I’ve just repaired the second major appliance in a year at the Freehold and feel pretty smug about it. Then it occurred to me–remember just how much fun we had only a few months ago trying to buy a new refrigerator because the old one died? What if I could have fixed it?
Yeah, that one would have taken some knowledge I don’t have, and a lot more work than I had time for. There was food to be saved, after all. It would have taken time to figure out the most likely problem (either the compressor or it needed a coolant recharge) and figure out where to source the supplies and figure out what tools were needed, or needed to be purchased. And then you need to do the work and cross your fingers that you’re diagnoses and cure were correct.
Most appliance repair services wouldn’t have touched that repair. “It’s gonna cost ya too much, just buy a new one.” And having to pay their hourly rate, they’re correct. But if you’re working for yourself, your neighbors, your part of town or your small town, and you work out of your garage, you can easily undercut that rate by half. As long as people understand that they’re taking a chance with the repair and that repairing really old appliances can be something of a crapshoot, there’s money to be made. After all, even if it costs that nice little old lady $400 to fix her fridge, what would a new one cost her? $1000 or more that she doesn’t have? Or doing without a refrigerator at all because they simply can’t be bought?
You won’t get rich, but you’ll make some cash. And that will be the name of the game if things go totally south. You’ll also make friends. Everyone like the person who can fix their busted stuff on the cheap.
At first, you’re going to spend most if not all of your earnings on tools, especially if you need things like refrigerant gauges and the like. But that ends pretty quickly. Once you learn how a given kind of appliance works, you’ll not be looking things up on YouTube, if there is still a YouTube. You’ll be able to figure it out yourself, just by following the rules of troubleshooting.
Might be a pretty good gig.