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#55007 - 08/13/05 08:51 AM The Handyman  
Tiger  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
Crystal Lake, IL USA
I got an emergency call for a business with multiple circuits off. When I arrive, The Handyman describes his attempt to fix the problem.

He thought it was a bad breaker, so he drove to the store to get another. He installed it & it still didn't work, so he went back to the store to return the bad breaker he had just bought. After installing the second new breaker it occurred to him that it might not be the breaker.

Now he touches the circuit wire to the breaker next to it & the lights go on. Then he realizes that more circuits are off. That's when I get the call.

While I'm there he's reaching in the panel with his bare hand and touching things. After taking a giant step backwards away from this guy I'm thinking, "Why is he still alive?".

I'm also wondering how much The Handyman is charging for all these trips to the store in the clueless repair.


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#55008 - 08/13/05 08:57 AM Re: The Handyman  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Dave if that Handyman blows himself up while you are standing there IMO there is a good chance you and your insurance will be held responsible as the 'qualified person' at that location.

I am not saying that is fair, just what could happen.

No one reaches into panels I am working on.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#55009 - 08/13/05 09:23 AM Re: The Handyman  
LearJet9  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 197
Millis, MA USA
We got an emergency call from a regular customer advising they needed an electrician ASAP becaue of an electrical problem, and the FD was on scene! Upon arrival it was obvious there had been a fire. [in the basement] The area burned was at a wall outlet where it appears a radio was plugged in. [melted glob of plastic] Our investigation revealed there was a 'handyman' there trying to fixure out why a CB would not reset. He kept resetting the breaker and it would dead short eveytime. He said he figured if he kept doing that "it would eventually clear itself" Well it did, sort of. The FD and the customer were told what happened and that contractor was terminated on the spot. Another handyman bites the dust!!

#55010 - 08/13/05 11:51 AM Re: The Handyman  
growler  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 65
Marietta, Ga. 30060
Learjet9, When you say that he was " terminated on the spot" and " another handyman bites the dust". Do you mean that he was put against the wall and shot or was he shipped to a Gulag in the far north. If this didn't happen he was back at work before the smoke cleared. If I were you I wouldn't be surprised to see the same handyman working at the same building that he was fired from. The handyman is only a symptom of the problem in this country. The real problem is an addiction to cheap labor at any cost. America has bought into the idea that we have to have cheap goods and services to maintain our way of life, when in reality these same cheap products are destroying our country. when we eliminate the good paying jobs, how many people will be able to afford the services of a electrician and how many out of work maintenance types will be trying to make it as handymen? The problem of the handyman wont go away until we get rid of the cause. Politicians and large corporations are selling the future of our country for a few quick Bucks & Votes, now.

#55011 - 08/13/05 12:51 PM Re: The Handyman  
SolarPowered  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 625
Palo Alto, CA, USA
Growler, I partially agree with you. But, the problem isn't an "addiction to cheap labor", it's a problem with overhead.

I posted the following in another forum in a discussion about a $20,000 bid to rewire someone's house. (I note that I'm an engineer in a private practice, not an electrician.)

I'm thinking about how long it takes to get the $20,000 to pay for that. I make a lot of money, but it would take me at least six months, probably well over a year, to net out $20,000 after taxes and living expenses. I'm no doubt slower than the pros, but I'd be way ahead of the game to take off a month and work full time doing the rewire myself.

If you have to finance the work, then add the interest on top of that. Instead of six months or a year, it's ??? I don't even want to think about it.

(I think there's a political commentary in here somewhere. Time was that you could work at your job for an hour, bring home the full amount of your pay, and use that to pay a professional to do an hour's work for you. Now that the government is "helping" us so much, you have to work a lot of hours just to hire someone to do a single hour's work.)

If I could work for an hour at what I do best, and bring home my full pay for that hour, and then use that money to pay for an hour of a pro's time, who can do the job faster and better than I can, it would be a no-brainer to hire the pro. But the reality is that after income tax, FICA, Worker's Comp, health insurance, liability insurance, disability insurance, employer's FICA "contribuition", etc., the translation from gross dollars it costs to have person "A" on the job to the net dollars that person "B", hired by person "A", ends up with in his pocket, is hugely less. Like maybe 20 cents on the dollar. Or even worse if you figure in California's Worker's Comp.

We need to get government off our backs so that our economy can once again function properly. We were able to do that just fine a 100 years ago--we should be able to do it now, too.

[This message has been edited by SolarPowered (edited 08-13-2005).]

#55012 - 08/13/05 01:20 PM Re: The Handyman  
LearJet9  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 197
Millis, MA USA
Growler - Sad to say your probably right! The manager told me, "they won't be back here again!" So that's 1 location out of a hundred, big deal!

#55013 - 08/13/05 01:48 PM Re: The Handyman  
Larry Fine  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Richmond, VA
Gotta start somewhere.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.

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