When it comes to repairing our homes whether it is due to general maintenance or putting the pieces back after a catastrophe, you want to be sure you can trust your contractor.  

However, it can be hard to be patient and look for a trusted insured contractor when all you want to do is put your life back together.

Read on for some useful tips and necessary information to get you started.

Ok, So What is a Handyman Exactly?

A handyman is a skilled “jack of all trades” who can complete a wide range of repairs or home improvement jobs. 

A handyman, or handyman service, usually charge clients an hourly rate, plus material costs, regardless of the task. Many homeowners use a handyman to mark off their around the house “to do” list.

In general, the term “handyman” is loosely defined, some are self-trained, while others have training in various aspects of construction and home repair. A home handyman might specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting, carpentry, or tiling, while an another may have additional skills such as plumbing and electrical expertise.

There aren’t many standards or regulations for handymen, licensing and regulation typically vary by state. Be sure and do your homework before hiring a handyman or contractor be sure he or she has the skills required to finish your project.

Do I Need a Handyman or a Contractor?

The type of job and skill level to complete the job will decide whether you should use a handyman or a contractor is a better fit.

“When trying to determine who you should hire for a particular job, consider the task,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. “If it is a specialized trade, be sure you hire that tradesperson like a plumber or electrician, for example. If it is little things that you can do yourself, a handyman is probably the right way to go.

If multiple workers and lots of time are necessary to complete a complicated project, a handyman may not be the best option. A handyman may not be the best solution in emergency situations for plumbing, electrical or appliance work unless they hold a license in that trade.  Hiring an unlicensed professional to do plumbing or electrical work could leave you without recourse if the work is not completed according to code. Work that is not completed correctly could affect your homeowner’s insurance policy or any claim related to the job. It is also best to use a contractor or specialist when remodeling, for room additions, and plans that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed experts like electricians.

Pro-tips for Hiring a Handyman or Contractor

If time allows interview several candidates before hiring a professional, be sure to pick someone that you feel comfortable with. Here are helpful tips for choosing the best one:

  • Define the scope of work. Write down all the home repairs you need to be done. Keep in mind, small jobs such as installing light fixtures, patching drywall and interior painting are ideal for a handyman. If pulling a permit or moving plumbing or electrical wiring is needed, consider hiring a licensed contractor.home repair guide
  • Shop around. Interview at least three handymen or contractors (if you have the time). Be sure ask how many years of experience they have and what their areas of expertise are.  Ask for references from homeowners they have worked for previously. Make sure their skills and background match what is needed to accomplish the work you need to be done.
  • Be aware of scams. Do not work with anyone who refuses to guarantee the price of the job or asks for payment upfront. A reputable company will not ask to get paid before the project is completed.  Be cautious of handymen or contractors who contact you with unrequested phone calls or visits to your home.
  • Get everything in writing. Ask for a written agreement with the job details, costs, and payment schedule. Make sure you agree on when the work is to start and when it will be finished. Get any work guarantees in writing before the job begins.
  • Ask about guarantees. Most contractors and handymen will guarantee their work for at least a year. Ask up front, so there is no confusion before you make a hiring decision.
  • Examine the work. Inspect the finished job before paying.  Be sure that all work has been done to your liking at the agreed upon price.

For photos of home repairs gone wrong or a chuckle check out these epic repair fails.