Handymen seeing fewer repair jobs

Competition among larger contractors is heating up, but jobs for smaller contractors such as handymen seem to be drying up.

According to local home-improvement and repair companies, the faltering economy is starting to hit home. Some are seeing a mild slowdown, attributing it to the season. Others are scrambling for odd jobs to pay bills.

“This whole year has been kind of slow,” said Doug Hine of D&H Construction.

He suspects high fuel prices kept the phone from ringing earlier this year. Now that gas has dropped to around $2 a gallon, he blames his lack of work on the uncertainty stemming from the election.

“You just got to scramble to make ends meet,” Hine said.

To keep afloat, Hine said he will cut cords of wood for cash. Other home-repair specialists say they are having to do work that in the past they would turn down because it was not the type of construction they prefer.

“We have worked really hard to get this business built up into something that will sustain us,” said Christie Frank, who owns Larry’s Handyman Service along with her husband, Larry. “Our concern is that as things get tight, we may have to be a little creative.”

She said people are holding on to their money.

Some home-repair jobs, such as broken pipes, leaking ceilings or faulty furnaces, cannot wait.

“When things are broken, they always need them fixed,” said Gary Kopunec, owner of A Perfect Home.

He said his business has not been affected too harshly by the economy, but he is seeing a slowdown in remodeling jobs.

Dave Neal, of DW Neal Carpentry, said he has seen remodeling jobs slow, but it might be because of the holidays. In recent weeks, homeowners have been willing to pay for necessary fixes, he said, bu not so much for beautification projects.

“There is probably a little reluctancy out there,” Neal said.


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