Hacking Colombia: Plumbers, electricians and Locksmiths

Trades people are more of the informal type in Colombia and in Latin America in general. No Roto Rooter, but maybe Mario from the barrio!

While the person providing any of these services is likely unlicensed, I can attest that they usually do the job. A few months ago, a plumber fixed our faucet for 40,000 COP, less than $10 US, and it leaks no more!

How do you find these guys? (could be gals, just haven’t seen any yet!) Ask at your gated community’s porteria (gatehouse) as they always have a go to person for each thing. If you don’t have a porteria, ask your friends or neighbors – they also have go-to guys! Failing that, you can ask other gringos in the online communities, though I would sooner ask a Colombiano/a than a gringo!

How do you avoid gringo pricing, as some call it? I have my wife do the calling and make myself scarce when they show up. If you don’t have a Colombian spouse or significant other, get someone else that’s local to do it for you, but even if you do have to handle it yourself, that does not immediately mean that gringo pricing will happen. These guys are used by many of your neighbors, so if you give them a bad rap, that may impact their reputation, and no, they usually have no online presence unless they have a shop, so it’s strictly old fashioned word of mouth if you want to give someone a bad rating!