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Five months ago, Brian McMahon did handyman-like things as a hobby.
Then everything changed at the end of August when he “took over” his aunt and uncle’s business – Ace Handyman Services. The company serves the south Pittsburgh area.
McMahon, long an entrepreneurial spirit, is a full-time businessman with a base in Monongahela and craftsmen in Washington, Donora and Monongahela.
“(Being a handyman) myself is still a hobby,” McMahon said. “I do things at home and I do some other stuff. As for our business, I allow and count on our craftsmen to do the work they are skilled in doing.”
Previously, McMahon had an online vehicle detailing operation, which he started in ninth grade while attending Trinity Area School District, and later a health and fitness online venture.
Even in the seventh grade, he sold gum in the middle school for a quarter and made $150 in a week before his enterprise was shut down by the assistant principal.
McMahon utilizes longstanding business acumen and the hand skill and knowledge of leading a staff to make a go of things.
He is enjoying his new role.
“The joy and satisfaction of the customer is really fulfilling,” McMahon said.
“It’s been great. The best part about this is I can focus on my skill set and our craftsmen can focus on theirs. You don’t have to be a handyman to run a handyman company.”
McMahon employs four craftsmen and two office managers.
“We do a bunch of dry wall, minor plumbing and electrical jobs, and building stairs,” he said.
McMahon said the company has worked with churches, remolded bathrooms and basements for homeowners and others.
“We’ve built six ramps for patients who wanted to come home and needed some things to function normally in their home,” McMahon said. “We’ve done two bathroom rebuilds related to this. We had to take a tub out and replace with a walk-in shower, equipped with bars.
“We look at most any job, if requested. No job is too small for us.”
By definition, a handyman is a skilled laborer who provides basic home repairs.
Anyone can call themselves a handyman, although most who do so are skilled with repairs and home projects such as interior or exterior painting, electrical projects, remodeling and plumbing.
The other tasks a handyman can perform include assembling furniture, repairing fences, repairing broken doors or replacing trim, hanging lights, hooking up appliances, and much more.
Handymen may have flat fees for certain services or charge an hourly rate. Handyman rates are often lower than those of a contractor, as they don’t have the same specialization.
Some states have no limit on the work a handyman can perform, while others do. For example, California’s Building and Professions Code – small operations – permits handymen to provide work similar to that of a contractor (floor installation, painting, etc.) provided the total cost of labor and materials does not exceed $500.
A handyman can be another resource for minor home repairs at a lower cost than a licensed contractor, however, for more complex and expansive projects, it can be more responsible to hire a specialized contractor.
“Honestly, this has been super,” McMahon said. “Some of the remodels are nice because it gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers and that’s really nice.
“People look for a handyman to do a job that a bigger contractor wouldn’t be interested in for various reasons. They call it the handyman lane.”
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