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franklin county times

Handyman a do-it-yourselfer

 

Todd Hardin, of Vina, has taken the do-it-yourself approach to his job as a handyman. | Nathan Strickland/FCT

 

VINA- Remodeling the inside of a house would seem to be a task for a crew made up of no less than three people, but for Vina resident Todd Hardin he would just rather do it by himself.

Many people in the Red Bay, Vina, and Belmont area refer to Hardin as the “One-man remodeling crew.”

Hardin was born, raised and attended school in Red Bay and once school ended he began dabbling in the carpentry business for a short time before being offered a logging job with a local company.

Hardin said he stayed in the logging business for 18 1/2 years before deciding to be his own boss.

“I began doing some odd jobs here and there for friends and people I knew,” he said. “My business really got built up by doing anything and everything. A lot of the jobs I have done for people in the past are jobs that people are just not comfortable doing. I guess the first large job I did was putting shingles on the roof of a house, from there, jobs just kind of started coming my way. I went from doing one or two jobs a day to making a career out of fixing things for people.”

Now days, Hardin specializes in a little bit of everything including plumbing, inside remodeling, electrical along with new construction projects.

“I have pretty much taught myself how to do things and I truly believe I can do anything,” Hardin said. “I always try to leave with a satisfied customer. Not many carpenters will tell you this but there is not a person I have worked for that still owes me a penny and not many carpenters can say that.”

Hardin has been his own boss for 12 years now and carries the motto: “ The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

Hardin said people jokingly tell him he always seems to wind up with some of the oddest jobs that nobody feels like doing.

“One of the worst jobs I have come across would have to be going underneath a house and replacing a cast iron pipe joint which lead to the sewage tank with some PVC pipe,” he said.

“When you go and replace something like that there is no possible way to avoid the sewage that spills out of the pipe when you go to remove it. You might as well just get ready for it because it is going to spray everywhere and you are going to be stuck under the house just wading in sewage to replace the pipe joint.”

Hardin said 90 percent of his business still comes from friends and family and said he doesn’t intend on branching outside the small area he has always serviced.

“Occasionally I’ll go outside away from the area I cover, but really I am happy with just staying right here and doing jobs for people I know and love in this area,” he said.

Many people believe Hardin’s business to be unique because of certain projects he takes on, which to some are considered to be more than a one-person job.

“I admit I have asked for help a time or two on certain projects, but for the most part it is just me and I tend to like it better that way,” he said. “It is hard to find people you can trust. When it is your name on the line the only person I trust is myself because most of the time you only get one shot and I’d rather it be me to mess up my name than someone else.”

Hardin admits there are times where he needs three hands for some projects, but believes it is actually a quicker process if he does it alone.

“It would appear that having more help would make processes faster, but if you have a crew of three and two people are just standing around waiting on the other to finish that actually slows down the process,” he said. “I’m working continuously and I believe it takes the same amount of time if not faster than having a large crew.”

Hardin said he is a hometown type of person and loves being designated to a certain area.

“I’m satisfied with what I do and where my business is,” he said. “I don’t make a lot of money, but I make enough to suit me and I just enjoy the job.”

Hardin said being your own boss has its perks as well.

“I enjoy the freedom this job gives me,” he said. “I can pretty much take off at anytime and if my kids need me for something I have the freedom to go and help them at any point. It is just the job for me.”

Hardin said he gets the greatest satisfaction from jobs to where two or three people have already attempted to go in and fix a problem, but failed, then he goes in and fixes it.

Hardin said he enjoys working for his hometown area and believes there will be enough work for him until it is time to hang up the tool belt and retire.

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