Originally Published on June 11, 2014 by Andrea Davis
Updated on October 9th, 2020
via HomeAdvisor & Redfin
Note: RUSSIAN HILL HANDYMAN Co. is not a part of HomeAdvisor’s network of contractors, but under an informal publishing arrangement with Redfin, we’ve agreed to re-post this piece from HomeAdvisor’s blog, because we think it’s good advice to offer our potential customers on how to vet a handyman-for-hire.
With the various projects you might have going on around the house, it may be faster to hire a handyman (or woman!) rather than spending hours on the weekends doing them all yourself. A handyman is a jack of all trades when it comes to home repairs and maintenance around your home, usually for less money than a specialist such as a plumber and electrician. But before you bring someone into your home, it’s important to find the right person. You don’t want a handyman who swindles you or fixes everything incorrectly to where you have to go back and have another professional redo the work for more money. Consider posing these questions to three or four handyman services before choosing one:
1. Are you licensed? Many states have processes by which handymen can become certified in their field of expertise, whether it’s as a handyman or a contractor. Ask each potential handyman if he is certified, and see a copy of that license before having one of them proceed with the work.
2. Do you have past clients as references? If this handyman has been in their field for a while, other homeowners can vouch for the work he has done. Ask to speak to some past clients. If the person you are considering is unwilling to provide contact information, chances are he or she hasn’t done good work in the past. You can also check on the Internet for reviews.
3. Can you provide a quote ahead of time? Handymen should be able to tell you what they’ll charge by the hour or the job. Provide them with a list of the things you’ll need done to help with this process. This will be especially useful when comparing more than one handyman service. See if you can get the estimate in writing as part of a contract.
4. Do you have liability insurance? If the handyman is injured on the job, you don’t want to be liable for those injuries. Check to make sure they have liability insurance. Handyman services should have insurance in place to protect them in case they’re injured on the job, just as with construction workers or contractors on build sites. It protects them, and it keeps you safe from legal charges down the road.
5. Is your work guaranteed? Ask the handyman if he guarantees his work. That is, if something is wrong, will he come back and redo it? You might have to get a guarantee in writing, but good handyman services will usually do this to show they’re serious about their work.
6. Will this be an individual or team job? Some jobs will require the work of an individual handyman, while others might require a few people coming into your home to do the job. This is something you need to be aware of ahead of time, as it could affect price and foot traffic in your home. It’s also probably good to ask if the handyman will be on site while the team is there. Sometimes contractors will bring in workers but not be on site at all during the work, which can lead to problems.
About Andrea Davis and HomeAdvisor
Andrea Davis works for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find the right home improvement professionals for their home projects at the right price.
Homeowners can use HomeAdvisor Reviews to see what past customers have to say about each professional, and can calculate average local and national costs for a variety of home projects using Cost Guides. Access to all information and features is free for homeowners.