By Kathy Chouteau
Ted the Handychick is known for repairing, remodeling and upgrading whatever is needed around the house, but she’s also broken the mold by being a successful woman in a traditionally male-dominated field.
Since arriving in the Bay Area from Scotland, Ted Hyrons has built a name for herself by helping her clients with a variety of home maintenance projects. A carpenter by trade, and working under the business name “Ted the Handychick,” she helps her customers with tasks such as plumbing, electrical, decks, fences and remodeling—i.e., kitchens and bathrooms—“from the studs up,” she said.
In 2023, Hyrons was honored with the “Neighborhood Fave” award on Nextdoor as a highly recommended “handychick” after receiving numerous recommendations for her work by neighbors.
The San Pablo resident arrived in the Bay Area the same way many transplants do—after traversing the U.S. and seeing the Grand Canyon along the way—but she traveled a bit farther than most by beginning her trek in Scotland.
“The minute I arrived in San Francisco, it immediately felt like home to me,” said Ted in her Scottish burr. She first visited San Francisco with a friend in 2002, and by 2004, she had relocated to the city from Hamilton, Scotland in the U.K.—about 12 miles south of Glasgow. Eventually, she moved to the East Bay and landed in San Pablo in 2017, after some time in East Richmond Heights.
‘..there are a number of clients who would rather have a female handy worker—especially single women—because it puts them at ease.’
But even though she left Scotland behind, Hyrons never forgot the lessons she learned there.
Hyrons said, “Basically we had to fix everything ourselves,” growing up in Scotland and she learned a great deal from her father, who often did repairs and maintenance on the house. A self-described perfectionist, Hyrons also took carpentry classes in high school and eventually worked her way up to receiving an unofficial apprentice test from her father: Making a gate from hand for their house. She did so and said her father “was very happy with it.” Hyrons, who always connected with her father, said he was delighted to have one of his children working alongside him.
She kept her handy skills fine-tuned on the side as she went on to earn her BA in Law and Accountancy from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and her JD in Law, cum laude, from John F. Kennedy University (CA). Initially pursuing her interest in environmental law, Hyrons’ longtime passion for working with her hands kept calling her back. Eventually, she decided that law was “not a club [she wanted] to join” and officially started her business in 2014 as “Ted the Handychick.”
Hyrons, who shared that she is a lesbian and a single mother, said that she gets recommendations from Nextdoor for projects from the East Bay and San Francisco, ranging from “changing a light fixture to rebuilding a deck.”
And although some people are surprised that a woman does handiwork, Hyrons said there are a number of clients who would rather have a female handy worker—especially single women—because it puts them at ease. She said, “I’m not any kind of a threat” to let into their home.
Hyrons acknowledged that, among her diverse range of clients, many lesbians have recently found and hired her, as have gay men in San Francisco. She said she appreciates the gay community’s support.
Her favorite kind of job is building decks because she likes the smell of fresh cut wood. “I really enjoy working with wood,” said Hyrons, noting that she especially likes redwood and cedar.
“In the end, the client knows what they want and it’s my job to make it happen,” said Hyrons.
When asked if she has any advice for other women wanting to break into her line of business, Hyrons indicated it’s a word-of-mouth business. “Do the work professionally, competently and be open and honest,” she said, also suggesting that they read the code books, work safely and work smart.
“If you’re providing a good service to the customer, you’ll get the work.”
The following are more example’s of Ted’s work, courtesy of Ted.