A handyman, also known as a handyperson or handyworker, is a person skilled at a wide range of repairs, typically around the home. These tasks include trade skills, repair work, maintenance work, are both interior and exterior, and are sometimes described as "side work", "odd jobs" or "fix-up tasks". Specifically, these jobs could be light plumbing jobs such as fixing a leaky toilet or light electric jobs such as changing a light fixture.
The term handyman increasingly describes a paid worker, but it also includes non-paid homeowners or do-it-yourselfers. Tasks range from minor to major, from unskilled to highly skilled, and include painting, drywall repair, remodeling, minor plumbing work, minor electrical work, household carpentry, sheetrock, crown moulding, and furniture assembly (see more complete list below.) The term handyman is occasionally applied as an adjective to describe politicians or business leaders who make substantial organizational changes, such as overhauling a business structure or administrative division.
Many people can do common household repairs. There are resources on the Internet, as well as do-it-yourself guide books, with instructions about how to complete a wide range of projects. Sometimes the fix-it skill is seen as genetic, and people lacking such skills are said to "lack the handy-man gene". One trend is that fewer homeowners are inclined to do fix-up jobs, perhaps because of time constraints, perhaps because of lack of interest; one reporter commented "my family's fix-it gene petered out before it reached my generation."
Generally the job of paid handyman is low status, a semi-skilled labor job. It's a less prestigious occupation than a specialist such as a plumber, electrician, or carpenter. With the emergence of large national chains, an effort is being made to change that perception, by emphasizing professionalism and the fact that a handyman is actually a technician with multiple skills and a wide range of knowledge. At the same time, unpaid homeowners skilled at repairs are valued for saving money. And handyman tools sometimes become useful in different places: for example, when a proper neurological drill was not available, an Australian doctor used a handyman's drill in 2009 to open a hole in the head of a 13-year-old boy to relieve pressure after a brain injury; the boy's life was saved.
An estimate was that in 2003, the market for home-maintenance and repair spending was up 14% from 2001 to 2003. Another estimate was that the market in the United States was $126 billion and was increasing by about 4% annually. American homes are aging; one estimate was that in 2007, more than half of all homes are older than 25 years. And, as populations worldwide tend to become older, on average, and since increasingly elderly people will be less inclined and able to maintain their homes, it is likely that demand for handyman services will grow.
Many towns have handymen who work part-time, for friends or family or neighbors, who are skilled in a variety of tasks. Sometimes they advertise in newspapers or online. They vary in quality, professionalism, skill level, and price. Contractors often criticize the work of previous contractors, and this practice is not limited to handymen, but to all trades. Handymen have advertised their services through flyers and mailings; in addition, free websites such as Craigslist and SkillSlate help customers and handymen find each other.
In 2009, there were national handyman service firms which handle such nationwide tasks as public relations, marketing, advertising, and signage, but sell specific territories to franchise owners. A franchise contract typically gives a franchise owner the exclusive right to take service calls within a given geographical area. The websites of these firms put possible customers in touch with local owners, which have handymen and trucks. Customers call the local numbers. Typically these firms charge around $100/hour, although fees vary by locality and time of year. In many parts of the world, there are professional handyman firms that do small home or commercial projects which claim possible advantages such as having workers who are insured and licensed. Their branch offices schedule service appointments for full-time and part-time handymen to visit and make repairs, and sometimes coordinate with sub-contractors.
One Lehman Brothers executive, after being let go from the Wall Street firm, bought a Union, New Jersey franchise from a national handyman firm. A franchise was approximately $110,000 with a franchise fee of $14,900, according to a spokesperson for a national handyman franchise.
Some see a benefit of franchising as "entrepreneurship under the safety net of a tried-and-true business umbrella" but forecast a 1.2 percent decrease in franchise businesses during the 2008-2009 recession. In 2005, according to a survey released by the Washington-based International Franchise Association showed 909,000 franchised establishments in the United States employing some 11 million people. Franchises offer training, advertising and information technology support, lower procurement costs and access to a network of established operators.
Franchise handyman firms sometimes pitch clients by asking prospective customers about their unresolved "to-do lists". The firm does odd jobs, carpentry, and repairs. Trends such as a "poverty of time" and a "glut of unhandy husbands" has spurred the business. Technicians do a range of services including tile work, painting, and wallpapering. "One firm" charges $88 per hour. The firm targets a work category which full-fledged remodelers and contractors find unprofitable. A consumer was quoted by a reporter explaining the decision to hire one firm: "'I couldn't find anyone to come in and help me because the jobs were too small', said Meg Beck of Huntington, who needed some painting and carpentry done. She turned to one franchise firm and said she liked the fact that the service has well-marked trucks and uniformed technicians and that a dispatcher called with the names of the crew before they showed up." There are indications that these businesses are growing. There are different firms operating.
Other competitors include online referral services. In addition, some large home centers offer installation services for products such as cabinets and carpet installation. Sometimes homeowners contact a professional service after trying, but failing, to do repair work themselves; in one instance, a Minneapolis homeowner attempted a project but called a technician to finish the project, and the overall cost was substantial.
How well do the franchise chains perform? One Wall Street Journal reporting team did an informal assessment by hiring handymen all over the United States and asking them to fix a wide range of problems, from a relatively routine leaky faucet to a sticky door. The reporter concluded that "with few licensing requirements and standards for the industry, prices are all over the board." One quote was ten times as large as another. Further, the reporter concluded "A big corporate name is no guarantee of quality or speedy service." One corporate firm took three weeks to fix a stuck door. Service varied from spotty to good, with complaints about unreturned phone calls, service people standing on dining room chairs, leaving holes between wood planking, but liked getting multiple jobs done instead of just one. Customers liked handymen wearing hospital booties (to avoid tracking dirt in houses). The reporter chronicled one experience with repairing a water-damaged ceiling. A franchise firm fixed it for $1,530; a second (non-franchise local handyman) fixed a similar ceiling for $125. The reporter preferred the second worker, despite the fact that he "doesn't have a fancy van -- or carry proof of insurance". Tips for selecting a good handyman include: ask questions, get written estimates on company stationery, make sure handymen guarantee their work, pay with credit cards or checks because this provides an additional record of each transaction, check references and licenses, review feedback about the contractors from Internet sites. To find a competent worker, one can seek referrals from local sources such as a school or church or office park, to see if a staff handyman does projects on the side, as well as ask friends for referrals; a general contractor might have workers who do projects on the side as well. Further, one can try out a new handyman with easy projects such as cleaning gutters to see how well they perform.
Generally, in the United States, there are few legal issues if an unpaid homeowner works on a project within their own home, with some exceptions. Some jurisdictions require paid handymen to be licensed and/or insured. New Jersey, for example, requires all handymen who work in for-profit businesses serving residential and commercial customers, to be registered and insured. Often handymen are barred from major plumbing, electrical wiring, or gas-fitting projects for safety reasons, and authorities sometimes require workers to be licensed in particular trades. However, minor plumbing work such as fixing water taps, connecting sinks, fixing leaks, or installing new washing machines, are usually permitted to be done without licensing. Many handymen are insured under a property damage liability policy, so that accidental property damage from negligence or accidents are covered.
The handyman image recurs in popular culture. There have been songs about handymen recorded by Elvis Presley in 1964, Del Shannon in 1964, James Taylor in 1977. There are femme-fatale TV characters who fall for handymen. Handymen have been portrayed in books and films, generally positively, as do-gooder helpful types, but not particularly smart or ambitious. In a book by author Carolyn See called The Handyman, a handyman is really an aspiring but discouraged artist who transforms the lives of people he works for, as well as having sexual encounters with some of his clients, and his experiences improve his artistic output. The book suggests handymen discover "the appalling loneliness of the women who call him for help" whose needs are sometimes "comic," sometimes "heartbreaking," and deep down "sexual". A 1980 movie called The Handyman was about a carpenter-plumber who was "good at what he does" but is "too honest and trusting," and gets taken advantage of by "women who find him handsome and understanding;" the movie earned negative reviews from critic Vincent Canby. Other movies have used a rather tired formula of sexy-handyman meets bored-housewives, such as The Ups and Downs of a Handyman, a 1975 movie in which "Handsome Bob also finds he's a fast favorite with the local housewives, who seem to have more than small repairs on their minds." In Canada, there's a television show called Canada's Worst Handyman which is a reality show in which handyman contestants try their best on jobs in order to not be labeled worst handyman. Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, which aired 1991 to 1999. On the children's television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Handyman Negri was one of the characters residing in The Neighborhood of Make-Believe, as well as the neighborhood Mister Rogers resides in. Handy Manny is an American/Hispanic preschool television show that airs on Disney Junior and stars a handy man cartoon character named Manny. The Belgian comics and media franchise The Smurfs depicts Handy Smurf with traditional handyman's accoutrements, such as overalls, carpenter's pencil and work hat. Happy Tree Friends also has an orange beaver named Handy who is a handyman.
The list of projects which handymen can do is extensive, and varies from easy-to-learn tasks which take little time such as changing a light bulb, to extensive projects which require multiple steps, such as kitchen remodeling. Here is a partial list:
Note: this is a partial list
HELP, IT'S BROKEN! A Fix-It Bible for the Repair-Impaired. By Arianne Cohen; READYMADE: How to Make (Almost) Everything: A Do-It-Yourself Primer. By Shoshana Berger and Grace Hawthorne.
the house painter who said that the prep work and the power washing our handyman had done would have to be done all over again; the handyman who regularly announced that none of those we had engaged (except his uncle) knew what they were doing
In early 2009, ... Ringwelski launched SkillSlate, a site that organizes handymen, dogwalkers, massage therapists and other solos through profiles and ratings the same way dating sites corral singles.
All American Handyman is a HGTV reality competition show between a group of handymen and women. The show is hosted Molly Culver, and judged by Mike Holmes and Scott McGillivray. It is a spin-off of Handyman Superstar Challenge, with similar challenges. A revamped Handyman Superstar Challenge is based on All American Handyman, called Canada's Handyman Challenge.Andrew Younghusband
Andrew Younghusband (born December 14, 1970 in Canberra, Australia) is a Canadian television personality, writer and journalist best known as the host of the reality shows Canada's Worst Driver, Canada's Worst Handyman, Don't Drive Here and Tougher Than It Looks, as well as the documentary series Tall Ship Chronicles. He was born in Canberra, Australia while his father was attending university there. He moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada with his family in 1978 at the age of seven.Canada's Handyman Challenge
Canada's Handyman Challenge is a Canadian reality game show. The series premiered on January 10, 2012, on HGTV Canada. Canada's Handyman Challenge is the successor to HGTV's previous series, Handyman Superstar Challenge, similar in format to the All American Handyman sister show.Canada's Worst Driver
Canada's Worst Driver is a Canadian television series on Discovery Channel, based on Britain's Worst Driver and is part of the Worst Driver television franchise. The series is produced by Proper Television, whose president, Guy O'Sullivan, was the director of the original Britain's Worst Driver series until its cancellation in 2003. O'Sullivan served as executive producer of Canada's Worst Driver until his death in April 2017, doubling as executive producer of sister series Canada's Worst Handyman until its cancellation in 2011. As such, Canada's Worst Driver is considered to be the production company's flagship show and, with 14 seasons aired as of December 2018, the longest-running of any Worst series to date. The series is also aired dubbed in French in Canada as Les Pires Chauffards Canadiens on the Z channel. Until 2011, when Canada's Worst Handyman was cancelled and later replaced in 2015 with Blood, Sweat & Tools, Canada's Worst Driver and Canada's Worst Handyman were the two highest-rated programs on Discovery Channel Canada.Canada's Worst Handyman
Canada's Worst Handyman was a Canadian television series on Discovery Channel, based on a one-off 2004 episode of Britain's Worst DIYer. The show was produced by Proper Television, whose president, Guy O'Sullivan, was the director of the original Britain's Worst Driver series until its 2003 cancellation and shared its production with Canada's Worst Driver, including executive producer and host Andrew Younghusband. Like sister series Canada's Worst Driver, there have been similar adaptations in other English-speaking countries, in the United States in 2011, with America's 10 Worst DIYers and in Britain with a Britain's Worst 2005 spin-off series, Britain's Worst DIYer. Six seasons of the show have been completed. On January 10, 2013, the series' Facebook page posted a statement that the show is "on hiatus with an unknown date for relaunch." In June 2014, Discovery Channel Canada started canvassing for couples at www.badhandyman.ca. The new version of the show airs in 2015 under the title Blood, Sweat & Tools, featuring couples instead of individual handymen.Eve and the Handyman
Eve and the Handyman is a 1961 American comedy film written and directed by Russ Meyer. The film stars Eve Meyer and Anthony-James Ryan. The film was released on May 5, 1961, by Pad-Ram Enterprises.It was Meyer's follow up to The Immoral Mr. Teas, which had been very successful.Handyman Superstar Challenge
Handyman Superstar Challenge (also referred to as Superstar Handyman Challenge from the show's first season logo) is a television game show on HGTV Canada, hosted by Karen Bertelsen. The show seeks to find the best handyman in Canada, with the winner originally being awarded the opportunity to host a show on HGTV in the first season, though no prize is explicitly mentioned in subsequent years. However, the winner of Handyman Superstar Challenge is traditionally given a guest appearance in a Mike Holmes television series (Holmes on Homes or Holmes Inspection; Holmes in New Orleans did not feature any Handyman Superstar Challenge contestants).Handyman Superstar Challenge was filmed at the Evergreen Brick Works facilities in Toronto, Ontario, with episodes taking place on consecutive days.
A US spin-off of the series was created in 2010, to air on HGTV (USA), called All American Handyman. "Handyman Superstar Challenge" was replaced by a successor series on HGTV Canada called Canada's Handyman Challenge.Jack (device)
A jack, screwjack or jackscrew is a mechanical device used as a lifting device to lift heavy loads or to apply great forces. A mechanical jack employs a screw thread for lifting heavy equipment. A hydraulic jack uses hydraulic power. The most common form is a car jack, floor jack or garage jack, which lifts vehicles so that maintenance can be performed. Jacks are usually rated for a maximum lifting capacity (for example, 1.5 tons or 3 tons). Industrial jacks can be rated for many tons of load.Jillian Harris
Jillian Harris (born December 30, 1979) is a Canadian television personality and interior designer. She is best known for appearing on the television series The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Love It or List It Vancouver. She has also appeared on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Canada's Handyman Challenge, and The Bachelorette Canada.Joe Negri
Joseph Harold Negri (born June 10, 1926) is an American jazz guitarist and educator. He appeared on the 1959 children's television program Adventure Time.
Negri appeared, along with pianist and fellow Pennsylvanian Johnny Costa, on the 1954 TV series, 67 Melody Lane, hosted by Ken Griffin. They played two songs: "After You've Gone" and "Little Brown Jug" the latter accompanied by Griffin at the organ. He also recorded with the Three Suns.
He appeared as himself and as "Handyman Negri" in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He has taught jazz guitar at Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.Judge Edward Aaron
Judge Edward Aaron (born 1923) was an African American handyman in Birmingham, Alabama who was abducted by seven members of Asa Earl Carter's independent Ku Klux Klan group on Labor Day, September 2, 1957.Aaron, who was mildly developmentally disabled, was abducted by Klan members who beat him with an iron bar, carved the letters "KKK" into his chest, castrated him with a razor, and poured turpentine on his wounds. They then put him in the trunk of a car and drove him away from the scene, finally dumping him near a creek. Police found Aaron, near death from blood loss, and took him to Hillman Hospital.Two of the six Klansmen turned state's evidence and received five-year sentences in exchange for testifying against the other four men. Those four were convicted and received 20-year sentences at Kilby Prison. However, when George Wallace became governor of Alabama, he pardoned the four convicted men, but not the two who had turned state's evidence, with no explanation.The 1988 film Mississippi Burning references the story of Judge Aaron, but gives his name as Homer Wilkes.Mike Holmes
Michael James Holmes (born August 3, 1963) is a Canadian builder/contractor, businessman, investor, television host, and philanthropist. Beginning with Holmes on Homes and subsequent shows, he rescues Toronto, Ontario, area homeowners from renovations gone wrong. He continued in his successor TV series, Holmes Inspection. He is also a judge on HGTV's show Handyman Superstar Challenge and its American counterpart All American Handyman with Scott McGillivray.Planet Sketch
Planet Sketch is a British-Canadian animated television series produced by Aardman Animations and Decode Entertainment. The show first aired on CITV from September 10, 2005, and later began airing on Teletoon starting on November 19, 2005.Scammell
Scammell Lorries Limited was a British manufacturer of trucks, particularly specialist and military off-highway vehicles, between 1921 and 1988.Scott McGillivray
Scott McGillivray (born April 7, 1978) is a Canadian businessman, investor, television host, author, and educator.
McGillivray is the award winning host and executive producer of hit series Income Property, a home renovation show on HGTV Canada and the DIY Network (Canada); and HGTV and DIY Network in the United States. He is a judge on HGTV's All American Handyman with Mike Holmes and Canada's Handyman Challenge along with Mike Holmes, Bryan Baeumler and Paul Lafrance.The Family Handyman
The Family Handyman is an American home-improvement magazine, owned by Trusted Media Brands, Inc.The Thing That Couldn't Die
The Thing that Couldn't Die is a 1958 American black-and-white horror film produced and directed by Will Cowan and starring William Reynolds, Andra Martin, Jeffrey Stone, and Carolyn Kearney. Based on an original screenplay by David Duncan for Universal Pictures, it was released in the US on a double bill in May 1958 with the British Hammer Films classic Horror of Dracula.The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman is a 1976 British comedy film directed by John Sealey and starring Barry Stokes, Sue Lloyd and Bob Todd. Its alternative titles at various times have been Confessions of a Handyman, Confessions of an Odd-Job Man and The Happy Housewives.Trusted Media Brands
Trusted Media Brands, Inc. (TMBI), formerly known as the Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (RDA), is an American multi-platform media and publishing company that is co-headquartered in New York City and White Plains, New York. The company was founded by husband and wife DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace in New York City in 1922 with the first publication of Reader's Digest.The company's brands include Reader's Digest, Taste of Home, The Family Handyman, Simple & Delicious, Birds & Blooms, Reminisce, Country, EnrichU, and others. At its peak in 1973, the flagship magazine had over 30 million subscribers and continues to be published in 30 countries. As of 2016, its portfolio of brands garners 53 million unique online visitors and 40 million print readers per month.