Would you hire a guy with one leg to do your cabinets?

95 Replies

He seems to know his stuff, has worked on boats all his life, was able to lay out for me in detail a couple options to redo my kitchen and bath cabinets for $12/hr and he'd use me or someone for grunt work. He lives out of his boat on ss and lost his leg from a motorcycle accident and is on pain meds and could use some money to sail off to wherever the wind takes him next and I could have a part in that lol. He seems a little desperate and kinda bugging me with over friendliness which I imagine is because of his physical challenges, I'm guessing but he seems friendly and skilled enough and we'd be working together replacing doors and refinishing/painting that formica covered composite wood stuff the boxes are made of and replacing the (horizontal) particle board. I've gotten professional quotes so it looks like I could save a lot. Would you?

@Benjamin Cowles I encourage you to never l judge someone by their disabilities if they can do the work they can do it just plain fact. I feel sorry that this guy needs to work for so cheap because of this disability. 

Yes. The truth is everyone has something going on in their life, his just happens to be readily visible.

Why not? My dad had one hand and still did the best carpentry work you've ever seen. He also owned a floor covering business doing custom tile and wood work all while managing his properties for 50 years. I can only imagine what he could have accomplished if all he was missing was a lousy leg. 

I wouldn't not hire him because of him missing a leg. A missing leg isn't really a big impediment to hanging cabinets.

I wouldn't hire him because he sounds like a slightly better than homeless dude looking to make a few quick bucks. My personal policy is that the only people working for me are construction professionals... period. I want people who do this day in, day out. Don't hire someone just because they happen to be standing in front of you claiming to be able to do what you need.

If this guy accidentally shoots a nail through his hand, or falls off a ladder, what do you think is going to happen? 

He's missing a leg and lives on a boat? Sounds like a pirate and you don't want to hire pirates to hang cabinets. Don't ask me how I know this.

Seriously, his disability has nothing to do with anything. Living on a boat and working for $12 an hour is a pretty big red flag for me. If you think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.

Test him out, 12 an hour is nothing.

I wouldn't care about his leg

I WOULD care that 60% of the story you told is social guilt he is making you feel. You said "he seems a little desperate", and "could use some money". These are not metrics to evaluate a contractor with.

If you want to donate to charity, do so, if you want to hire a cabinet guy, do so. Don't let this guy become your charity.

@Benjamin Cowles

If he seems to be able to do a good job, his disability shouldn't be a problem. Proceed with caution and be sure he knows what he is doing before letting him do the whole project. If he works per hour, he might agree to work for a day/two and then allow you to decide if you want to continue.

If you know you won't have the heart to 'fire' him if he does not know how to do the work well, decide before hiring him if your willing to take that risk.

@Ian Cosley - I am filled with admiration for your father for not allowing his missing arm to get in his way to success :)

@Brandon Hayes - So true! Every time I think 'so and so has the perfect life' I find it was an illusion. Helps me judge people favorably when they don't behave as they should...

Originally posted by @Aaron McGinnis :

I wouldn't not hire him because of him missing a leg. A missing leg isn't really a big impediment to hanging cabinets.

I wouldn't hire him because he sounds like a slightly better than homeless dude looking to make a few quick bucks. My personal policy is that the only people working for me are construction professionals... period. I want people who do this day in, day out. Don't hire someone just because they happen to be standing in front of you claiming to be able to do what you need.

If this guy accidentally shoots a nail through his hand, or falls off a ladder, what do you think is going to happen? 

Okay, great point and I think may have been my ulterior motive in creating this thread. So would a release of liability agreement or whatever it's called stand in a court? And what other precautions do I take? 

Originally posted by @Fradel Schaechter :

@Benjamin Cowles

If you know you won't have the heart to 'fire' him if he does not know how to do the work well, decide before hiring him if your willing to take that risk.

 Thanks. Good point and I'll have the heart if I decide to take the risk

Pay him for the job, not by the hour. Ask him how long it will take and offer him that amount x 12.

Having one less leg means he's probably going to hang cabinets slower than the average guy.

But 12/hr is cheap.

If this were foundation plumbing or electric I'd obviously (have to) hire a licensed contractor but this work didn't seem too... risky in being able to salvage after some loss to erroneous work or performance. Along with that working hourly gives us both a much easier way out. Why is all that a naive assumption on my part? 

@Benjamin Cowles , get references, had a contractor that I asked for references from and he would never deliver and I hired him anyway, big mistake on my part.

Missing a leg is nothing; but the pain meds you mentioned, and power tools, are a dangerous problem and could cost you way more than 12 an hour. I'd still try him out; what's 50 dollars for a half day.

Originally posted by @Max T. :

Pay him for the job, not by the hour. Ask him how long it will take and offer him that amount x 12.

Having one less leg means he's probably going to hang cabinets slower than the average guy.

But 12/hr is cheap.

So 'man hours' would be the figure right? He's gonna need help. So suppose he figures no more than 200... about almost three weeks for two people, one brain one grunt, 100 hrs =$1200 + 100 hrs grunt work(plus edjew-kay-shee-ohhhn!)... So then $1200 but pay 'up to' it by the hour/day no? In case he messes up or miscalculated. Hmm... each time I mess up we'll have to calculate time lost then deduct it from the max hrs paid.... I will spreadsheet this out....

So when he messes up extending hrs to complete and won't work for free then what? Just make sure I know what hardware and router bit he used on the doors? So I'd just find another custom cabinet guy to finish from there if need be and make sure the work is of standard techniques and materials. 

Yeah? 

Originally posted by @Benjamin Cowles :
Originally posted by @Max Tanenbaum:

Pay him for the job, not by the hour. Ask him how long it will take and offer him that amount x 12.

Having one less leg means he's probably going to hang cabinets slower than the average guy.

But 12/hr is cheap.

So 'man hours' would be the figure right? He's gonna need help. So suppose he figures no more than 200... about almost three weeks for two people, one brain one grunt, 100 hrs =$1200 + 100 hrs grunt work(plus edjew-kay-shee-ohhhn!)... So then $1200 but pay 'up to' it by the hour/day no? In case he messes up or miscalculated. Hmm... each time I mess up we'll have to calculate time lost then deduct it from the max hrs paid.... I will spreadsheet this out....

So when he messes up extending hrs to complete and won't work for free then what? Just make sure I know what hardware and router bit he used on the doors? So I'd just find another custom cabinet guy to finish from there if need be and make sure the work is of standard techniques and materials. 

Yeah? 

 half up front to buy the materials, or better yet buy them yourself.

the rest when the job is done. 

Originally posted by @Benjamin Cowles :
Originally posted by @Aaron McGinnis:

I wouldn't not hire him because of him missing a leg. A missing leg isn't really a big impediment to hanging cabinets.

I wouldn't hire him because he sounds like a slightly better than homeless dude looking to make a few quick bucks. My personal policy is that the only people working for me are construction professionals... period. I want people who do this day in, day out. Don't hire someone just because they happen to be standing in front of you claiming to be able to do what you need.

If this guy accidentally shoots a nail through his hand, or falls off a ladder, what do you think is going to happen? 

Okay, great point and I think may have been my ulterior motive in creating this thread. So would a release of liability agreement or whatever it's called stand in a court? And what other precautions do I take? 

I'm not a lawyer and this isn't legal advice - but my gut says that no release will be release-y enough if he slips and cracks his skull open. You're going to end up footing the bill.

Other precautions? Don't hire him. Hire a real installer who brings his own insurance, tools, and know-how to the job.

The work you are planning on doing is reno 101 that any one knowing which end of a screw driver to hold can accomplish. If he has any handyman experience and does not have a drinking problem you should be fine. Dependability will be your biggest problem. Research on the inter web the work you are planning and you can probably do it yourself.

Ask for referrals.

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

The work you are planning on doing is reno 101 that any one knowing which end of a screw driver to hold can accomplish. If he has any handyman experience and does not have a drinking problem you should be fine. Dependability will be your biggest problem. Research on the inter web the work you are planning and you can probably do it yourself.

 That's usually how I would think about it. 'yeah, just need to buy a used router/table, table saw, heat gun, paint, varnish, this that, and do a-z no pro. We'll I thought 6 months ago I'd have my motorcycle running in one month after a good carburetor(x4) cleaning and it wasn't til last month I got it running. So I'm done taking on new "DIY" jobs for now at least

On another thread there was a guy with one leg asking if he should work for someone who is prejudice against people with disabilities. People said he should pass because $12 an hour isn't enough to deal with someone like that.

Originally posted by @Aaron McGinnis :

 - but my gut says that no release will be release-y enough if he slips and cracks his skull open. 

Sorry, I'm either misreading that or just dumb but I don't get it. But I think you're saying it's risky. 

Try him out, you are only risking $12 an hour.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here