by Claire Stuart
Spring is the traditional time to clean up and catch up on the chores that didn’t get done in the winter. If you need help with your to-do list, Melvin and Susan Hallman, owners of Budget Handyman Service, invite you to call on them for jobs big and small. They are local, licensed and insured, and they guarantee their work. They promise to arrive on time and do the job right.
Their expertise includes carpentry, plumbing, and installation/repair of ceramic tile and laminate floors. They are also ready and willing to tackle odd jobs, from cleaning out the garage, pressure washing, and painting, to repairing drywall, installing locks and deadbolts, fixing garbage disposals and maintaining your landscape. They can replace windows and doors and spruce up your kitchen with new cabinets and countertops.
Budget Handyman Services is a husband-and-wife operation. They do almost all of the work themselves, with occasional help from reliable craftspeople they have worked with for years.
Susan provides the estimates, schedules the work, does the billing and generally deals with customers. She will even accompany you to home improvement stores to consult on materials. Susan worked in the office side of the construction industry for many years, including a stint with FEMA in home inspections, reviewing inspections and billing.
The growing season finds her at work outdoors in the landscaping end of the business. She mows, plants trees and flowers, mulches and weeds. In winter, she helps with snow removal. And, she says, “I will paint if I have to!”
Melvin has years of experience in all phases of construction, including custom flooring. His background also includes work with a local plumbing and heating company, dealing with everything from outside water and sewer to inside plumbing and fixtures. In addition, he worked for a builder doing “punchout” work, the final step in new construction where last-minute details are completed. This covers things like repairs to doors, wood trim or drywall that was damaged in the construction, hardware, adjusting installed appliances, minor electrical adjustments and touch-up painting.
“It could be anything from drywall to doorknobs,” Susan explained.
The Hallmans have been in business for themselves for over 16 years, the last eight years full-time. It began with Melvin working on custom ceramic tile floors in his spare time.
Susan recalled, “As he worked on a floor, someone might ask him to remove a toilet or a vanity, install fixtures. He’s very handy. If you want it done, he’ll figure out a way to do it!”
Thanks to his plumbing background, he could take on bigger jobs, leading into kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Both Melvin and Susan lost their jobs when the housing bubble burst, so they decided to take their part-time business full-time. They put out the word by sending out a bulk mailing describing their services.
“We only got four customers,” recalled Susan, “but we still have them! We re-did one customer’s house and now we have the new owner.”
Their handyman business expanded in another direction when their son graduated high school. “He wanted to go to college to study turf management and asked if we’d add landscaping,” Susan explained. “We did, and then he joined the army! So now Mom and Dad have the landscaping.”
She reports that they do not do mowing on a contract basis. “Some operators contract to mow on a certain day every week and do it whether it needs mowing or not. We do it when it is needed—sometimes there will only be two or three weeks when we need to mow. We’re old school – we agree with a handshake.”
When they are called on to paint, says Susan, “We start by doing one room at our own pace so that you can see how we work. If you like it, you can tell us to go ahead with the rest. We are a time-and-material business. We work by the hour so you are only paying for when we actually work. You get all the receipts for material.”
Budget Handyman will tackle just about any job, large or small, except new construction. They have chinked and sealed historic log structures and changed a light bulb two stories up. They have even installed Christmas decorations for elderly folks who were no longer able to do it. If you are on a fixed income and need work done, they will do their best to plan the work around your budget, prioritizing and doing what you can afford over a period of months.
Twenty-four hour emergency service is available for urgent problems like leaks, and they will get there within 24 hours and try to fix the problem the same day.
The Hallmans prefer to work close to home in Clarke and western Loudoun County, but they will travel to Frederick and parts of West Virginia. The farthest they have travelled for a job was to Alabama. “That was for family,” Susan laughed.
Call Budget Handyman Service at 540-327-1189 or 540-327-9130