Every Homeowner needs help around the house from small repairs or spruce-ups to renovations. But how can you determine what type of professional to hire? Here are some tips and differences in home improvement professionals that you should consider.
Contractor vs Handyman: Often a contractor's fees to handle small projects can be cost prohibitive. A handyman typically handles small jobs around the house and yard for both businesses and homeowners alike, and can provide a practical and cost effective solution. Some jobs require a specific license or are beyond the scope of a handyman. General contractors can handle virtually any major home project. One rule of thumb can be how long the job should take. If it's going to take more than 2 full days to complete, a general contractor is better equipped to handle the project.
Developing a relationship with a reliable and trustworthy handyman over the long term is a good idea for any homeowner. It's always nice to address those home improvement projects a house needs from time to time easily and quickly. Before going out and hiring a general contractor to repair a hole in drywall or to paint a room, you can hire a handyman. A contractor's fees to handle small projects can be discouraging.
There are a few good rules of thumb when considering a handyman. With a little investment in time, you can save both money and energy over the long haul. Here is a list of jobs that you can have one good handyman take care of for you:
* Minor plumbing like leaky faucets, a new sink or fixtures
* Minor electrical work like a new ceiling fan, an added plug or switch
* Fixing a leaky roof or correcting drainage problems
* Miscellaneous carpentry around the house
* Painting a room or garage area
* Siding repair
* Building shelves
* Tile repair or installation
This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you're going to re-side or re-roof your home, you probably need to find a reliable contractor who specializes in those areas of home remodeling. Both Handymen and contractors should provide you with a free no obligation estimate before tackling a project. A homeowner should never hire a handyman until knowing the cost of the project, including materials. A good handyman can offer estimates and work either by the hour, or by the job like a major contractor would.
If you want to work with your contractor, you may be able to. Some handymen prefer to work alone, but most will work with you if you just want some help getting something done. You'll likely get an hourly rate if you go this route. On the other hand, once a major contractor has outlined the scope of the work involved, and you approve his bid, you need to stand back and let him go to work. You are only in the way at that point.
Some thoughts on hiring a handyman:
* Have a list of all your projects handy before you call someone. Once your handyman is on site, have him price each project separately, then together as a whole. Depending on the work involved, you may be able to save money having him tackle at least a few things all at once.
* Ask for references and don't be afraid to call one or two of them. There are a few good directories that prescreen local handymen and even perform background checks and call their references for you.
* Until you develop a primary handyman relationship that you are very comfortable with, don't be afraid to get multiple bids. You can sort through a search like “local handyman” in Google and you'll get lots of great results. Remember, anyone can buy an ad, but someone who gets top ranked naturally very likely a serious businessman. Make a choice from the top 4 or 5 search results and you will find a trusted pro. If you get multiple bids, let your handyman know you are getting other bids. It's not only polite but remember that trust is built two ways.
* Ask your handyman what he specializes in. Engage him in conversation. Any handyman service should know a lot about many different things, but you can be sure he is an expert at only a few. Spending a little time up front with him can go a long way. He likely knows other handymen who can take up his slack where he needs it.
Contracting brokers are another option for you. They are like salesmen who work for a lot of different companies. When you call a good contracting broker, he will assess your need and find the right company for the job you need done. He gets paid a commission from the contracting company as though he were on their sales force, collecting his fee from the company you hire after the job is complete. Some brokers simply point at the right company for you. Others work more like a consultant and service provider. Those really are the best kind. They know it's in their best interest to make sure you are happy with both the level of service and the finished project and work with you in every aspect of the job. Using a broker should not cost you any extra money and can alleviate much of the task load. If your projects require more than one or two different types of professionals, you should consider finding a good broker. A broker can also enhance the entire contracting experience.
You can find more useful home improvement tips on my blog at YourDallasHandyman.com.
– Phil Vandermeer