House Doctor offers basic repair work
John Cooper removes an old shower head in a bathroom in Willowbrook. Cooper recently opened a House Doctor home repair business. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
The fix is in
Name: House Doctor
Proprietor: John Cooper
Service area: 15-mile radius of Darien
Phone: (618) 925-3495
Updated: April 22, 2013 2:47AM
When Wendy Sencl divorced last year, she lost her live-in handyman. Over time, a lot of little tasks started mounting.
But the Willowbrook resident recently found a solution as she waited at the King Car Wash in Westmont. That’s where she found a flier for the House Doctor handyman service.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got this shower that’s not working and a million other things.’ So I gave him a call,” she said.
After calling around to compare the estimate, Sencl decided to let House Doctor’s sole proprietor, John Cooper, to fix her shower and replace its outdated fixtures.
“I got hardly any pressure out of it, not to mention it was this gold,” she said.
Sencl is pleased with the result.
“The thing I like about John is he can do that little stuff, but now I’ve got him turning my basement into a media room,” she said. “He’ll tell you what he can do and not do, which I appreciate.”
The House Doctor business is part of Cooper’s “second act,” starting anew at mid-life. The 55-year-old Albion native, who had lived his entire life until recently in southern Illinois, moved to Darien in September, and started his business in November.
Cooper literally is “Dr. Cooper.” Out of a job following a 25-year career at tool manufacturer Snap-On, he took the opportunity to return to school at Southern Illinois University to complete a doctorate in workforce education.
“I kind of had an opportunity for a fresh start,” he said.
But it was his sideline as a former owner of rental properties that influenced his decision to become a professional handyman. It made financial sense for him to learn how to repair and maintain the properties himself, which is where Cooper gained skills, including plumbing, basic electrical work and furnace maintenance.
“Rather than doing it on the side, I wanted to make it my main career,” he said. “Intellectually, it’s challenging. I found I realy like the sort of thing where you work with your hands and do the problem solving with it.”
Cooper admits to having an entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to the rental properties, he once owned a video store.
“I enjoy the being your own boss kind of thing,” he said.
In addition to interior work and some small exterior maintenance jobs, such as caulking and pruning, Cooper also is willing to teach do-it-yourselfers how to make of the repairs. And he’s not afraid of losing business.
“I think they would come back to learn more. There’s so many things the handyman business encompasses. There’s a lifetime of learning there, really,” he said.