Hire a Contractor or Handyman?
Anyone with a house has a list of items that need repaired. But how do you determine whether you need a contractor or handyman for your project?
Angie Hicks of Angie’s List helps you decide who is best suited for the job.
A nationwide Angie’s List poll of members found:
· 90 percent of Angie’s List members are ready to invest in home improvement this year.
· Of those respondents, 40 percent have plans to make repairs this year.
These days, contractors and handymen are very similar, especially with more contractors developing an all-around approach – making the decision on who you should hire that much more confusing.
Before you hire, make a list of what you need done. Include as much detail as you can so the company can determine if your requests are within their abilities. 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
Who to hire? Contractor or Handyman?
- A handyman/handywoman service 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 be sure they are licensed for those trades if it’s required in your area.
- A contractor tends to concentrate on larger jobs or a more specialized field that could require a license or special certification. If you are planning a room addition or a kitchen remodel, for example, a contractor would be better suited for your project. These jobs may last several weeks or months, whereas a handyman’s work may be done in just a few hours.
- Check with Angie’s List to see what your neighbors have to say about contractors, handymen, and other professionals in your area.
Regardless of who you hire to help around your house, always look at three things.
- The company’s reputation
- Does the company have the appropriate training, license and insurance?
- Does the company have a real address where you can contact later should something go wrong?
Angie’s List tips to get the most cost-effective work from your handyman and/or contractor:
- Prepping your home may save you money – especially if the handyman/contractor charges by the hour. For example, if there’s an issue with your sink, remove all the items from underneath it.
· 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?
- Anything you can purchase or organize ahead of time may save you time and money. For example, if you’re willing to go to the store and purchase the bathroom faucet yourself, the company can get more done in less time.
- Hiring a handyman may not be cheaper than hiring a specialized professional: a professional plumber may be able to diagnose and fix your problem much quicker than a handyman and if it is complex at all, you might need that licensed professional rather than a generalist.