Tackle DIY home improvements with the help of a 'virtual handyman'

Saturday, July 18, 2020
Tackle DIY projects with help of a 'virtual handyman'
Folks stuck at home are tackling DIY projects to improve their living spaces. But without the option of bringing in handymen, some are turning to tutorials online. One unique business is offering 'virtual handymen' to help homeowners do the job right.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Home improvements, especially the do-it-yourself kind, are really booming these days. Stuck at home, we are all noticing the jobs, big and small, that need to be done. But do you have the skills?

You could hire a handyperson to take care of them, but during these coronavirus times, you might not feel like having an extra person coming into your home. So here is an alternative: a video handyperson.

Fixer.com offers in-home handyperson service in Chicago and a virtual handyperson service everywhere.

RELATED: DIY backyard water park-style ideas for your family this summer while staying at home

CEO Mike Evans has faith in your abilities, telling me, "We say homeowners can do more than they think they can do, and with a screwdriver and a coach they can work through just about any task in their home."

Mike says the video service gets a lot of calls about hanging something on a wall or taking something off a wall.

So I go along on a virtual visit and meet these two: "Hi my name is Siri. Hey, I am Eric," Siri Vemuri and Eric Christophels introduce themselves.

These two want to do both: take something down and put something up.

"We want to replace the existing curtain rod with a new one that we bought and we have a couple of questions about that process," they say.

Paul Poweziak is Fixer's lead trainer and is going to help get the curtain rod replaced.

RELATED: Fix it or throw it? The top goods and gadgets we tried to fix ourselves last year

"Removing your old drapes should be pretty straightforward," he tells them via a video streaming session. "Do you guys have a ladder on site?"

Eric says, "Yes."

Siri says, "We have a ladder and a bar stool," then adds jokingly, "Is that code?"

John seems concerned.

The project moves forward with Eric taking down the curtain, then, following John's instructions, takes down one of the old brackets and compares it to the new.

The bracket holes are nearly identical. John says this is good, but Siri is concerned because the bracket is shorter and the second screw hole is only a half-hole.

John tells her, "I think they were trying to save money on materials, but it is equally as secure."

Siri asks, "I didn't actually buy a cheapo?"

"No, I think it will be all right," says John.

John continues giving tips and ideas, while Eric and Siri follow his advice, asking questions along the way.

RELATED: Here's how to make your own air conditioner for $8

Siri gets up the ladder, but the ladder is facing the wrong direction. John is concerned.

"I am getting a little nervous with Siri up on the ladder. Just because typically when you are on a ladder you should be working in front of yourself and not working sideways or at an angle," he says. "It is making me nervous."

Siri replies, "I am standing on a ladder wrong?" She turns the ladder around and goes back up.

Now Eric brings two screws, one from the old bracket the other from the new, up close to the laptop camera so John can see the difference. They look nearly identical.

John tells them it is fine to use the new ones, then asks Siri, "Do you feel safer on the ladder?"

There is a long pause. "Sure," says Siri.

The two outside curtain brackets are installed, the drapes go up, are level and look great. Like a pro did the job.

The middle bracket is removed, leaving anchors in the wall.

Eric asks, "If we decide to take them out is there a trick to getting them out?"

"Put in screws," John says, "but not far enough in, to open the anchor. Then grab that screw with pliers."

Eric goes up the ladder to try that out and it works perfectly.

"Look at that," says Siri.

"It was super easy," says Eric.

"Look at that magic," Siri exclaims.

So how much does this virtual service cost? Nothing for the first 5 minutes then $15 dollars for each additional 15 minutes.

Take a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.