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How To Hire a Handyman.

Handyman Defined

A handyman is a person skilled in home repair and small remodeling projects that can help you get your home improvement to do list done.

A handyman usually charges clients hourly, plus materials, and sometimes includes a trip fee for fuel. Homeowners will typically have a handyman complete a list of repair items to their home.

“Handyman” is the generally accepted term for someone that has experience in various forms of remodeling, painting, repair and even renovation. A home handyman may have broad experience in anything ranging from carpentry, painting and tile to basic electrical repair.

There's no national standard or regulation for handymen and Licensing can vary. One thing is for sure, anyone that you hire to do work in your home better be insured or you could be liable for any injuries. Make sure you hire the right handyman before you let them in your home.

Handyman VS. Contractor

A handyman is going to complete the job for less but you need to be aware that some tasks will require a specialized contractor. In most states a handyman is not permitted to create new items that are related to trades. So that means if you want a new light in a place that didn't have one before you need a licensed electrician.

“When hiring a handyman realize that handyman professionals typically specialize in fixing things that are already there.”, says Gerard Brandimarte, founder of 1-833-MYFIXIT. “If you want something installed that is related to Plumbing and Electrical, (i.e. the trades), hire a state licensed contractor.” “Although some handyman services do have licensed people or can often refer you to one.”

Handyman services often don't provide emergency services. Most handyman businesses and many general contractors schedule out projects weeks in advance.

Do I need a handyman?

Everyone has a to do list for their home that just keeps getting longer and longer. Before you know it your list is so long that many of the items become problems that need to be addressed. In states that see heavy winters one example is damaged siding from snow loads. On shady sides of a home a couple inches of snow could cause siding with aging paint and cracking caulk to absorb moisture and swell along the roof line. That's just one item, there could be an entire list of simple upkeep items in everyone's home that if neglected will eventually lead to needing complete and costly replacement.

Handymen charge by the hour so you can provide them with a list of what needs done. These lists can be completed much more cost effectively by a handyman than if you were to pay an electrician or a plumber to do the same tasks.

If you hire a handyman at an hourly rate you are less likely to pay too much than if you hire a general contractor. General contractors will often bid by the job and build wiggle room in the amount they charge for all the incidentals. Handyman services often charge by the hour and in so you pay only for the time you use and the materials needed.

Handymen can provide services in so many different areas that it can frequently be a one and done appointment. This allows for efficiency especially if you have to take time off to have a contractor do work in or on your house. One appointment could see a handyman assembling a new grill, repairing some hard-scaping, setting up outdoor speakers and even hanging backyard lights for your party.

Handyman Specialties

Handyman services can best be utilized by completing all those things that individually aren't a big deal but together can add up to make your house look and feel like it is falling apart.

Small Plumbing Tasks: If you have leaking faucets and slow draining sinks you could have a handyman tackle those with ease.

Siding and Caulking Prevent Further Damage: Caulking can crack which then allows moisture and cold to enter. If you keep up on your caulking it can prevent heat loss in the winter and also prevent damaged siding that needs replaced.

Patios, Porches and Decks: Wooden exterior structures of most all kinds require regular maintenance or they will fall apart and look worn. Most decks need tightened up and refinished every 3 years if you want to keep it from falling apart.

Painting: Often your painting fades at different rates in different areas of your home. The entryway from the garage is usually the part of the house that takes a beating and needs freshened up or touched up.You may have a home exterior painted but one side or area that bakes in the afternoon sun ends up needing a fresh coat so you don't get fined by your homeowners association.

Hanging Things: When you hang valuable or heavy items correctly with the proper ladders it just so much nicer. It's often worth having a professional hang these items and replace other things up high so you don't have to be on a ladder.

How much is a handyman?

Handyman services can range from 50 to 80 per hour, on average, nationwide.

How to hire a handyman.

Evaluate a couple handyman services. Make sure they perform background checks on the handyman techs. Remember, you are allowing a stranger in your house and should consider more than just a low price.

1. Get a list together. Make a list of all the items you want done. They may be able to estimate how many hours or even days it will take to complete your list.

2. Check them out. See if you can read reviews online, do they seem to have a substantial online presence? Does the service seem like they will be around and have examples of work either online or on social media. Many independent handymen work from just a facebook page, does it look active and have recommendations?

3. Scammers. Don't do business with handymen that show up at your house looking for work. Most handymen don't ask for money up front unless it's a larger project that requires a large purchase of materials. Even then the standard seems to be 10% down.

4. Get An Invoice or Estimate. Get a written agreement of what you want done and even how it will be paid, ahead of time. Many services are even digital now, but if not your handyman can easily write up your list and agree to some terms.

5. Guarantees. Handymen usually guarantee work for a year. Go over the work completed if possible and make sure it's done to your liking. Most handymen want to avoid another trip out to fix something someone missed or forgot.


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