I became a home owner last year, which has so far been simultaneously horrible and awesome. I’ve loved being able to paint my walls; I’ve hated dealing with my HOA (and I’m on the HOA board!). I’ve met some really great neighbors…and some really crappy ones.
And I enjoy being able to repair things myself without getting a landlord’s approval — except when it means hiring a handyman. Handymen are expensive, they show up in “time windows” that span eras, and sometimes, worst of all, they don’t even solve your problem. That’s what happened to me last week.
I have a leaky window that no amount of caulk has been able to fix. After hours of Googling the issue, it looked like I’d just have to replace it.
I lined up appointments to get bids, and when a handyman from a big fix-it company down the street stopped by one evening to give me an estimate, I explained what I wanted. My budget wasn’t huge, I said, so I was just looking for a basic replacement, nothing fancy, maybe a step up from my current grade if I could afford it. Mostly, I just needed a window that didn’t leak.
It didn’t matter though. I could have told him anything — recounted the entire plot of an episode of “Mad Men,” read him my favorite brownie recipe, sang the “Macarena” song (using the words I know and the ones I make up) — because he didn’t hear a word I said.
Instead, he proceeded to tell me about a great custom window he likes to use and all its attributes — energy efficiency, quadruple lifetime warranty, custom fit, blah, blah, blah. After a while, it was my turn to stop listening because it was clear this wasn’t the product I wanted.
I stopped him after a little bit and told him that didn’t sound like it was in my budget right now. Was there something cheaper in his 5-inch-thick binder of options? He stared at me for a second and then told me more about the custom window. I wondered if miming or semaphore would be a more effective method of communicating with this guy.
When we arrived at estimate time, to my non-surprise, his quote was more than double what I’d budgeted for the project. Looks like someone missed Sales 101, I thought — right before I showed him the door.