David worked for us on a few occasions after being recommended by a neighbor as a handyman. Each time we gave him tasks that increased in difficulty, and each time we asked if these were tasks he was capable of performing. He worked well on caulking and minor electrical issues (we were satisfied), but after coming to our house a couple of times, we found that we would call, and then wait a couple of months to have him return (he would continually delay and push back the dates he could arrive to do the work). Eventually, he would come, and the work would be good. In the instance of the range hood, he brought his brother, since he knew how to do this work (and David did not). In all of these instances the work was fine, paid at an hourly wage of about $40 per hour, but the process of GETTING him there to do the work was frustrating to say the least.
Finally, we asked him to build a gate for our backyard, with an arbour. He indicated that he has the skill to do this, and could ask questions of professionals in the field when he was uncertain. It took from February 2008 to October 2008 (after the first snowfall) to have the gate/arbour finally installed. At this time, David decided to tack on a "designer fee" to his hourly rate, something in the range of an extra $700 (totaling $1300+ for a basic gate and arbor). We addressed this concern with him, and he agreed to $1000 which we were still unhappy about (since it was a basic gate & arbor with no more than $150 of lumber), but felt we were at fault since we had trusted him previously and did not get a quote for this particular project. Since the gate was up, but still unfinished, we paid him $750, with the remaining balance to follow upon completion of the final details of the project. By April 2009 we had to remove the entire project since it was of very poor quality, was completely warped, did not function and was actually pulling down our fence which it was attached to (since the posts were not secured properly).
At this point, after several phone calls, David has refunded us a portion of the fees, but refuses to give us all of the money back for the inflated material fees, which he claims cost $289. He said he would have used these materials over again had we not had them disposed of. He also indicates we should have called him more than once (which we did, but his cell phone picks up & hangs up over and over).
Advice: If you want to get ahold of him -- good luck. (The only reason we did was because he moved into our neighborhood!) If you want minor electrical or caulking work done at a decent cost, he's your person. However, he is very young, very inexperienced, and essentially if he cannot rectify the issue, you are left with the cost of the supplies at minimum. That seems like paying someone's tuition, if you ask me. I would rather hire an experienced professional, who always provides quotes, comes on time, and follows up with appropriate receipts (and proof of payment). You pay for what you get!