My expertise as a handyman was developed over many years and in a wide range of jobs. Skills include carpentry, plumbing, decorating, electrics and all other handyman tasks.
I started in the building trade at the age of 16, working as a labourer for a small building company in South West London and was always out on jobs with different tradesmen. I had always enjoyed doing practical things and was in my element. I constantly asked questions and watched closely. Quite quickly tradesmen let me do small plumbing, electrical and carpentry jobs by myself and after less than a year I was put in charge of replacing the guttering on 110 houses. I stayed with the firm for about three years, and did a night school course in electrical engineering during that time.
I then spent 18 months in the US – working as a painter in Bel Air and for a plumbing company in Santa Monica – picking up more skills. Customers included Dolly Parton and one of the Jacksons!
When I came back I worked for a small roofing company and with the help of some very good books on roofing taught myself a lot more about slating and tiling and lead work. I then started my own roofing company, working mostly in the Clapham and Battersea area – what I had not learned about though was marketing – so during the too frequent quiet times, I started to work for Keith, a builder in Wimbledon. Keith is an amazing builder with a fantastic range of skills. He specialised in loft conversions and extensions – luckily for me Keith wasn’t too keen on heights so I fitted into his company very well doing all his roofing work.
I then worked for Keith for about eight years, and learnt more from him than anyone, developing my carpentry skills to a new level. Eventually, I was given 40% share in the company profits. Keith remains a great friend and is still going strong – he has not been without a job in well over 30 years and he never advertises.
Having a wide range of building skills, I then moved into film industry as a prop man, which is really a glorified handyman. Known for doing jobs quickly and efficiently, I soon worked my way up to prop master (even more glorified handyman), employed on many great films and dramas – and also some pretty awful ones. I have been on film sets with some very famous people including David Beckham, Elle Macpherson, Joan Collins and Stephen Fry to name just a few.
I then moved into advertising, working on props for commercials for all sorts of products. The downside to advertising is that there will frequently be quite large gaps when the phone does not ring – and during these times I started up my business, Russell Hanson – The London Handyman. As word of mouth got around and I was offered more and more handyman work, so ten years ago I made the leap and gave up the film work altogether – and have not looked back. The combination of learning and developing a wide range of skills in the building trade, and the challenges of the film industry has made me the multi-disciplinary professional handyman I am today – have a look at what my customers say about me.