Gifford Teeple: Positively Reliable
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
EL CERRITO — Following college, Gifford Teeple was unsure what his professional future would look like, but after he relocated to a new setting, things quickly began to take shape. “After finishing college in 1994, I moved from Southern California to Chicago,” he recounts. “My landlord owned 10 other rental properties and did all his own repairs and maintenance. I needed a job, and since I had some prior experience working with an electrician, he agreed to take me on as an assistant. At first, I was just handing him tools and doing grunt work, but over the next several years, I learned a lot and eventually was maintaining all of his properties singlehandedly. After 10 years, I decided to move back to California, where I settled in the Bay Area and started my own handyman business.”
Today, as owner of A Reliable Handyman, Gifford says he enjoys making a positive impact, one repair at a time. “My motto is, ‘Fixing the little things that make a big difference.’ The little things add up, whether it’s a towel bar that fell off years ago or a doorknob that isn’t working correctly, so I like fixing my customers’ problems and bringing them greater peace of mind.”
A resident of El Cerrito, Gifford expresses his appreciation for the dynamic character of the Bay Area. “I love the natural beauty here, as well as all the different neighborhoods in El Cerrito, Berkeley and Oakland. I also appreciate the forward-thinking mentality—the people here tend to be a little more progressive politically, ecologically and spiritually. I also like the fact that we’re close to San Francisco but also close to nature. It’s basically the perfect balance.”
Outside of work, Gifford engages in a variety of active pastimes, from outdoor activities to community events and music. “I love getting out and walking in the woods and by the ocean,” he says. “I also like playing ping pong, attending local events like workshops and film festivals, and playing music. I play guitar and drums, and I’m currently taking a piano class.” Additionally, Gifford likes to further his positive impact through volunteering. “Once a week, I spend a couple of hours at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley, where I help students with their reading skills. I enjoy working with kids, so it’s a fun way to contribute.”
In regard to his professional career, Gifford stresses the importance of reliability. “With a name like A Reliable Handyman, reliability is obviously key, so I always want to be someone whom people can count on,” he affirms. “I also think the relational aspect is important. I’m not just an ‘all business’ kind of guy; I like to be personable and interact with my clients in a pleasant and friendly manner.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Gifford says he’d spend more time enjoying life and serving others. “I’d definitely devote more time to travel and artistic pursuits, but I’d also sign on for more hours working with kids. Of course, even if I did retire, I don’t think I’d stop doing handyman work altogether. I like working with my hands, so maybe I’d do that on a volunteer basis as well.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The guitar. I started taking guitar lessons in Chicago and I still play a bit, but it’s been on the backburner since I switched my focus to piano.
Q: What kinds of movies do you like?
A: I like movies that make me think, especially documentaries and thoughtful science fiction films.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect travel experiences. I backpacked around the world in my mid- to late-20s, and I still enjoy visiting and experiencing new places.
Q: How do you like your eggs?
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
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A: Probably the future, just to see how far we’ve come in terms of interstellar travel and contacting life on other planets.