, forcing you to reset it. GFCI outlets are the ones with the manual reset switch on the outlet itself. A GFCI outlet is required in bathrooms or in outlets where an appliance could come in contact with water. Others may be protected in the breaker box.

If you have more than 2 extension cords currently in use in the home because you do not have enough outlets for all of the fixtures or appliances you wish to have.

If you have any outlets with a charred face or burnt-marks. It may end up only being cosmetic but it may be worth it to have it checked out.

If you have any wires that are sticking out from electrical boxes or cover plates. All wiring should be concealed in conduit, in the panel, or box or in the “romex” sheath (2 or more wires in a thin, white plastic covering in use in most homes today).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Contractors - Know Who You Are Hiring

Each year Mr. Handyman receives calls from distraught homeowners stating they were taken for a lot of money and left hanging. They had hired a "fly-by-night' contractor without checking up on the company, individual or references.

Many homeowners only look at the lowest price. Let's face it, we live in a "Wal-Mart" world where we are conditioned to associate lowest price with a good value. In reality it almost never works out that way.

How do you check out a particular contractor?

First of all is he an individual or a company? You can follow the advice and tips from one of our previous posts to perform a general reference check on him/his company. See the blog post at:

Second, you can ask for and check up on references. Ask him for a list of several other customers he has serviced and ask that it be similar work for which you are requesting him to do for you. If he is a thorough and honorable businessman he will have a growing list of satisfied customers who will gladly provide a good reference.

Third, follow up with the local chapter of the BBB. The BBB is a well-known business rating service that ensures a good rating for businesses that follow basic general rules of behavior and interfacing with their customers. Angie’s List is another rating/ranking service but beware, I have seen many reviews on there that seem more like an ad for a particular company than an actual review by a consumer. When the rating includes details the person/company CAN do for you rather than what they ACTUALLY did for them, beware.

Fourth, look at their online presence. If they offer a website, check it out but remember what's on the website is information they want you to know about them. Look for a third-party rating service that validates customer reviews. Many unscrupulous companies sugar-coat their ratings and have their parents/siblings rate them for a better “presence" on the web.

View this video and be prepared. It was an investigation by MSNBC a while ago but is a pretty good idea of the types of contractors out there lurking.
Fifth, hire a professional. They may be slightly more expensive up front but will guarantee their work and actually cost a bit more because they do the work the right way the first time. There is a reason others quote you a cheaper price. What are you really getting? What will be left out?

Mr. Handyman is Licensed, Bonded and Insured for your protection as well as ours. We perform background checks and drug screen our employees. We hire professional that have been in the trades for over 15 years and we stand behind their workmanship. Mr. Handyman has a third-party validate our ratings and reviews. Systino emails out a survey after the work is completed and compiles that data for us and displays it for you to see. We do not manipulate the data in any way. We also receive ratings on Service Magic that we cannot modify. We do all of this because we are professional and want to be honorable to you. Mr. Handyman is a proud member of the BBB and has only fielded one complaint in our four years of being in business, which was corrected right away. One complaint in over 5400 jobs/projects in four years in this type of business is an awesome feat!

The next time you have a project, call us and see why over 65% of our revenue each year is from repeat and referral business!