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Old 02-01-2007, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,209 posts, read 6,916,457 times
Reputation: 599

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I have a friend who retired a year ago. ( Retired to Mexico ) Came to this country 14 years ago, broke. Totally broke. He was 48 years old and all he had was his talent. His talent you ask? He was the most reliable and best all around handyman I ever met. He did it all, tile, drywall, sheetrock, brickwork, electrical, plumbing, lighting, decks, patios, driveways.

He had no license, nor did he need one. He showed up when he said he would, did what he said he could, and made a fine living here. I met him about 2 years after he came to Fla from England. He did some small jobs for me like putting up a fence and some odd jobs. He had a helper who was also an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. The pay rate was $300 a day back then for him and his helper. He wasn't the most expensive and he was far from the cheapest. But on only one occassion did he ever call in for outside help, a big big electrical job that while he could do it, he wanted to cover my back and so he brought in an electrician, but he was still in charge.

I had him renovate 4 houses for me and I always received great work, it was always finished great. After hurricane charley took a large part of our roof off ( while we were inside ), he came by and patched it up so we didn't have more damage from rains, animals, etc. He also watched our house when we got the heck out of here.

At the end, his pay scale was 500 a day. And that included him and one or 2 helpers. One of his helpers is still doing work, lives in Arcadia and is another great guy. So if you wanted to have a new bathroom done, you went to home depot ( or wherever), picked out the fixtures, tile, etc etc, and Ray would even pick the stuff up for you. And that was your cost. In Ft Lauderdale, he did TWO bathroom remodels in one house for me and the total cost was less than 5 grand. For two brand new bathrooms. Nothing fancy, all white , but all new. It was great.

While he worked his butt off he also came across deals on real estate. He started buying these little houses off of midway for 20 and 30 grand. Remember those? Like tiny little bungalows. He'd fix them up, rent them out and when the real estate market took off, he sold them all, and retired a multi millionaire south of the border.

I have tried to buy a couple of new houses recently and do not know of anyone that is even in the same realm as this guy. Nobody that can do it all, nobody that I would trust with the keys to my home. Not like him.

There's a lot of people just like me who would like to dabble. Or not dabble but would like to renovate their own house, or a new house, or even a second home but the abundance of lazy overpriced people down here who want a lot in return for either doing a little or not even knowing how to get past a paint brush is discouraging to say the least.

And it's even worse elsewhere. We tried to buy a house in Peachtree City Georgia last year when we were actually considering buying a house our of Fla and spent 12 trips worth of time and money looking in western NC, briefly in TENN, GA) ( no we no longer have any interest in those states ) and were actually quoted 20 bucks a square ft for tile in Peachtree city and that was when the guy showed up 4 days after he was supposed to just to give an estimate!

Meanwhile, there's a Brit who is married to a wonderful lady who is now retired with a good chunk of cash. And a void exists here in SW Fla ( and elsewhere ) for someone else who has the talent, and integrity to do honest work, for honest money.

That seems to be lacking almost across the board in so many areas nowadays.

Thanks for your time.
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:31 PM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,554 posts, read 47,371,866 times
Reputation: 13400
I hear you Mr. Tudo.

My husband is a fantastic auto mechanic. I met him in Fort Myers when I was a secretary and he was a tech at the same shop. They talked about how great he was all the time. He's honest, fast, and fixes things that no one else can. I guess he should eventually start up his own business but it takes capital. I guess that with construction you don't have that overhead.

Still, I firmily believe that if you are good at what you do, show up when you are suppose to and don't cheat anyone you can make a living.

It is too bad that con artists are just looking for the quick buck. You know what? In the end, in the real end, they will not come out ahead.
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,209 posts, read 6,916,457 times
Reputation: 599
Why was this thread moved and to where was it moved????
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