8 Mistakes I Made That Led to the Hiring (& Firing) of a Deadbeat Handyman

8 Mistakes I Made That Led to the Hiring (& Firing) of a Deadbeat Handyman

3 min read
John Fedro

John Fedro has been actively investing in individual mobile homes since 2002 and in parks since 2016. Additionally, he’s been assisting other mobile home investors since 2006.

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a four-bedroom mobile home inside of a pre-existing mobile home park. Over the next 11 months, John added 10 more mobile homes to his cash-flowing portfolio. Since these early years, John has gone on to help 150+ sellers and buyers sell their unwanted mobile homes and obtain a safe and affordable manufactured home of their own.

Years later, John keeps to what has been successful—buying, fixing, renting, and reselling affordable housing known as mobile homes. Like almost every long-term investor, he’s made more mistakes than he can count. John discusses many of them on his blog and YouTube channel, where he shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the experiences of other successful mobile home investors that he’s helped.

John has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest on BiggerPockets and other prominent real estate podcasts, authored a highly-rated book aimed at increasing the happiness/satisfaction of average real estate investors, and spoken to national and international audiences concerning the opportunities and practicality of successfully investing in mobile homes.

John now spends his time actively investing in individual mobile homes and acquiring parks. He focuses on enjoying his time and partnering with other investors around the country to grow their own local mobile home cash-flowing portfolios and reputations.


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Welcome back,

Over the past week there were so many mistakes made in my business during the hiring and firing of a deadbeat handyman. Luckily these mistakes only cost me a small bit of time and money. These mistakes revolved around hiring a high-risk handymen who should have never been on the job to begin with. This handyman lasted only four long days before we had to let him go due to poor work performance and a bad attitude.


A handymen was being hired to repair and maintain mobile homes at a large mobile home park acquisition new to my portfolio. Prospective handymen were responding from online, off-line, and newspaper advertisements.

They say hindsight is 20/20, so now let me give you a recap of all my mistakes so you can avoid them in your own real estate investing business. Below is a list of some of the major mistakes made.

Related: Crisis Management: How I’ve Dealt With Rogue Contractors (& What I’ve Learned)

8 Mistakes I Made That Led to the Hiring (& Firing) of a Deadbeat Handyman

1. I did not test his performance prior to giving him work.

Moving forward, all prospective handymen will bid and perform multiple jobs ranging in skilled abilities before a full-time position will be offered. By not testing a handyman’s capabilities, you can only trust them on their word.

2. Bad attitude was overlooked in our first few interactions.

Looking back, it is hard to see how I missed this while dealing with this handyman for multiple days. A bad attitude can be like a blanket in that it covers a person’s attitude, expressions and work performance. This poor choice for a handyman was quickly souring relations between the park manager, myself and residents.

3. I listened to his excuses more than once.

Excuses stink! Excuses are the result of poor planning, a lack of communication, and throwing in the towel. Looking back, I think how stupid I just was at allowing this handyman to procrastinate and make excuses, instead of improvements.

4. I did not interview with more than 3 people before hiring him.

I was pushing myself to stay ahead of my own deadline with regard to making repairs and selling mobile homes in my newly acquired mobile home community. Due to this rush, I hired the second handyman who applied and sweet talked his way into a job. Admittedly, I fell for this handyman’s story; he talked the talk, but couldn’t walk the walk.

All handymen moving forward will be interviewed at length, and a minimum of 10 handymen will be screened and given test jobs before one is hired.

5. I did not have an adequate system in place to keep him on-track.

Before the handyman ever started, there should have been in on-boarding process to welcome and transition this handyman on to the team. Since letting this handyman go, we have started using and implementing Basecamp.com to track our job progress, changes, deadlines, responsibilities and the duties of each person on the team.

6. I did not interview in front of the park manager.

There was always an error in the chain of command. While walking this handyman around the park and interviewing him prior to hiring, we never stopped to talk to or meet with the long time park manager. Once this handyman was hired, he gave little respect to the park manager or her wishes.

7. I did not set firm enough boundaries.

Working one-on-one with handymen, residents, and employees can make for tricky business. Great leaders are not born, they are made. Over the coming months and years, this balance between boss, coworker, and friend will have to be adjusted and tested time and time again. With every mistake, I make my personal boundaries of what I will allow and not allow become stronger and clearer. The clearer these boundaries are to me, the clearer I can make them to others.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Finding an Incredible Contractor

8. I did not adequately set expectations and a vision for the park.

If you don’t believe in your vision, who will? This mobile home park is a fixer upper, with a lot of potential in a great up-and-coming little city. As community owner and leader, it is my job to sell this vision in the minds and hearts of the residents, employees, and local community.

Example: “Our vision and goal is to provide a safe, friendly, and comfortable group of neighbors living together in a great mobile home community.”

In conclusion, I totally blame myself for the poor choices and quick decision to hire this handyman. I am not a born manager, leader, or mobile home park owner. However, for all the experience and knowledge I lack, I am determined to push forward and learn from every win and mistake made. This entire article may have been avoided had I researched more and asked my mentors for their personal advice dealing with and hiring handymen and handywomen.

Have you ever dealt with a deadbeat handyman? How did you deal with the situation? How have you avoided doing the same thing again?

Leave a comment, and let’s talk!

Welcome back, Over the past week there were so many mistakes made in my business during the hiring and firing of a deadbeat handyman. Luckily these mistakes only cost me a […]