The flexible schedule helps them take care of their autistic children.
It’s wonderful to have a spouse who's handy. Every homeowner knows that there's always something that needs to be fixed or replaced. Having a handy spouse makes it a lot easier to get things done while saving the family a whole lot of money.
Laura Young took things a step further and is using her handy husband, James, to make the family more money.
South West News Service reports that she had a brilliant idea after listening to a podcast about a man who makes a living putting together ready-to-assemble furniture. Why not lend her husband out to other people to do odd jobs?
"He's good at everything around the house and garden, so I thought why not put those skills to use and hire him out?" Laura told SWSN.
Laura made a Facebook post joking about her husband's incredible skills as a handyman and, surprisingly, people started booking him for jobs. James booked so many gigs that he was able to drop his job working in a warehouse and gain greater flexibility to help Laura raise their three kids, two of which are diagnosed autistic and the other requires speech and language therapy.
"It allows us to book jobs and estimates around appointments, school runs, without having to clear it with an employer first, risking them saying 'no' or being guilt-tripped, and feeling you’re letting a team down," Laura told Upworthy.
\u201cWoman who 'rents husband to other women for \u00a340' says 'business is booming'\n\nA mum-of-three who rents out her husband to other women for odd jobs is seeing her \u00a340-a-time business boom, with the makeshift handyman working up to six days a week.\u201d— WestAfriTv\ud83d\udc8e (@WestAfriTv\ud83d\udc8e) 1667372045
James has been diagnosed with autism as well. "James doesn’t come from a trade background but his grandad was a nuclear engineer, and they think he was also on the spectrum,” Laura said. "He's got a very methodical mind and can think outside the box. He sees things differently."
The career change was perfect timing as James was having a hard time balancing work and home life. "It got to the point he was having to leave early to help me at 1 a.m. because one or both boys were up," Laura told Upworthy. "He was beginning to struggle with being overwhelmed by the new responsibilities he was given."
James charges £40 ($45) an hour and is available to work in Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard and surrounding areas northwest of London, England. The couple gives price breaks to people who work for the National Health Service or who are 65 and older.
When James first started, he had so many bookings that he worked six days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. But since, the couple have cut down his schedule to a more manageable 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The couple work together as a team: Laura handles the booking and social media, and James does the manual labor. “You create and I’ll build,” James told her, according to the Rent My Handy Husband website.
James works to help anyone who needs help, whether it's installing a trampoline, building a wall or putting up a television. The couple have also added a new specialty service for him this holiday season: putting up Christmas lights.
Since the Youngs' story hit the news, they've received a lot of positive responses for paying it forward.
"We’ve had a lot of families, carers and disabled people reach out to say that they think it’s great we offer discounts because they are unable to work due to either their disabilities or being carers and therefore don’t have much disposable income," Laura told Upworthy. "We have recurring customers that we do work for every month. We have also been approached by the National Health Service to see if we can offer work experience for disabled people."
The couple’s decision to market James’ considerable DIY skills is a wonderful story about a family being resourceful. It also speaks to how families with special needs children require greater flexibility in their schedules to accommodate the extra work. Special needs children often have more doctor's appointments and therapy sessions than typical children and may have to spend more time away from school. The hard part for parents is making it all work.
It’s wonderful that the couple could create a workaround for their lives and that they are supported by people in their community.