The Five Categories Of Handymanlyness


By Bruce W. Maki, Editor

I wrote this many years ago to explain the "Skill Level" that I assign to most articles on HammerZone.com. Yet this also helps explain the progression of skills and types of DIY projects that many people undergo as the tackle more home improvement projects.

Category 1: Basic Edition. Knows when to leave things alone and call somebody else. Can handle himself with screwdrivers, pliers, and hammer. Often shies away from the noisier and more dangerous power tools, but may be comfortable with gentler tools like drills. Lots of people have no desire to advance beyond Category 1, and that's perfectly fine, because contractors need these folks for their customers.

Category 2: Going Places. Learning and yearning for more fix-and-repair projects. Looks at each repair as a challenge. May even dream of major things, like building a deck or garage. Probably the most dangerous type of handyman, as he believes everything is easy and within his grasp. Handle with caution to avoid bruised egos and missing digits. Best to work up from basement remodelings and garden sheds. Hey, nobody can start at the top.

Category 3: Building Up Skills. Has a good enough understanding of home improvements to be able to figure out new problems without dashing to the refrigerator, grabbing a beer and hiding behind the TV set. Has developed a reputation with friends and relatives as a good handyman. Knows when to seek advice on something complicated. Has remodeled a few rooms, basements, porches, but is not quite ready for prime time.

Category 4: Bitten By The Bug. A compulsive handyman, he loves to tinker and repair things and sometimes fixes them better than new. Able to handle almost any project, but takes plenty of time to make sure everything is just right. Would never consider buying a new house because he would rather have the adventure of building his own or remodeling a fixer-upper. People routinely ask him for advice on home improvement matters. Has done some major projects, like building a garage, addition, or seriously participated in building a house. Has seen numerous ways to do things and is able to customize those experiences for each unusual situation. May have some work experience in construction or maintenance, or have considered those trades as possible employment.

Category 5: Para-Professional. Experienced enough that he can make money, possibly even make a living, doing handyman or construction work. Knows not only how things are built, but knows how to build things quickly. Has a serious set of tools, many of which are time-saver tools (e.g. air nailers) and precision tools. Has seriously considered becoming a home builder or contractor. Able to instruct others in home improvement topics.


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Written 1999