Finding a handyman (or handywoman) you trust might just bring you more peace of mind than finding the right therapist. A handyman is different than a contractor. Contractors generally handle the big jobs: the bathroom renovation, the new deck. State laws may vary, but in some states an unlicensed handyman can do only $500 worth of work per job, per day. The national cost to hire a handyman averages $392, with most homeowners spending between $187 and $624. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.
But it's the little jobs - the odd jobs - that tend to nag at you. The cracked window in that display case. The leaky faucet in your guest bathroom. The bedroom door that gets jammed stuck. These are jobs for generalists, folks who have a way with a brush, a saw, a screwdriver and a hammer. They might do some light electrical or plumbing. But they rarely specialize in any particular area.
These workers often take different approaches to an initial consultation and fees. Some come to your home to provide a quote while others will be happy to give you a consultation over the phone. Many charge an hourly rate. Others charge by the project.
Agree on Price Ahead of Time
A handyman should be able to give you a firm quote before starting any project. In this quote should be an expectation about the scope of the project, what the final product will be and how long it will take. The price will be based on these factors. Projects can grow and change as they go along, but any change that might lead to an increase in price needs to be communicated. Here are a few things to consider when working with a new handyman.
What Needs To Be Done and When
Your to-do list might be a mile long, but different factors can affect what you tackle first. When trying to decide what to do and when, look at both seasonality and urgency. Are there projects that are seasonally dependent, such as servicing your heater before the winter, fixing your sprinkler system before spring, and installing an air-conditioner before temperatures soar into the 90s? Are there items on your list that need to be completed or you risk damage to your home or yourself, such as a leaky roof, broken pipes or sagging front step? When deciding on the priority of your projects, these are the types of things to consider.
Then set a schedule and deadlines. Keep in mind things that might interrupt work, such as your inlaws coming for a visit.
Does the Work Require Certification?
Certain home improvement projects may require a service professional with special certifications. Make sure to research this ahead of time so you can hire the appropriate professional. An unlicensed professional might be able to do the job, but you want to make sure the job is done right, even if you have to spend more.
Get Guarantees in Writing
Did your handyman promise you a special hourly rate as a first-time customer? Were you promised that the work would be done by a specific date? Were the materials guaranteed of a certain quality? Any promises or guarantees that your handyman offers you must be presented in writing for you or you'll have no recourse should the project go awry.
If you understand the process and ask the right questions, even when you're dealing with little jobs, your relationship with your handyman could be off to a great start.
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