PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) - When Lam Doan had a problem with his shower faucet, his first thought was to try to fix it with glue.
"I just wasn't sure," he told 3 On Your Side. "It's not one of those things where you could just Google."
Fortunately, his second thought was to ask for help, so he started a Zoom video chat on his phone with Fixer.com, a virtual home repair service.
"They analyzed it from all different perspectives, and they're like, 'Well, on the knob there's this little thing that you have to pull out and then once you do, you have access to the screw.' And I was like, 'Oh, that was so easy! Good thing I didn't put glue on it,'" Doan laughed.
Mike Evans, the CEO of Fixer.com, says the business started as an at-home handy-person service, but quickly shifted to virtual appointments when the coronavirus pandemic began.
"It turns out, with a coach and a screwdriver, most people can fix most things in their home," Evans said.
Most of the projects tackled on the platform are small -- fixing running toilets and leaky faucets, installing new light switches, or hanging curtains. To date, hundreds of people have used the virtual service, Evans said. According to the company, its home repair specialists who conduct live video calls with customers are licensed and insured.
"Usually what happens with the more complicated things is people just want somebody to say, 'You know, I was thinking about installing this myself. Where do I start?'" Evans said.
Across the country, contractors and other companies are offering similar virtual house calls. Evans expects the trend to continue long after the pandemic is over.
"This is the new way to do things. It's so much more convenient," he said. "It's so much faster to get somebody to just give you a little bit of advice to get you started on things or walk you all the way through it."
On Fixer.com, the first five minutes of the video chat are free. After that, it costs $15 per 15 minutes. Doan says his virtual appointment saved him a plumbing call and a pricey DIY mistake.