If there is a church near you with a slavic (russian) congregation, you can find good workers.
When we need day laborers for a major project, like removing 6000 sf of hardwood flooring, we contact the slavic churches pastor and presto, we have plento of hardworking help, for a reasonable price.
I am not the most handy person you will ever meet. I can put things together and make MINOR fixes, but I have no experience with plumbing, electricity, carpeting, and the guts of rehab projects. I was curious for those who do not have a FT or consistent handy-person, have you used temp agency such as Labor Ready? Was your experience good with them or any other company?
I have used Labor Ready on three seperate occasions for a floorcovering store I operate and have been less than pleased with the quality of people that Labor Ready outsources. The workers they sent me were all unskilled labor and very lazy. I was only asking them to do basic warehouse work and building displays and they could not accomplish the tasks w/o constant supervision. One of there guys did 3k worth of damage and I got stuck with the bill because Labor Ready does not guarantee or insure the works or actions of the people they send out. The hourly wage is also very expensive for what you are getting. I payed $14 an hour for a warm body. Labor Ready pays $10 to the employee and takes $4 for the mark-up. I think you would have better luck networking in your local Real Estate Investors Association. Alot of the smaller investors can’t keep their subs working full time and are willing to share there re-hab guy so he stays busy. I’ve also had some luck with Angies list (angieslist.com. Worth the $39.95 investment to become a member). I"m not sure if they are nationwide.
I do have a good handyman, so can’t tell you about an agency, but I do have a recommendation–work alongside your guy when you find him to learn the basics. If you don’t educate yourself so you can properly hire out & oversee jobs it w/cost you a lot more $$$. When I bought my 1st lot I took a hands-on housebuilding class just so I would be able to specify the work I wanted performed by others. I don’t do much of the labor now (dry well digging notwithstanding), but I like to be on the job if nothing else than pulling nails or painting. It isn’t just a matter of trust, 'cause I don’t lack that. It’s more that it helps me to know exactly what I really want. Often being on the job means that I decide we really don’t need to do a lot of things I originally thought were necessary. Gosh, I really think I just like to be in the thick of things, but it does save me $$$, too–