Goodbye, Proper-hand Handyman  –

You understand how when you’ve gotten a case of meals poisoning, you’ve gotten a intestine hunch of the offending meals?

That’s the way it was on Sept. 12, after I obtained a tense name from Corey, my right-hand handyman, who apologized for leaving work earlier than he’d completed that afternoon’s mission, then defined that his abrupt departure was not his concept.

Corey, Doni’s former right-hand handyman.

Slightly, Corey was informed to cease work at my home by an enforcement consultant of the Contractors State License Board’s fraud group who’d pushed up from Sacramento, got here onto my property (shortly after I’d left, by the best way) and snapped outdoors pictures of Corey changing an $89 Dwelling Depot lavatory window in an present opening.

These pictures are the supposedly incriminating proof.

Then the fraud group member – Jason Stoddard – got here onto my porch and requested Corey to let him into my home for a go searching. Corey informed Stoddard he wasn’t licensed to permit anybody in the home whereas I wasn’t there.

Regardless of that, Corey stated Stoddard appeared by way of the open door and commented upon all of the work “clearly” being executed, and accused Corey of doing it. Corey defined he was simply an hourly handyman who labored on many tasks round the home. He assured Stoddard that I’d employed a lot of licensed contractors, which is an understatement.

Let me simply pause right here and record the licensed contractors I’ve collectively spent tens of 1000’s of on since I purchased this practically 80-year-old home in July and started speedy transforming: a licensed electrical contractor, a licensed plumbing contractor, a licensed drywall contractor, a licensed pest-repair contractor, a licensed heating-and-air conditioning contractor, and two – rely them two – licensed basic contractors. Plus, I’ve consulted with a licensed panorama contractor, a licensed heavy tools operator and a licensed flooring contractor. Final however not least, I employed a licensed architect who created an engineered plan so I might get a allow to deliver mild and air and area to my kitchen.

So proper now, no person understands the necessity for licensed contractors and professionals greater than I do.

However I additionally acknowledge the necessity for a handyman (or handywoman); somebody to do random crucial jobs that – let’s face it – many licensed contractors wouldn’t contact.

Right here’s a pattern: Corey ripped out pet-urine-stained carpets. Corey eliminated rat-infested soffets and outdated kitchen cupboards. In triple-digit temperatures Corey crawled below the home and climbed into the attic to dam rat entrances. Corey loaded my rented Metropolis of Redding 30-yard drop field stuffed with demo materials, a lot of it byproducts of the licensed contractors working at my home. Corey made dump runs and picked up supplies on the ironmongery store.  Corey eliminated bathrooms. Corey minimize down a small useless oak tree on the again of my lot. Corey eliminated a pair of thin, messy cherry-plum timber from the entrance yard. Corey sanded an outdated Douglas fir flooring.

The record goes on and on. All have been little tasks, none of which have been value various hundred in labor and supplies every. What’s extra, that is all above-board work. Nothing below the desk. Corey and I agreed that on the finish of the 12 months he’d obtain a 1099, that this was taxable earnings as an impartial contractor. (On this reference, “contractor” is an IRS time period.)

I positioned two calls to Stoddard earlier than he returned my name. I informed Stoddard it was unlucky he’d made the pointless journey from Sacramento to Redding, as a result of there was some big misunderstanding. This all might have been simply resolved with a cellphone name to me, the home-owner, not a gottcha mini-sting on a handyman who works tougher than anybody I’ve ever recognized. Whoever turned Corey in was sorely mistaken.

I used to be sure the criticism was meant to harm me, not Corey. And though I’m simply as sure of the jerk’s identification, that doesn’t assist Corey, or me.

All that apart, I used to be satisfied this could possibly be cleared up after I informed Stoddard every part I simply informed you.

I knowledgeable Stoddard that as a handyman, Corey wanted the work, and as an proprietor/builder, I wanted my handyman to do all these odds and ends.

Stoddard was 100-percent inflexible. He insisted that Corey had dedicated fraud, that Corey’s “violation” was “appearing as a contractor” by incomes greater than $500 since July doing work round my home. I disagreed and defined that Corey was by no means accountable for anybody large mission (in contrast to all of the licensed contractors, above), quite, Corey’s job was to deal with a bunch of small duties. The one factor these small tasks have in frequent was they have been all on my property, they usually have been largely sizzling, soiled, generally disgusting little jobs.

I defined that Corey is an impartial handyman, that he has his personal instruments, he units his personal hours and he works for others moreover me. He’s executed work like this his complete life. In actual fact, Corey labored for me for seven years on my Backyard Tract home tasks, like turning a pair of outdated bathtubs into stunning raised herb gardens, and making a sliding barn door for an outside storage space, and placing cup hooks beneath my eaves for Christmas lights. I rent Corey as a result of he does nice work, however greater than that, I like and belief him utterly.

Stoddard was unmoved. He stated that collectively, Corey’s work was one mission, and by regulation, as an unlicensed handyman, he can’t be paid greater than $500 – labor and supplies. He stated that Corey was welcome to get his contractors license. The factor is, Corey has no need to be a contractor. He’s completely satisfied doing what he’s doing.

Stoddard stated that moreover, due to the “clearly” massive monetary scope of my “mission”, from right here on out something executed on my home would require a licensed contractor, irrespective of how small.

You’ve seen my home. It’s modest. I’m not a rich particular person.

Doni’s home.

I’m doing my greatest as a single businesswoman to enhance a home that was sadly uncared for for many years. My restored dwelling will higher my neighborhood, which is able to deliver worth to my neighborhood. In the end, it will deliver gross sales tax to town, and many work for individuals in all phases of building: from a handyman like Corey to an architect like Tyler Hendrickson.

For clarification, I requested Stoddard if that meant that if I wanted somebody to put in a brand new doorknob, for instance, I couldn’t rent a handyman, however I had to rent a licensed contractor? Stoddard stated that was appropriate. Solely licensed contractors for something at my home any longer.

Thoughts you, I’ve nothing in opposition to licensed contractors, however for one thing like putting in a brand new doorknob, a licensed contractor would cost two, three and even 4 instances extra to finish that process than a handyman. Price-prohibitive overkill.

Lastly, Stoddard stated he would proceed with a case in opposition to Corey which might be submitted to the Shasta County District Lawyer’s workplace that might end in fines and even jail time for Corey. Jail time! Stoddard even talked about the potential for a jury trial.

What. The. Hell.

Our dialog disintegrated from there. Stoddard stated my “opinion” was unsuitable. One of many final issues he stated – earlier than he hung up on me – was that if I didn’t just like the regulation, I ought to change it.

Nice concept.

Right here’s the regulation I suggest: That any handyman or handywoman has the correct to work and earn a dwelling – as a lot as she or he needs, with no restrict doing primary helpful work. Why not? Why ought to solely licensed contractors have the correct to earn greater than $500 per job? And as a house owner, why shouldn’t I’ve the correct to decide on whomever I wish to rent, and to pay a helpful particular person as a lot as I want? If I’ve a mission, like constructing a koi pond, and it takes weeks and even months, I ought to have the correct to take a position the best way I want for that mission, accomplished by the particular person with whom I really feel essentially the most comfy.

A little bit aspect word is that generally, licensed contractors will bid on and get jobs – portray, landscaping, fence-building, roofing, for instance – however quite than doing the work themselves, that contractor will deliver a motley crew of generally creepy people into the shopper’s dwelling to do the precise labor – and a few of these people develop into rotten apples. I do know of 1 aged girl who had this very scenario occur with unknown, unsavory staff inside her dwelling doing work organized by the licensed contractor, and the subsequent day her home was damaged into and costly belongings stolen from locations that no person would have recognized about besides somebody who’d been inside to see firsthand.

Give me a recognized, trusty unlicensed handyman over unknown subbed-out strangers any day. However I digress.

The present California regulation ensures that folks like Corey won’t ever get forward, and that they may stay in poverty. It ensures that these unlicensed people could by no means afford to purchase a brand new truck, not to mention a home, or ever really feel a way of monetary safety and stability. The present regulation requires that for Corey to make a dwelling, he should go from job to job, new buyer to new buyer, at all times staying beneath $500 in labor and supplies, after which transfer alongside.

In case you suppose that is only a Corey/Doni drawback, you’re mistaken. That trusted unlicensed fix-it particular person you’ve routinely employed for every part from constructing a fence to portray your home is in violation of the Contractors State License Board if you happen to’ve paid greater than $500 in labor and supplies. And you probably have a $501 tv you want a handyman to connect to a wall bracket  … bingo! Somebody’s damaged a regulation earlier than you even pay that particular person to hoist that TV onto the bracket, as a result of the worth of supplies exceed California’s authorized restrict.

Corey is a shy man. He prefers to work alone. He’s a person of few phrases. He’s not a hustler, somebody who’ll go door to door drumming up enterprise. It took me years of hiring Corey earlier than he made eye contact, and even smiled. He loves nature, and he loves his canine Spirit, who generally involves work with Corey.

However most of all, Corey’s a gifted, self-taught artist whose actual love is making furnishings from branches, willows, driftwood, rocks and horns.

Corey’s additionally a tricky man, and no stranger to tough instances. However since he’s labored with me at this newest home, he’s redoubled his efforts to stay a wholesome life. Day-after-day he labored for me, his radio blasted Christian inspirational music all through the home, which wasn’t my cup of tea, however I knew it was necessary to him, so the music stayed. And Corey was content material.

Thanks to 1 nasty particular person — and the Contractors State License Board, below the umbrella of the Division of Shopper Affairs — Corey is not allowed to work for me. Stoddard threatened Corey with doubled fines, or worse, if he did.

Corey got here by my home this week to retrieve all his instruments, in addition to furnishings samples he’d introduced over to point out some people who’d heard of Corey’s furniture-making abilities.

All through this ordeal, Corey’s best concern was that one thing unhealthy would occur to me. He retains assuring me that he’ll be OK. As a brand new believer, his mantra is, “It’s all good.”

I respect his sentiments, however that is not all good. In actual fact, that is complete bull shit.

All this occurred in a metropolis the place good jobs are exhausting to seek out. All this occurred in a metropolis the place homelessness and crime and habit have residents in a rightly uproar. We complain about individuals who panhandle and camp illegally and rattling it, why don’t these individuals simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps and discover work? Higher nonetheless, why don’t we take an opportunity and provides somebody an opportunity to work for us?

Good concept, however not so quick. Not until the Contractors State License Board legal guidelines cease decriminalizing exhausting work carried out by these keen to do a few of society’s hardest jobs. Till then, all of us who rent good individuals to do odds jobs that exceed $500 over the course of a “mission” – and all of these we rent to do these tasks – we’re all criminals.

Stoddard was proper about one factor: If we don’t like that regulation, we must always change it.

Let’s do it.

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