It’s virtually impossible at the moment to hire anyone to do any repair, maintenance or construction work on your home, no matter how badly you need it. Right now, repair people are like the hottest kids in high school. Remember them? They were attractive. They had godlike skills at pretty much everything. The whole school envied them. They were utterly unattainable. And you, the pimply-faced freshman, stood by and looked on with a heart full of yearning as they strutted confidently past you toward their lockers.
Back then, you knew better than to just call up one of these high school hotties and say “I need you now.” And you shouldn’t do it with your repair or maintenance person either because you’ll get the same result. The good news is that the techniques that actually worked to attract the attention of the Prom King or Queen also work when attempting to secure the services of your local professional repair person. Let’s break it down:
Enter the Friend Zone: Where does your required service provider like to toss back a couple of brews? Maybe, one afternoon, you just happen to be there when they show up. You start up a casual conversation. Buy them a beverage. Or join their pickleball team, volunteer fire department, or book club. DO NOT mention that you require their services. Just play it cool, for heaven sakes. Did you learn nothing in 10th grade? Only on the third or fourth seemingly casual encounter, when you both know each other’s first names and those of your spouses, pets and children, should you mention that your washing machine hasn’t worked in three weeks. Now that you’re pals, you’ll be top of mind when an opening comes up in, like, a month.
Commit bribery: Are you in a position to provide anything of value to the repair person in question that would get you on their radar? Does their child attend the same school as your child? Think playdates, but cool ones like a trip to Disneyland, the nearby zip-line course, an Ariana Grande concert, or a very expensive dinner and a movie. But not if the children hate each other, obvs. That would be counterproductive. Find out what the repair person’s spouse does for work and patronize the living heck out of the business. Do they have a favorite charity? Be a super-donor! Word will get back. You’ll come off as a thoughtful, generous, selfless person because you give and give and don’t ask for anything in return…yet.
Conscript an intermediary: Remember when you asked your high school crush’s best friend to deliver a note to them that simply said “Do you like me? Yes or No” and all the crush had to do was circle one and return the note. Then it was game on! (Or, sadly, off.) This strategy works with repair people as well. Ask a friend who is already using this person’s services to make an introduction, but not an introduction like “Hey, my friend Jim needs you to fix his toilet.” Make it less The Fonz and more Cyrano: “My dear, kind friend Jim has been having such terrible luck finding a good plumber and he’s been through all the usual suspects. He is just not satisfied. He’s very discerning. I’ve told him all about you and how fabulous you are and he said you sound like his dream come true. Are you interested?”