Help Washing the Walls – A reader question that wasn’t what I thought

Hello. My name is [redacted].
I need some people, maybe 2 or 3 to help me wash my walls before we paint them
and I’m wondering where I could look for someone who needs a bit of cash. The walls are dirty and need cleaning.
I got some good ideas of what to wash them with.
I thank you for your help.

Heather says

When I first opened this email I was a little confused and at first I wasn’t going to respond. The author doesn’t need help deciding how to was her walls, which is what Home-Ec101.com is for. She is looking for actual, physical help washing her walls. So why did she write to Home-Ec101.com?

After a minute it hit me. She wants to know how to find people to help wash her walls.

Hiring a business is the safest route, assuming they are bonded and insured, and you check references. Angie’s List can be helpful for larger jobs.

However, some jobs don’t feel big or complicated enough to hire a business. Thankfully, the internet has made this aspect of finding a guy who knows a guy much simpler.  

The important thing is to use common sense and don’t pay up front. Decide how much you are willing to pay before you begin looking. If something feels off, trust that feeling and don’t hire the person. You don’t have to give a reason, “This isn’t going to work out,” is a perfectly valid end to the conversation.

I recently found a website called NextDoor. It’s a social network for your physical neighborhood. I’ve used it to find a music teacher for my youngest and it recently came in very handy when I needed a 3:45am ride to the airport. It turns out one of my neighbors drives for Lyft and has a newborn, so it wasn’t like there’s a lot of sleep happening at his place. I don’t look at it every day, but I give it a quick skim on the weekends. I see a lot of conversations around finding handymen, contractors, and people offering help with odd jobs and small services. There are also quite a few parents with teenagers looking for odd jobs like yours.

Local Facebook groups are another great resource. Join, read the guidelines, and ask. 

Sometimes, if there is a college nearby there’ll be young men and women looking to earn cash for easy physical labor. I believe they still have actual, physical bulletin boards where you can post the job.

And yes, there is always Craigslist, but unlike Facebook and NextDoor, someone’s identity isn’t tied to the listing which makes it easier to run a scam operation. 

Home-Eccers, what advice do you have for [redacted] as she looks for help with this job?

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com



2 Comments

  1. Donna on September 27, 2016 at 11:15 am

    +1 for Nextdoor. My Norcal town is broken into about 15 neighborhoods, and the main use of ND here is recommendations.

  2. Lynn on September 27, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I live in a small town and we have an email list-serv that is great for finding people for small jobs. I also belong to a parent list-serv for the area where people often ask for recommendations for contractors and helpers. This area gets a lot of resident turnover so the questions come up frequently but most lists also have archives you can search.

    If you’ve recently purchased your home, your realtor probably has a list of people they trust to work with. Same with if you’re in the process of selling.

    Definitely take all the safety precautions when interviewing someone you find on a list. Make sure you’re not home alone or that someone knows who you’re meeting with, that it’s daytime, don’t leave out valuables, etc. Check references before they come. (Their willingness and follow-through for providing references before they visit is important information.) Pay some money up front if they need to buy supplies but always hold a portion back until the work is completed to your satisfaction.

    Where I live, some handymen come down from the mountains when they’re out of money and they’re return as soon as they’ve earned enough, even if they’re in the middle of a job. It’s always good to have a back-up name. Plus, the good ones are often booked weeks in advance.

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