A handyman/handywoman can be a great choice for home repairs, especially for homeowners who need help with smaller jobs, or those who have a variety of projects.
Some of these tradesmen and women can even tackle complicated jobs that include electrical and plumbing work. But, it’s important to find the right person for your particular set of chores around the house.
Handymen continue to be in high demand. In fact, the handyman service category is consistently one of Angie’s List’s most requested. However, the fact that handyman is a broad term, coupled with the increasing complexity of home systems, can leave homeowners wondering if a handyman’s the right contractor for the projects on their list.
Here are a few Angie's List tips to help you determine if a handyman’s right for you, and if so, which handyman:
Make a list of what you need done: Include as much detail as you can. Have this list on hand when you call to make an appointment. Talk through your list with the handyman or contractor. Most professionals are going to tell you up front if it’s a job outside their area of expertise. And, in the case of some of the larger handyman shops, knowing what jobs you need done, often determines which employee they send to your house.
Choose the same way you would for a larger project: Check Angie’s List. Talk to at least three different handymen. Get estimates on price and how long it will take to complete your list of projects. Ask for and check references.
Does the work require a licensed professional? Every state/city varies when it comes to whether a handyman requires a license. If a license is not required for a handyman, but the locality requires it for plumbers or electricians, then handymen either need to be licensed for those trades or they must subcontract that part of the job to a licensed trades person.
Walk through the house with the handyman, pointing out all the tasks on your list. It will give him/her the opportunity to ask questions, as well as better understand your expectations for the job.
Know what’s included in the price: Ask if they charge a flat rate or by the hour. Are they charging you a trip fee? Can you purchase the supplies yourself, rather than paying for the handyman’s drive time to-and-from the home improvement store?
Hiring a handyman may not be cheaper than hiring a specialized professional: For example, a professional plumber may be able to diagnose and fix your problem much quicker than a handyman.
Prepare ahead of time: Prepping your home for the handyman visit may save you money – especially if the handyman charges by the hour. For example, if there’s an issue with your sink, remove all the items from underneath it.
Expect good service: Just because a handyman may be considered a “jack of all trades,” it doesn't mean you shouldn't expect good service. Many in the industry are taking steps to meet homeowner demands in relation to professionalism, know-how, experience and even etiquette. In fact, some companies have helped draft rules guiding the conduct of their employees to improve customer satisfaction.
When you find a good handyman, keep him: A handyman can become a good resource for you, especially if you use him regularly. He will come to know your house and can help identify issues before they become costly problems.
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