Prior to moving to northern Florida, I lived in the greater Memphis area of Tennessee for over 4 years. And I talked to a lot of homeowners there. What amazes me is the sheer volume of horror stories I hear from homeowners about hiring someone to work on their home, from contractors down to part-time odd-job guys. Everyone's got one, or so it seems to me.
Now, this is a skewed viewpoint on my part, I recognize that. If a homeowner is contacting me for an estimate, they haven't been happy with anyone else up to that point. If they have found someone they've been happy with, no doubt they DON'T call anyone else, and hang on to that craftsman or contractor jealously, so I would never hear about the other quality guys out there.
And I know there are other good guys out there working, both in Tennessee and here in Florida. There has to be, or we'd all be living in caves.
One of the main objections I had to overcome when I started my business there though was "Oh, you're a handyman? Ah, that means you're a dumb**s." (Pardon the French.)
I had to build up a list of references who would vouch that no, I'm not a dumb**s, and yes, I do what I say I will.
Here's the thing though, I can guarantee that anyone in the home repair, home improvement, or home remodeling industry in this area has gone through a similar learning experience and growth curve in their business. They understand from experience the value of the customers they've taken care of, and who are willing to act as a reference for them. And they cultivate this list by continually doing good work.
It's a point of survival in this area.
Unless you can prove to a homeowner otherwise, you automatically fall into the "less-than-qualified" bin. You climb out through the word of people who will vouch for you.
So guess what? Your job as a homeowner becomes easier. The good guys WILL have references. If the guy you're talking to doesn't have a long list of references, then you're justified in assuming he's a....well, we've covered that already. ; ^>
I know I keep harping about this on my website here, but it matters just as much here in Florida as it did in Tennessee. And the good guys know it. They will have references. Just keep moving on until you find one of the guys that do.
Wishing you a happy and healthy home,