Handyman developed a thriving business
Someone once told James Schafer of Hillsboro that skilled, manual laborers would one day be the highest paid people in the country. He is beginning to believe this as demand for his services continues to grow.
He began Handyman Services after moving to Hillsboro with his family in 2011.
Demand has grown so much that he had four employees this summer, including son-in-law Conner Embree, 19-year-old son Brendon, and 17-year-old son Nathan, and Tanner Lacey.
“I’m a hands-on person but I’m being forced into a management role,” Schafers said.
He teaches his employees the importance of establishing a good relationship with customers.
“It’s very important to me that people working for me maintain my standards and the trust that customers have in me,” he said. “I teach them to make customers feel comfortable with them.”
He credits his employees with the success his business is seeing.
“I get compliments about how friendly and helpful they are,” he said.
Most of their work is painting, roofing, and sheetrock installation. They also install hardwood floors and ceramic tile and build privacy fences.
Schafer promotes service with a smile and aims to undersell and over-deliver.
“I may be able to get a job done in three days but I say it may take a week,” he said.
He does small plumbing and electrical jobs but will not do a new house because he is not licensed.
“I’m fully capable,” he said, “but I shy away from that because of the legal requirements.”
Schafers renovates bathrooms, installs ceiling fans, and does almost any other thing people ask him to do, but because of the demand, he has become more selective.
“When I walk away from a job, I want it to be pleasing to look at,” he said.
He likes the flexibility being his own boss affords him, and he passes on that privilege to his employees. They don’t get paid when they don’t work.
“Tanner takes a month off every summer for a mission trip to northern Saskatchewan,” he said. “He has to save up for the trip.”
Schafer said he doesn’t focus on the money anymore but rather on being more efficient. He feels that God has given him a mechanical mind and the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems.
He can remember only two times when he encountered situations he couldn’t solve.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from walking into a place where the homeowner is frustrated with something, and I can fix the problem,” he said. “I see their relief and the load that is lifted off their shoulders.”
Last modified Sept. 28, 2017