Forget flowers. This year, give your mother something she’s always wanted for Mother’s Day. Something you could never be: A son.
“I think it’s a great idea,” says Natashia Grell, 32, a mother of two girls, 9 and 2.
“There are so many things I could do if I just had a handy ... man around the house. Like, install curtains, clean up the yard ... unload clutter.”
It’s no wonder Grell’s a fan of Rent-A-Son (rentason.ca), a small business that does just what its name implies.
A regular customer, she’s used the human labour service twice in the last couple of years and says she wouldn’t mind at all if her kids and husband (“not the handiest of souls”) wrapped a big red bow around a “son” and delivered him to her on Mother’s Day.
“It’s great to have someone do all the little things around the house you can’t do yourself,” Grell says. “And it’s one of those gifts that lasts, unlike a bouquet of flowers or chocolates. And it’s not that expensive, so you can get a lot done.”
That’s just another reason Dustin Kroft, Rent-A-Son’s owner, feels this service makes the perfect present.
For just $20 per hour, anyone can rent a son; each is handpicked by Kroft.
First, the sons are hired to work in Rent-A-Son’s commercial division doing hard labour until they can prove they’re trustworthy, hardworking, reliable and personable enough to be “real” sons.
While it’s unlikely they’ll throw “typical son tantrums” (if they do, fire them!), Kroft likes to see his “sons” graduate and move on to home duty.
“We like to make customers feel like they’re getting family,” Kroft says. “We want to make every customer feel better in their own home.”
Sons range in age from 18 to 30 – to avoid those icky teenage years. Though they’re general labourers, knowing early on whether they’ll be washing dishes, cleaning the yard or installing light bulbs will help Kroft send the right son for the job.
Since the company was founded in 2000, sons have been doing almost anything under the sun to fulfill their temporary parents’ wishes – from heavy lifting to stomping grapes at vineyards to helping cottagers get their summer homes into camp-tastic shape.
For a minimum of four hours, Nick Macheras could be yours.
A brown-haired, blue-eyed, 23-year-old, this “son” is up for anything from dog walking to taking out trash to moving pianos to painting. He’s become like family to many people he’s helped in his two years working 500 jobs as a Rent-A-Son. There are 20 full-time staff and 130 part-timers. Sons can be rented out as single helpers, or in a pack.
“Some people don’t just rent me, they adopt me,” says Macheras. “I’ll go over and they’ll give me cookies; they’ll ask about girlfriends.”