Growing up, Shane Bagley watched his father struggle to take care of his younger brother who has cerebral palsy. “My dad worked in a deli as a meat slicer,” Bagley says. “To get someone to come in to put a handicapped bar in the shower cost $150 many years ago. It was a huge financial burden.”
In 2007, Bagley, who worked as a subcontractor on retail construction projects up and down the East Coast, founded Just Cause Helping Hands to provide low-cost construction and remodeling services to the elderly and those with disabilities who are living on fixed incomes. This year, he started a second for-profit business, Your Local Handyman, to help support the mission of Just Cause. We talked to Bagley about his businesses and about why he wants to help.
R•Home: Why did you start Just Cause Helping Hands?
Shane Bagley: I started it because of my brother, Louis Bagley Jr. I wanted to make it affordable for people like my brother, and older people, to have things done in their homes. I have a background in construction and when I first started Just Cause it was just a hobby at first. But I found out that there are a lot of people out there with great needs.
R•Home: How is Just Cause funded?
Bagley: I have had some help — Home Depot is a sponsor — but mainly it has been focused on me. I have donated my income to make things happen, which is why I started Your Local Handyman to help out on the financial end.
R•Home: What are some of the challenges you face?
Bagley: Just getting people to work for me can be hard because of what I can afford to pay. Volunteers are great for Habitat for Humanity and organizations like that, but I just haven’t reached that level yet.
It’s also very hard to find the person who actually needs the help vs. the person who wants the help. There is a difference.
R•Home: Tell me about some of the people you have helped.
Bagley: We worked with a man who had lost his leg. His kitchen had torn-up linoleum floors. We looked at how much money we could come up with and ended up remodeling the whole kitchen for him, removing a wall so that the wife could see her husband in the
other room when she
was in the kitchen making dinner. We just insulated under a woman’s house, for free, and I am currently helping a person in a wheelchair. They have 30-inch doorways in their house, and they need to be 36-inches to accommodate a wheelchair. I am working to widen all of those right now.
R•Home: How do you determine what you charge?
Bagley: I meet with clients to look at the job and see what it will take to do the job right. If I cannot financially afford to cover it myself, I will ask what they can afford to pay. I can pretty much meet them halfway most of the time. I don’t make any money off of this.
R•Home: How many people do you help?
Bagley: I did more than 200 projects last year. A lot of them are small — people will call and say, ‘I need a wider front door,’ for a wheelchair. I do a lot of those. Or I will fix a leaky sink, or dishwasher.
R•Home: Tell me about Your Local Handyman.
Bagley: I decided to provide a service that could bring in some money so I could start building a bank account for Just Cause, so if I really wanted to help someone, I could have the means to do it. No job is too small for Your Local Handyman. Even if it’s just changing a doorknob, Shane is on his way. I’ve been very busy so far.
R•Home: Why do you do this?
Bagley: Because of my brother, as well as my fiancé — she had scoliosis when she was a kid and has some physical issues. When I see her struggle, it’s my momentum. I get satisfaction out of helping people. I am not the biggest guy in the world, but I feel like one of these days, I will make a difference.