Handyman Blog

Want to know what we have been up to recently, have a look at our blog to read about the jobs we have planned or recently carried out.  

Another tea break favourite...

posted 11 Feb 2011, 12:01 by Ben Davis   [ updated 10 Dec 2013, 03:21 ]

It has been a tremendously busy week so my offering this weekend is short but very, very sweet (and from what Lisi tells me - a bit too technical). I really love using the right tools for each job, it makes each task a joy rather than a chore, and the results always speak for themselves. One bit of kit that goes everywhere with me is my multi-construction drill bits. Sounds like a mouthful, but just think wood bit, metal bit, masonary bit, tile bit... and now roll them into one, there you have it - a multi-construction drill bit. It means I can carry a small bit box around for any eventuality. They are especially useful when mounting onto the wall, because I can drill through the item (like a baton or shelf) and straight through the wall in one go, no need for hit and miss marking out. Great when coupled with some hammer in fixings.
 
 
Now I'm just waiting for them them to invent the multi-sized drill bit! My multi-construction drill bits are made by Bosch, and are available from a great little online retailer called ITS. They are also available from Tool Station and other suppliers and brands are available out there.

Hope you are enjoying the mug shots!
 
 

How Smart People Remodel Their Kitchen

posted 2 Feb 2011, 12:55 by Ben Davis   [ updated 3 Feb 2011, 13:37 ]

At this time of year many of my customers are thinking about updating their kitchen, taking advantage of those new year sales. Remodelling your kitchen can be a very expensive project, so in this blog I’d like to share some insider tips and ideas on how you can save some serious money.

 

Most of us purchase our kitchens from our nearest DIY store, but don’t get locked into the process of using one store to supply and fit your whole kitchen. It might be convenient but it also extremely expensive. More on this later.

Use a free kitchen design service from your local DIY store but get them to experiment with a few different options, and use this free service to help resolve the practical stuff like utilities.

Buy the kitchen you want from where you want, but don’t buy your taps, sink, waste, appliances or worktops from them. You’ll notice that during sale periods it is the cabinets/doors that are reduced. Everything else is full price and the mark-up can be astonishing. Plumbing items like sink, taps etc can come from your local plumbing merchant (often more than 60% cheaper), worktops (even solid wood) can come from online retailers like Screw Fix (up to 50% cheaper) and appliances can be chosen in store locally and then ordered online from more competitive shops like www.bootskitchenappliance.com (around 40% cheaper).

Watch out for fitting accessories that have been added to your bill as these will also carry a high mark-up and can be sourced elsewhere for a fraction of the price. Look for things like worktop joining bolts, mitre bond adhesive and oils that may be sold at inflated prices. Ask for these to be removed from your bill.

 

Dismantling the old kitchen is an expense in itself, but doing this yourself could save you upwards of £100. Don’t get stuck when you get to the kitchen sink – if you spot some isolation valves on the hot and cold supply pipes, close them and you are away!

If you are planning lots of changes, like a new socket here and there, repositioning the cooker, new flooring, moving the sink a little, tiling the splashback… all these are separate trades and calling in a different tradesperson for each job will soon get very expensive. Not to mention that scheduling each trade to be on site at the right time, on the right day, with the right tools and materials is in itself a headache. This is where Handyman House & Garden saves you even more money, because as a multi-trade service we can handle all these jobs, co-ordinate and schedule them, and minimise the inconvenience to you. And responsible handyman services like ours will schedule the necessary gas works and electrical safety checks so that you have piece of mind and the relevant paperwork for when you one day sell your house on.

 

By following these simple tips you’ll be able to save up to half your total purchase costs and get your kitchen fully installed for less than half the price quoted by your DIY store. You didn’t hear it from me. Sssshhhhh.

My Favourite Tea Break... at the moment

posted 25 Jan 2011, 13:29 by Ben Davis   [ updated 3 Feb 2011, 01:45 ]

 
Hi there reader, you’ve probably gathered that from time to time, a handyman needs a tea break and it is during these special intervals that he ponders all things handyman related and puts them down, in this blog.  Today – I share one of my favourite products with you… read on to find out more…

 

 
I’m often asked by my customers to wall mount their new TV or add a new socket but we have all become fussier about how things look, and rightly so – no one likes the sight of unsightly wires. Time and time again I have found myself introducing customers to one of my favourite products, a really neatly designed trunking that hides those wires out of sight and fits in beautifully with your décor. I mount it above the skirting on horizontal runs and it then looks just like traditional Taurus skirting board. It is clean lined and so looks great as it is, but it can be keyed and painted to match your skirting or walls. My customers use it for new sockets, TV mounts, speaker cables – in fact any kind of cable they want to hide. It makes that old square edge trunking that electricians use look second rate. Of course, if customers want to go the extra mile then I chase out the wall and bury the cables – but not everybody wants the expense so this surface mounted trunking is a brilliant alternative. Now that I’ve shared it with you – maybe you’ll find some use for it too. And if you’d rather someone else fitted it for you, just give me a call – that’s my job and I love it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
D-Line trunking and accessories is available in various sizes from B&Q and other DIY stores.

Tea break, will that be cash or cheque?

posted 22 Jan 2011, 12:40 by Ben Davis   [ updated 3 Feb 2011, 01:44 ]

 

Running Handyman House & Garden, I am sometimes asked by customers if I will take cash and knock a bit off. It is true to say that there are some tradespeople who will indeed take a cash payment to conceal their true earnings from the tax man, saving the customer money along the way. In fact I read recently that there is a trend for tradespeople to demand a cash payment – take it or leave it. 
 

Of course, nobody really likes paying taxes, and for most of us income tax and national insurance contributions are somewhat painlessly deducted before the pay cheque hits the bank. Understandably, when we pay our tradespeople, we might not consider that this payment will include their national insurance and income tax deductions and, as difficult as it is, they will have to put these aside to settle up at the end of the financial year. For some businesses with a bigger turnover, there is of course VAT to collect too.

 

Personally, I love living in this country. My family are kept in good health without charge, our community is a safe and friendly place to be and when my son grows older there is a chance he will be able to attend a good, well resourced, local school. It’s no surprise then that I feel I should pay my way living here just like everyone does.

 

I also wonder, if a tradesperson chooses to avoid deductions to pocket a bit more cash, how else might they extend their margins? Perhaps by using inferior materials, or working in your home without proper insurance for you and your property, or working quickly without quality… It starts to sound quite risky doesn’t it!

 

That is why Handyman House & Garden customers can settle their bill in any way convenient to them, in the knowledge that we are a professional and trustworthy business with values just like yours.

 

Tea Break...

posted 18 Jan 2011, 07:21 by Ben Davis

Home for a cup of tea then out again to get up onto a roof in Croft Road. Hands smell of linseed oil from glazing all those windows today. Wonderful.
 
Bit of a bone to pick with the planning department. They insist on preserving sash windows in conservation areas and don't permit even the most convincing of UPVC sash window replacements. But time and time again, I am finding that the people living in these draughty, cold rooms with old and tatty sash windows are tenants, and landlords are unsurprisingly without incentive to do anything about these windows - other than make sure they don't fall out. Surely that leaves people who are least able to get on the property ladder out in the cold (literally) because some very comfortable planning officials decide that they can't have 'affordable' double glazing like the rest of us! I feel a campaign coming on... 

Busy week ahead again, no complaints there...

posted 16 Jan 2011, 15:05 by Ben Davis

Another fantastic busy week ahead. Here are some of the jobs I have lined up:
  • Window repair to sash window in High Street, Old Town;
  • Bath installation (a mini bath tub in a 'compact' bathroom), Elphinstone Rd;
  • Sash window renovation x 3 in Kings Road, St. Leonards;
  • FreeSat installation to bedroom and additional socket, Beauchamp Rd, Hollington;
  • Fit new interior door to lounge, Beauchamp Rd, Hollington;
A handyman is never happier than when he is busy, and every day is different to the last.

We've been busy quoting for you...

posted 16 Jan 2011, 04:34 by Ben Davis

Here is what Handyman House & Garden have been quoting for this week:
 
  • New Kitchen Installation, Lower South Rd, Bohemia;
  • New Kitchen Installation for landlord, Norman Rd, St. Leonards;
  • Various Odd Jobs, Pear Tree Lane, Little Common.

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