‘Virtual Handyman’ Service Offers Help With Home Repairs – NBC Bay Area
Many families are still reluctant to let anyone into their homes for fear of catching COVID-19.
But what can you do when something breaks and you need an expert to fix it?
A “virtual handyman” service called Fixer could be the answer – and it could help you save some money too.
Fixer offers expert one-on-one coaching for home improvement projects without anyone entering your house or apartment.
Gary Jones, an Oakland homeowner, works in IT. His daily job is to clear clogs in the virtual pipeline, but recently the actual pipes in his house had to be taken into account.
“I was stuck doing plumbing,” Jones said. “I’m usually a bit handy, but there was no way I could find out.”
Jones needed an expert, but a family member who lives with him is at high risk for COVID-19 so letting someone in was not an option. Jones tried something new: a virtual expert.
“The idea of learning the process is better for me than hiring someone who just does it and actually has nothing. and next time that happens I can just find out for myself, ”said Jones.
Mike Evans founded Fixer as an “on-demand handyman” company that hired and trained its own repair professionals. When the pandemic broke out, customers were reluctant to have workers in their homes, so Fixer added a virtual service to its toolbox.
“We had to figure out how to do this in a contactless way,” said Evans. “Since we had built a training center ourselves, it was a pretty easy transition to train our fixers and train customers at home.”
Customers connect to a “fixer” via video conference. The fuser then guides the customer through the steps of the repair while closely watching the customer’s camera. The first five minutes are free; After that, it’s $ 15 every 15 minutes, with discounted rates if the call lasts more than an hour.
Most fixer calls take less than 60 minutes, according to Evans.
“We will walk you through things so you don’t make things worse,” he said.
The Fixer website states that the repair trucks have been “checked, checked and trained”. It’s a company in Illinois. Do the craftsmen need a California license to help you? The California Contractors State License Board told us, No, they don’t.
What if something goes wrong? Fixer says it’s bonded and insured.
We asked the national union about plumbers and service technicians what they thought of virtual craftsmen. We didn’t get an answer.
Evans says a simple do-it-yourself guide is often enough to get a job done.
“It turns out that with a bus and a screwdriver you can fix most things that can go wrong in your home,” he said.
Jones said he spent about $ 40 on his fixer session. He estimates it’s at least $ 100 cheaper than hiring a lumberjack.
“I think they are worth trying even if they don’t work because you still went to great lengths before hiring a professional,” said Jones.
If you are hiring a virtual handyman, Jones recommends preparing the problem area before putting the meter into service: open doors, clean up clutter, remove basic screws; that kind of thing.
Also, bring some light from a lamp or bright flashlight to the problem area so that the fuser can clearly see the problem and speed up video diagnosis.
Finally, have your tools ready. Don’t waste your time and money running into the garage.
If you need to hire a contractor, plumber, electrician, or other service technician, always check their license with the California Contractors State Licensing Board first.