It's hard to find good help these days. You'd think that with the level of unemployment today, people would be hungry for work. It seems a lot of people want to be paid but don't want to put in the effort necessary to be paid.

Or maybe they lack skills. It seems easy enough to find unskilled workers but finding a craftsman who has time to take on a relatively small job is a job in of itself.

We have a second house that needed some work. It's not that we're so wealthy that we buy houses in other places so we can jet around the country. Our other house is one I used to live in. 

I retained it in my divorce six years ago because the mortgage on it was more than it was worth. Rather than selling it for a loss, we just held onto it. My wife's son is living there now as he completes graduate school.

After letting it sit empty for a year, and watching it deteriorate, I worked out a deal with the guy who kept the yard mowed. He and his wife moved in rent free in exchange for fixing up the house. I think they forgot about the second part of that deal.

After they moved out, we had a heck of a time trying to get some plumbing work done. One local plumber wanted several hundred dollars just to give us an estimate. 

We finally found a handyman who actually showed up. He did a lot of work, but I've been going over to fix his mistakes.

It's been unbelievable. He put a new roof on the garage but didn't replace the soffit under the eaves, so the building was wide open for birds and raccoons.

Plus, the roofers borrowed my extension ladder and replaced it with a broken ladder. I'm still working on getting my ladder back.

The most egregious errors were in the bathrooms. They replaced the tub in one bathroom but installed the water lines backwards. 

In the smaller bathroom, they replaced the floor but then the toilet started leaking. The handyman suggested that the drain was clogged, but I said it has to be the seal on the wax ring where the toilet connects to the plumbing.

I pulled the toilet up myself, and guess what. There was no wax ring. I'm guessing the not-so-handy man didn't use a licensed plumber for those jobs in violation of state law.

And don't get me started on what they did to the hardwood floors. I'll be refinishing them again.

How do people stay in business when they can't master basic repairs? I'll tell you how. It's because there aren't enough people with the necessary skills available to do the work. If you aren't able to do it yourself, you're at the mercy of the marketplace.

It's a good argument in favor of trades returning to local high schools. There's definitely a need for competent, skilled labor.

The only bright side is that people have become good at using the internet to find and review local service providers. I'll be adding my review. Just as soon as I get my ladder back.

© Copyright 2020 by David Porter who can be reached at Maybe when I retire from the newspaper business, I'll start my own handyman business. I can't do any worse.