There are some home repairs and remodeling projects that fall somewhere between a do-it-yourself project and a full remodeling job. If you’re considering a major home repair or remodeling project and don’t want to handle it yourself, take care when hiring a handyman service. You want your experience to be a good one, make sure the job is done correctly, on time and safely.
Here are some things to consider when it comes time to hire a handyman.
Check professional licensing requirements
A quick call to your city building department to see if your project requires that work is done by a licensed professional is a must. Codes and regulations differ depending upon your location, but if you’re talking about plumbing and electrical work, a license is usually required. The work must be done by a licensed professional, or there must be a supervisor on-site while the work is being done by an employee.
Get several estimates
They’re free and there’s no obligation. Get at least three and you’ll have a good idea what the project will cost. Always beware of a bid that is way lower than the others. It also allows you to meet the person who will be working on your home and get an idea of whether or not you like them.
Make sure they’re licensed, bonded and insured
This is personal protection for the homeowner. Asking for verification that your handyman has local business licenses just ensures that he is registered with the city and can do business. He should have a copy of the license with him. Being bonded means he has deposited money with a local bonding company in the event of a homeowner claim against him. The handyman service should also carry insurance; if a worker is hurt on the job, the claim is filed against the handyman’s insurance. If he’s not insured, it will be filed against your homeowner’s insurance.
Always ask for references
Every handyman who has been in business a while should have a list of references available. Always ask, but realize that you may want to take them with a grain of salt; he could be providing you with false names. Make sure to select a few at random and call them to ask about the service they received.
Draw up a contract
It doesn’t have to be so complicated that lawyers have to be involved. Make sure that your agreement spells out what is to be accomplished, specific materials to be used, warranty details, time frame for completion and payment schedule. Never pay more than 50% in advance. And it’s a good idea to withhold a certain amount, say 25%, until you are 100% satisfied with the work.
Hiring a handyman doesn’t have to be stressful. With due diligence, you’ll be protected, the work will be done in a timely manner, and you’ll be happy with the outcome.