Published on: January 23, 2014
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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
Y'know, I spend a lot of time on the internet, spend a lot of time reading about internet companies and social media, and even so, sometimes I get a nice surprise about how technology, when combined with a little marketing moxie, goes a long way toward making life easier.
That's what happened to me recently. I've mentioned on MNB from time to time that I'm DIY challenged - I'm not very handy to have around the house, and my expertise begins and ends with changing lightbulbs. (And there are a couple of recessed light fixtures here in the house that I find a little challenging.) I have a friend who used to come over and help me do stuff; all I had to do was call him and tell him I'd gotten in some new beer, and he'd come over with his tool box But he moved to Florida, and since he did, things have been sort of falling apart around here.
Recently though, I resolved to do something about it. Not by taking home repair lessons, but by going to Angie's list, paying for a membership, and looking for recommendations that would help me find someone to help me get some things done. It took me about two minutes to identify a local business called Mr. Handyman that seemed to have great references, and so I sent them an email.
Within a couple of hours, I had a call back, and I explained how I'd found them and that I had a small carpentry project that needed to be done and, if it went well, I'd have other things for them to do. The fellow I spoke to explained that while he understood the notion of an audition, it would be more economical for me to come up with a list of things to do. They charge by the hour, but the fees get lower with every passing hour, and if the list was such that it took a few visits, the lower fees would apply.
That sounded good to me, and a couple of days later, Jimmy showed up - early. And he knocked off about six or seven projects in about three hours, even finding ways he could do the carpentry project that would save me money on both materials ands labor. He was great - easy to work with, very communicative, and he made the visit stress-free. It cost me about $300, more than a six pack of beer, but some of the best money I've ever spent.
That speaks a lot for my notion that smart businesses end up being more than a source of product, but a resource for expertise … and that's what Mr. Handyman now is for me. I'm already pulling together a second list of things to do, and I'll ask for Jimmy without hesitation. They've become a go-to resource for me.
One other note. It ends up that Mr. Handyman is a franchise … and the local franchise was bought by a guy who was not a DIY expert himself, but rather a refugee from the corporate world who knew that he could provide the marketing expertise and then find accomplished contract workers - like the incomparable Jimmy - to do the actual work. It may not be curing cancer, but I think it's brilliant.
This may not sound like an epiphany on the way to Damascus, but that's sort of what both Angie's List and Mr. Handyman have provided for me.
Back in the old days, one would've gotten a reference from a neighbor, and just hired a local fellow to do the work. But the old days are over, and customers are finding new ways to get recommendations, obtain products and services, and finally, turn us into advocates for these new businesses. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.
Anyway, that's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: