Many people keep the contact info for their local handyman on their phone. And if you're looking at remodeling or moving into a new place, you'll probably need handyman services.
A handyman doesn't have to be a man. This is a catch-all term for a person who performs small and mid-sized jobs requiring skilled labor. They can tackle routine maintenance, basic remodeling, building work, or moderate home and property repairs.
A handyman isn't quite the same as a general contractor. Contractors handle larger-scale projects that need special permits and licensing. Though a handyman may have the required skills to perform larger jobs, it's best to call a contractor specializing in a specific area — such as rewiring, HVAC installation, or major plumbing work. A proper contractor will have the training and licenses needed to perform such work.
A good handyman can easily take care of a wide variety of tasks. Most are skilled painters — able to handle anything from painting porch railings to interior rooms. They're not put out by tasks like fitting new corner molding or repairing window sills, and they hang mirrors or art or mount flat screen TVs with little effort. Some handymen can build small furnishings for your home, like wall shelves, bookcases, and even seating.
Outdoors, a handyman can paint or repair fences, pressure wash driveways and patios, and are often willing to do small gardening tasks, like trimming shrubs or watering the lawn. If a job seems small enough and doesn't appear as though it will take permits or a whole crew to complete, call an experienced handyman first. If a job is too big for them to take care of, they usually have the name and number of many specialized contractors and services that can tackle the job at hand.
A good handyman can make all the difference if you don't have the skills or the time to tackle all the items on your to-do list. It's easy for tasks to pile up around a house, and you can quickly start to feel like you're falling behind trying to tackle the projects yourself. Unless you're a handyman yourself, chances are you'll run into several repairs you don't know how to fix.
If you're looking for handyman services, an online search for a "handyman near me" is easily the most convenient way to find any type of service you need. If you know somebody who employs the help of a local handyman, find out if you can get their contact information.
When searching for a handyman's services, look them up online. See what their rating is, and read the comments people leave. When contacting a potential handyman, find out the following information:
Each state has its own laws on licensing and permits for construction, home improvement, and repairs. Most states provide exemptions for minor work, which each state defines differently. Licensing requirements are usually determined by a dollar amount or materials used.
Jobs that need heavy machinery or a crew of workers tend to need permits, as well as oversight by a licensed or certified professional. If you need to build a home addition or replace the roof, you would need a licensed general contractor to oversee the operation. A professional service should be the one to handle large concrete projects like adding a driveway or repouring a foundation to your home.
If you need major HVAC work done, like replacing a furnace or installing new ductwork, you'll need to contact a contractor to handle such a project. Handyman services shouldn't be involved in larger projects like these.
In almost any state, a handyman doesn't need a license to perform jobs like building a doghouse, repairing a deck, painting, or other small jobs. A handyman is perfect for assembling furniture from a box or unclogging a drain. As a general rule, if a project doesn't need special permits, a handyman is the right person for the job.
If you need to do any building or remodeling, check with your local or state government to find permit restrictions. Many places have penalties for not obtaining the proper permit when required. It's better to be safe than sorry. Your state or city should have a building and safety commission to contact to verify all building, remodeling, and repair constraints. This usually includes permit and contractor licensing requirements.
Rules differ from state to state on what a handyman can legally do. In most locations a license is needed to perform construction or specialized installation and repair tasks. Some cities and states also enforce licensing requirements for labor and materials that reach a certain cost amount. Typically, a handyman is legally able to do any job that wouldn't potentially affect the stability of a home structure or the function of interior systems.
Projects that alter the structure especially need a licensed professional to oversee. For example, someone without enough knowledge of construction shouldn't demolish interior walls. Without the proper reinforcement, taking out a wall could cause major structural issues to your house, including collapse. A licensed contractor would have the construction know-how to properly remove a wall and reinforce the space. This doesn't mean a handyman wouldn't know how to do the job properly. Proper licensing, permits, and post-work inspection ensure the project is complete according to building code and industry standards.
Many projects need two or more people to complete. An unlicensed handyman usually can't legally take on jobs that would need a crew to perform. Pouring a driveway or installing HVAC systems and ductwork usually takes a team to complete. Setting an unlicensed individual on such a task will likely cause issues down the road.
No matter where you are, here are some examples of tasks that are legally safe for a handyman to perform:
Whether a job needs handyman services or a professional contractor depends on the size, scope, and type of project you have.
When it comes to electrical or plumbing work, a handyman can tackle small jobs, like changing a faucet, replacing a light fixture, or setting up an entertainment system. You'd hire a handyman to put up exterior lights that plug into an outlet, but should have an electrician do the project if it involves running new wires to power them.
Suppose a job requires major electrical work, like rewiring, adding or changing a circuit breaker, or doing work within the breaker box. In that case, you need a licensed electrician to perform these projects.
You should hire a professional plumber for major projects involving pipes and water fixtures in your house. You should hire a plumber for jobs like changing the water main, installing new pipes, rerouting the water flow, or installing new fixtures. Though many handymen are capable of installing a new toilet or changing a faucet, a plumber should handle major works, like putting in a shower or a sink.
Be sure to outline the requirements of any job ahead of time. A good handyman can perform many types of projects, but will also know their professional limitations. They'll also know of reputable professionals that can handle larger, more involved projects. It may be inconvenient to contact other parties to do a job, but in the end, it'll be safer for you in the long run.
Handymen typically charge per hour for labor, plus any cost of materials if they have to provide them. The hourly rate will vary widely, based on several factors.
The typical price range is $50-$80 per hour for an independent handyman. The handyman may charge more if a job is physically taxing or complex. Your location also has a significant impact on handyman pricing near you. A handyman is going to follow the going-rate in their area, though they may go lower to get the work if they're in a highly competitive area.
Many companies provide handyman services as well. Their rates tend to be higher — $75 to $125. However, most offer a guarantee of their work. They often offer discounts for bundling jobs, which may be ideal if you have a checklist of projects you want to get done. Another upside to hiring a service over an individual is that a company is required to insure their workers in most states. If an accident happens on the job, you're much less likely to be held accountable.
For each job, find out what materials you'll need. If you buy the necessary supplies, that can save you considerable amounts of money per job. Contractors, whether through a handyman service or independent, typically mark up the cost of materials by 20% or more, tack a trip charge onto their bill, or both.
Handyman services and some individuals will require you to sign a contract before they'll take on a project for you. Read the agreement carefully. Services tend to be strict about jobs their workers can and can't do.
When estimating on a per-job basis, the typical cost for smaller jobs is $100 to $500, plus materials and markup. Mid-sized projects usually go for $500 to $1,500 or more.
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