A knack for fixing things comes in handy
Dan Yee, owner of Handy Works said fixing things and assembling things has always been very natural to him. | Jackie Pilossoph~For Sun-Times Media
Dan’s tips for home improvement:
1. Always check showers for caulking issues because water damage is expensive to fix
2. Check your sump pump once a year to make sure it’s functioning properly
3. Change smoke alarm batteries throughout the home once a year and replace the actual alarm every 5-8 years
4. Dryer vents need to be cleaned out once a year
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:13AM
SKOKIE — Fixing and assembling things has always come very natural to Dan Yee.
The 38-year-old said he took one computer class, and afterward went out and bought all the parts and built his own computer.
“I’ve always had a knack for figuring out how things work and then fixing them or putting them together,” said Yee, whose Skokie based company, HandyWorks, does repairs, maintenance, upgrades, and home improvements in homes all over the North Shore.
Yee, who worked for a few different contractors for 15 years before starting HandyWorks in 2004 takes on jobs that include plumbing, electrical issues, carpentry, repairs, installations, tiling, crown molding installation, cabinetry, pressure washing, sump pump repair and appliance assembly.
“I take the smaller jobs that a lot of contractors turn down because they feel like there isn’t enough profit margin in it, but it’s really the small jobs that are profitable, and I enjoy them,” said Yee, who lives in Skokie with his wife and three children.
Nancy Katz is a professional organizer in Evanston, and has hired Yee for client jobs for 10 years.
“When I’m preparing a home for sale, he comes in and does all the repairs,” said Katz. “He’s reliable, knowledgeable and honest. He’ll tell you, ‘I can fix it,’ or ‘I can’t fix it,’ or ‘It’s not worth fixing.’ ”
Before every job, Yee always explains to his customer what’s wrong and how he is going to fix it. Often times, if the job is easy, Yee gives the customer the option of showing them how to fix it themselves, but said they almost always decline.
“Most of my customers are people who don’t have the time, they’re working professionals and they’re not confident to do it themselves and they’re not experienced,” said Yee. “They don’t even attempt the simplest things because they’re just too busy and they don’t want to.”
In addition to his services, Yee also has a specialty in installing high end locks.
“Contractors and builders call me a lot for these jobs because it’s difficult and takes a lot of precision,” said Yee, “The cliché is ‘Measure twice and cut once.’ I say, ‘Measure four times.’ ”
“Dan is really the only guy we give out as a referral to our customers,” said Mike Kozil, owner of Decorator Hardware & Bath in Lincolnwood. “We give them his card and they call him and he does great work. People go out of their way to call us and thank us for giving them his name.”
Yee is also known for wearing white shoe covers in every home he services, a courtesy he said people are constantly thanking him for.
“I’m surprised by how many customers tell me that other service people don’t wear them,” he said.
“The fact that he wears shoe covers shows a lot of respect,” said Katz.
“He’s considerate and people are thrilled by that,” Kozil said.
HandyWorks charges $65 per hour, but for some jobs, such as high end lock installations, fixture installations and door installations Yee quotes a flat fee.
“It’s hard to find someone who is fair and does good work and cleans up after himself,” said Kozil. “Dan is all of those things.”
“This is not a boring job,” said Yee. “One day I’m doing something like electrical work or carpentry, and the next day I’m installing crown molding, and I finish it and it’s just beautiful.”