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This article ran in the Chicago Tribune. We've also been featured in the Sun Times and Time Out.

The Handyman Can

When a hole in the wall needs patching or a shaky rail needs to be replaced, who are you going to call?

By Dan Rafter, Special to the Tribune

With nine children running through its halls, slamming its doors and tramping up and down its steps, the Schicker house has taken its share of abuse during the years. Linda Schicker, the mother of these five boys and four girls, has seen her Chicago-area home's garage door go on the fritz, its plumbing fall apart and even its plaster fall from the ceilings. But more than anything, Schicker has seen her home's windows shattered by baseballs, footballs or other projectiles launched by one of her five sons."It's happened so many times, by now you'd think I would know how to fix it myself," Schicker said. "But I've never figured it out."   So Schicker does the next best thing, she finds someone who can handle such repairs, her local handyman, Chris Erickson, who runs The Urban Handyman in Chicago. "I tell you, we've had Chris come out for just about anything," Schicker said. "He's a regular over here. We started calling him four years ago when we first moved into this house. It's a good house, but things were falling apart left and right. He knew exactly what to do for everything." Schicker, of course, isn't the only Chicago-area homeowner to turn to handymen. Unlike most general contractors, handymen are willing to tackle even the smallest of projects, replacing non-functioning garbage disposals or installing new windows. Like their name suggests, they're handy people for homeowners to have around. The problem, though, lies in finding the right handyman. Schicker is lucky, she heard about Erickson after reading a newspaper article about handymen. "I know I didn't go about finding Chris in the right way," Schicker said. "I never checked his references or anything. But I've been fortunate. He's always been reliable."