Craigslist handymen

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There was an interesting article recently in the New York Times. According to the article, "Craigslist (has become) the cyberspace equivalent of the street corner or the Home Depot parking lot" for those seeking work.

The article continued, "according to the Labor Department, the construction industry slashed 2.27 million jobs from its pre-recession peak to the trough of construction employment in January 2011. Just 95,000 jobs have returned, or less than 5 percent of those lost."

That is a whole lot of people looking to fix broken chair legs and rehang sagging doors. I have resorted to this kind of work myself at various times, relying more on ads on the service page of the local newspaper classified section. I actually did generate a respectable amount of work. But it seems that the screws have tightened a bit since the initial burst of the housing bubble and many who had hoped for a quick return to "prosperity and growth" have adopted a more realistic attitude and have entered the fray, competing for these small jobs. Guys who were getting 30 or more calls a week are now feeling lucky to get a couple.

The article also brings up a problem with going online to find work in that (my own words here) there are a lot of nut cases hanging out on the internet. And, like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you can never be quite sure what you are going to get. Of course, for the most part, we are large men with big hammers and pretty much capable of defending ourselves. So the concern is not so much about that as it is about running into people with some pretty weird agendas. I had a few of those, too, and while I will not go into detail here, I will repeat what an old friend once said: "Sometimes it's not about the sandwich; it's about what comes with the sandwich."

D.D.

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