With her work, Andrea Šírová has fulfilled the wishes of many women in Prague. She is an “hourly wife” and offers her services to those who are sometimes uncomfortable with the presence of a man. He drills shelves, exchanges waste, fixes a sink, in short, replaces a classic craftsman. He can think technically, he understands cutouts and straight lines, and he loves hobby markets.
“She invited a craftsman to sand the floor. He did a fifth and didn’t come when she told him she was assigned.”
How did you think of working as a professional handyman?
I started it last fall. I got a little tired of working in the gastronomy, where I worked with an associate. I thought I needed something of my own. But what can I do? Drill something, replace it. My idea came from my friends, who said what my knowledge would give for you. How many times have they invited a craftsman who had inappropriate speeches. So I tried.
And did you succeed? Are women grateful for your services?
Absoutely. A young woman had a deck on the ceiling and old paint on it. She invited an artisan to grind them. He made a fifth and didn’t come when she let him know she was assigned. So the lady came to me. I borrowed a grinder from the same store he worked at, I walked on ladders, my hands were stretched out like a baboon, but it was worth it. She then invited me to lay the rug and bead. The young lady also called me to see if I would mind translating my offer into English and giving it to a group of foreign mothers in Prague. They are often without men and have trouble finding an artisan who would understand them. So now I am learning all the terms of the subject in English.
What if men wanted your job?
I don’t go to strangers. Only if recommended. When I know who I’m going to.
“When I was younger I would unscrew things and watch them work.”
Where did you learn all this?
At home, after the divorce, we grew up with three women without a father, and I did everything, including heavy manual labor. Chop wood, pile coal or assemble furniture when moving house. I enjoyed that. Dad is a businessman in the construction field and mom is also very competent. When I was younger, I unscrewed things and watched them work. When the hair dryer broke down, I split it, took it out, folded it again. I had a few pieces left, but the hair dryer worked again.
But what about tasks you encounter for the first time?
I learn on the job. Now, for example, I installed a sink for the first time. Another lady asked me if I could put a fence around the property. No problem. I take everything as a challenge. I’ll wonder if I can handle it and say yes, it will work. And if I don’t know, I’ll find it on Youtube. I shouldn’t be afraid of that. We run mobile cafes with a partner. For them, I tried something from plumbing and something from electrical engineering. Connect the battery, replace the waste, replace the plug.
How did you set the prices?
I watched the hourly couple say five hundred crowns an hour. I wanted to talk about it too. But I realized that most mothers would call me, they don’t have much money. When they are looking for someone, the cheapest. So I wrote three hundred and fifty crowns per hour and another three hundred for each started. And right.
Jan Wbout is known as Letna’s husband. Honza can drill, he can cut, he can use electricity, he assembles Ikea and he thinks of everything, there is a Letenský husband on the Facebook page. Before Honza became a reliable and respected craftsman, his…
“My daughter accompanies me when needed. He removes the screws, he hands me stuff”
What job do you do most often?
Most often it is a question of drilling into the wall, fixing shelves, cabinets. Amazingly, people don’t have exercises at home. And in fact the tools in general.
Do you have regular customers?
I go regularly to a lady. For example, she wanted white, descriptive, magnetic paint on the wall, so I had to invent and get it all. About six different coatings are needed to dry. I have gained such confidence in her that she will lend me the keys and I will go there when she is on vacation.
You are raising a little girl. How does such work come together?
My daughter accompanies me when needed. And when I have her with me, my mothers are usually excited, because she is quite communicative. He removes the screws, hands me things. He also has his own little flashlight drill.
“I assembled the cabinets, finished the screen near the shower. And the last time I joined our vacation van”
Do you earn money at home?
Sure. I assembled the cabinets, finished the screen near the shower. And the last time I joined our vacation van. The partner threw it away and in two days the car opened up and it was done. Built-in bed, refrigerator, line, sink, pump connection, shelves, lamps, I cut the mattress, replaced the skylight. And now I have made my daughter a learning tower for the line, because she always wants to help. I was in a hobby market, didn’t get what I wanted. And yet I will not leave empty-handed. I thought for a quarter of an hour how it could work and it was done in an hour.
So leisure markets aren’t as worrying to you as they are to some?
It is paradise. Hell buy clothes. I prefer to pick up the ties because I always deal with the waste. Connect the kegs to the pump to run the water for our cafes. Pipes, reducers, fittings.
Have you ever had the idea that a woman can never do it as well as a man?
No. On the contrary. On the contrary, they make fun of their partner: “we already know who is wearing your pants”. But that’s not true at all. He’s very capable, but I won’t let him, because I like him more. And I’d rather take care of my daughter and I’ll ruin something.
“I only cut once, bending my finger with a rather thick disk. So I already chose and now I cut my head”
When you see something really wrong with the people back home, are you going to tell them?
That’s what happened to my friend now. I wanted to turn on the water and the battery almost stayed in my hand. So I crawled under the sink, screwed it in and it was done.
What is your dream job?
Now the master needs to add a kitchen unit and a bunk bed. I’ve never done it, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll deal with friends who are incredibly good at it, and I’ll make it. I need to get some anchoring gear, so I can’t wait to go shopping again.
It’s quite a risky job, have you ever been injured?
I still have minor injuries, but nothing serious. I only cut once, flexing my finger with a fairly thick disc. So I’ve already chosen and now I cut my head off.