This review has been removed by the author.
Beware “handyman” Odd Job Bob, currently (summer 2017) advertising via flyer in the downtown west-end (Harbord St, College & Dufferin, Roncesvalles & Parkdale neighbourhoods). We hired Bob to do minor repairs and outdoor painting, plus a more substantial job of repairing grouting and recaulking tiles in two bathrooms. I thought his quote of $750 seemed reasonable enough, since doing a decent job on the tiles would be a good 6+ hours of work. What I didn't realize was that he had persuaded my inexperienced partner that caulking and grouting are the same thing! Also unfortunately for us, he persuaded her to give him a cash advance of $375, although the only material he was to supply was weather stripping! The other mistake we made was not asking for a breakdown of his fee. This made it difficult to renegotiate, once it became apparent that he is a thoroughly unprofessional and manipulative operator.
Bob changed the date for the work at the last minute, even though the cash advance was ostensibly to "hold the date". Then he unexpectedly showed up (late) with a hungover (reeking of booze), visibly disoriented co-worker, also called Bob. Bob #2 later told me categorically that he has no skill in painting, although that was to be his role.
The two Bobs did not bring the tools required for the painting job (brushes, rollers, roller trays, brush cleaner, drop sheets...) - Bob #1 claimed that this was our responsibility. They used our roller and trays, and insisted that we pay for a paint brush and tray liners.
As Bob#1 prepared to work on the bathtub, I quickly realised that we had very different understandings of the scope of work we had hired him for. But since he had misled my partner in their initial meeting, directing her to replace “regrouting” with “recaulking” in the initial list of tasks we had written out, we had no basis to argue this. He informed me that regrouting would cost another $150. As a compromise (and since he already had $375 of our money in pocket!), I agreed that he should remove the old caulking, and then he and I would jointly inspect the condition of the tiles and decide upon the next step.
But I was suprised when, after only 30 minutes of work, Bob #1 declared that he was finished with the tiles around the bathtub. I pointed out that there was substantial old silicon remaining. Then he started to argue that he was not being paid for work of a professional standard, and refused to do a more thorough job of removing the old caulking unless I paid another $150 (this became a familiar refrain). I told him to stop work on the tiles, and that we would revise the list of tasks and renegotiate his fee. At this point he claimed that the tiles work was only worth $120 out of his $750 (we had expected more like $400 or 500), and insisted that the 30 minutes of inadequate work he had done would cost me $50. (By comparison, the regrouting specialist l I hired later to do this job properly charged $50 per hour.)
Bob#1 did a decent enough job repairing a latch and pruning some tree branches (but asked for an additional $20 when I asked him to cut just one more branch!). He installed weather stripping and had to be called back to complete the job, having left one end unsecured.
Meanwhile, Bob #2 was working verrrry slowwwwly on the outdoor painting. When it became clear that this job (about 10 square meters of lattice fence and gate) might not be completed by end of day, Bob#1 called in a third worker (again without consulting me). Then he waited until after 6pm to notify me that there was not enough paint to finish the job - just late enough to ensure that it was too late for me to pop out to buy more - and pressured me to pay the balance of his fee, so that he could pay his sub-contracted workers.
When I was reluctant to pay for an unfinished job, he blamed me for not providing enough paint (they had slathered it on with excessive drips), and insisted “I am a man of my word!”. By that point I was so worn down by dealing with him that I gave in and paid him, realizing as I did so that we had been conned, and that he would not return to complete the work. Bob & co had earned $100/ hour for semi/unskilled work.
After the three left, I discovered that they had caused significant damage to plants in the garden, including multiple broken branches on a very precious rhododendron that wasn't even next to the fence they were painting. I texted Bob#1 to complain about this damage, vainly insisting that he return to complete the job solo, as contracted, so that there wouldn’t again be two or three of them causing damage in that small space. Sure enough, he texted back that I was “adding more terms and conditions”, it would cost an additional $150 for him to complete the job on his own, and suggested that I leave the cash under the paint tin!
Of course at this point I refused, lesson painfully learned.