Handyman Hiring Tips – It’s About Common Sense
Are you hiring a handyman for that project of yours, or a general contractor? Do you know the difference?
Often a contractor’s fees to handle small projects can be cost prohibitive.
A handyman typically handles small jobs around the house and yard for both businesses and homeowners alike, and can provide a practical and cost effective solution. A handyman can usually handle a variety of odd jobs as well.
Hiring A Handyman Should Be Automatic For Every Homeowner
A good handyman may be hard to find, so in this article I will cover what jobs should go to your own handyman (Yes, I believe every home owner should have a good handyman they use to make sure their home stays up to date on those little things that add up), and which ones to give a contractor.
Whatever direction you’re headed, I’ve put together some basic thoughts and ideas on how to decide which pro to hire in this article.
Generally, If your project requires a specialized license, permits and/or inspections, or may last several days to a week or more, you should probably use a general contractor. If you really don’t know who to call, there are places you can go on the web to find pros who are pre-screened and registered with marketing and placement companies. Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic) is a great example of a company who pre-screens pros in your area. Professionals register with them and when you fill out a form describing your project, they locate and notify a pro in your area. They have a thorough pre-screening process and a customer rating system so you can see their history with HomeAdvisor and also see feedback from past customers.
Smaller projects or ones that require less specialization may go to a professional handyman. Developing a relationship with a reliable and trustworthy handyman over the long term is a good idea for any homeowner. It’s always nice to be able to address those home improvement projects and house needs from time to time easily and quickly. Before going out and hiring a general contractor to repair a hole in drywall or to paint a room, you may be better off hiring a handyman. A contractor’s fees to handle small projects can be discouraging.
There are a few good rules of thumb when hiring a handyman. With a little investment in time compiling your projects and listing them out with a budget in mind, you can save both money and energy over the long haul. Here is a list of jobs that you can have one good handyman take care of for you:
- Minor plumbing like leaky faucets, a new sink or fixtures
- Minor electrical work like a new ceiling fan, an added plug or switch
- Fixing a leaky roof or correcting drainage problems
- Miscellaneous carpentry around the house
- Painting a room or garage area
- Siding repair
- Building shelves
- Tile repair or installation
This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you’re going to re-side or re-roof your entire home, get a reliable contractor. But if you just need to put in a new sink or faucet, or want to install a ceiling fan or a new mirror in the bath, hiring a handyman is the way to go.
If you want to work alongside your hired help, that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Some handymen prefer to work alone, but most will work with you if you just want some help getting something done. You’ll likely get an hourly rate if you go this route.
- Have a list of all your projects handy before you call someone. Once your pro is on site, have him price each project separately, then together as a whole. Depending on the work involved, you may be able to save money having him tackle at least a few things all at once.
- Ask for references and don’t be afraid to call one or two of them. Handyman are a special breed. Good ones should be very open while the ones you don’t want around hold things close to the chest. It’s difficult at first to know which are which.
- Until you develop a primary handyman relationship that you are very comfortable with, don’t be afraid to get multiple bids. If you get bids, let your handyman know you are getting other bids. It’s the polite thing to do, and trust is built two ways. A handyman that yuo develop a relationship with over time will likely offer you discounts whenever he can.
- Ask your handyman what he specializes in. Engage him in conversation. A good handyman should know a lot about many different things, but you can be sure he is an expert at only a few. Spending a little time up front with him can go a long way. He likely knows other handymen who can take up his slack where he needs it.
- Ask what licenses your handyman carries. There are a ton of guys running around with no licensing from the state. Many tasks do not require a license to perform, but if a handyman has no license at all, he is probably not reliable.
- Ask your handyman if they are insured or bonded. An accident could end up costing you money.
Contracting brokers are another option. They are like salesmen who work for a lot of different companies. When you call a good contracting broker, he will assess your need and find the right company for the job you need done. He gets paid a commission from the contracting company as though he were on their sales force, after the job is complete. Some brokers simply point at the right company for you. Others work more like a consultant and service provider. Those really are the best kind. They know it’s in their best interest to make sure you are happy with both the level of service and the finished project and work with you in every aspect of the job. Using a broker should not cost you any extra money and can alleviate much of the task load.