Recently I had a chance to meet an unusual fellow. He came in to fix my shower door, which had become loose and had partially fallen off its track. I had no clue how to fix it and had to call for some professional assistance. After doing a quick internet search, I found this “volunteer handyman” named Brandon Rigio who had received some pretty good ratings for his service. Brandon was kind enough to show up at my doorstep a few hours later. Not only did he fix my shower door, he replaced my toilet seat (the soft-close mechanism of my old one had stopped soft-closing). The whole job must have taken not more than 25 minutes.
As I was getting ready to pay Brandon his hourly fee, which I estimated would be around $ 50 – $ 75 bucks, I asked “how much do I owe you, sir?” he completely surprised me by saying “oh, there’s no charge as it’s free… that’s why I’m the volunteer handyman.” And then he handed me his business card, which did not say “handyman” but actually said “realtor”. I inquired about this and he said, “I come in and help people with their issues and surprise them with the fact that I’m really focused on doing something else. Although I was a general contractor in a previous life, and before that an engineer, which makes me technically qualified to come in do these repairs, I do these things just to get in the door and meet people in person rather than just dropping off a flyer that they’re going to throw away.”
“What a brilliant marketing and P.R. strategy”, I thought to myself. But even more than that, I thought that it was an extremely generous gesture on his part. Doing things for free is something fewer and fewer people ever do anymore, except if it’s for a worthy cause. I wouldn’t exactly call my bathroom shower door a worthy cause but I was stunned to meet a real life do-gooder who had no agenda other than to make himself known in the neighborhood as the “friendly real-estate agent”. Brandon said that all the “shadow flipping” that was happening in the city of Vancouver (B.C.) had given realtors a bad name and he wanted to do something that was positive that would counteract that image.
You know what? I’m pretty sold on him and wouldn’t hesitate to pass his name around, especially after he asked for my business card and offered to help refer me to potential clients as well. I’m pretty sure Brandon’s real estate practice will take off, especially if he continues to do stuff for people for free and bail them out of difficult situations like he did for me earlier this week. As they say in business, “people do business with people that they know, like and trust” and Brandon did a really good job making himself known and making it easy for me to like him by doing something without any expectation of pay, thereby winning my trust and also my ringing endorsement. So contrary to what they say about “nice guys finishing last” I think that doing kind and generous things helps you become a winner in the end.