So what should a handyman charge? Hmmm…it depends. The short answer – in Dallas, and most everywhere else, the cost range can be dramatic…and confusing. The quality of a handyman service can vary greatly because of the nature of the business, it seems a lot of people try their hand at it simply because they know a few things about construction or home repair.
The size of the handyman company can be an indicator of the quality of work you’ll get, but even a franchise or large company is not a true indicator of the quality of work they’ll perform. (many are sole proprietors or small LLC’s and just about as many are franchise owners). If you were to call 5 different handymen, you would likely get 5 different handyman prices for the same job. Franchise owners are very competitive with each other and you will get consistent pricing from them since they get trained in various areas of handyman work as well as on how to price a job. The playing field is generally very level between franchise owners.
Here’s some insight on the industry that might help shed some light on who’s out there bidding for your work, and hopefully you can go from there. Talk to your handyman about the job you need done to see how experienced he is in that area. You can be sure, the price you get from a particular pro may in no way reflect his ability to perform the job.
Overhead plays a pretty big role as well, insurance costs, his certifications and so forth all affect pricing. I know a guy who charges $30 an hour to house flippers (real estate investors) for general labor by the hour and in the neighborhood of $75 per hour to stain a fence. Actually, he charges by the linear foot for fences, and there are different charges per foot for different types of fences, but since he happens to be very fast and very good at staining fences it works out to about $75 per hour. At any rate, it’s the same guy, but a different approach on how he prices a job. He is very competitive as a fence staining specialist.
You can acquire bids for your project at no cost as well. It’s downright rude to call someone for a bid with no intent on getting it done, but if you are serious about getting a price for your project, you can get multiple bids from legitimate contractors and go from there.
Most handymen charge flat rates for a job. Some even advertise their basic rates. For the most part, handymen charge anywhere from $30 to $65 per hour and calculate how long they think it will take to accomplish the job. Some very experienced handymen charge somewhere in the range of $50 to $65 for the first half hour, then $30 to $45 for every hour after that. I think that’s a pretty fair approach so the cost and time involved in driving to the job site is covered.
My approach is similar at about $45 per hour if I estimate the job will take under a half day and $35 an hour for longer jobs. I rarely work by the hour, and have flat rates for many tasks that I perform on a regular basis. Most customers want me to quote a price up front and write out the scope of work involved beforehand so there are no questions later when the job is completed.
I base my quote on the cost of materials which includes a small added percentage to cover my pick up and delivery time, then calculate labor, which I described earlier in this post.
Let’s compare pros: A Plumber may come into your home and replace a drain, and it takes him an hour and a half to get everything done, then he charges you $175 for the repair. Then let’s say a handyman comes in and does the exact same job. Is he worth $175? More than likely, he will charge less. Say, $120 for the same job.
Those numbers are purely hypothetical, but perhaps you see the point. While he’s there, you may as well have that handyman look at that long over due porch repair as well. You can’t ask the plumber to do that, for sure. To be fair, a plumber can also run new water service to the free-standing garage you built in the backyard, but you might not want the handyman to handle that one.
There are code issues and job specific licensing involved in most areas of the country for that sort of thing. You can check out my article on who you should hire for your specific job if you’re unsure about who to call.
So, in an attempt to answer the question within being even more confusing, I’d say a good, professional handyman will run you anywhere from $25 to $65 per hour depending on the job, how long it will take, and the skills needed to get it done. Not a great answer, but without specific information about the job itself, it’s really impossible to say exactly.
Sometimes, you can do some things yourself, like install appliances. The investment of just a few simple tools can pay for themselves in a single job. When you hire someone, remember to ask questions. Compare prices. And remember that you usually get what you pay for, but never overlook the small entrepreneur working his butt off making it happen!