The average Jacksonville homeowner spends more than $11,700 annually on home improvements, repairs, and maintenance. Hiring a good handyman in the city to handle small installation and repair jobs in your home not only saves you the time and stress of incorrectly attempting these jobs yourself but is also a relatively cheaper option than hiring general contractors. However, not every handyman that operates in Jacksonville will be a perfect fit for your home repair needs. Thus, to ensure that you always get value for your money, ask the following questions when hiring handymen in the city:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Handyman in the City of Jacksonville?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Handymen in the City of Jacksonville?
- Do You Require a Permit to Complete This Work in the City of Jacksonville?
- What Works Can You Do Legally as a Handyman in the City of Jacksonville?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Handymen in the City of Jacksonville?
The licensing and regulation of construction-related professionals in the City of Jacksonville is handled at the state level by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). While these professionals are generally required to possess a valid contractor license before plying their trade in the city, statutory licensing exemptions are typically made for handymen that perform jobs that are worth less than $2,500. However, this handyman exemption is only valid under the following conditions:
- The work being done must be casual, minor, or inconsequential in nature, such as non-structural repair work, work that does not involve the use of toxic or hazardous chemicals or substances, and work that does not require a building permit
- The work being done must not be part of a larger or major operation, regardless of whether it is being done by a different contractor
- The handyman must not advertise themselves as licensed contractors
Handymen that do not meet these conditions or wish to perform home repair and remodeling jobs worth $2,500 or more will have to obtain an appropriate contractor license from the DBPR. Contractors licensed by this agency are grouped into two broad categories, namely:
- Certified Contractors: Certified contractors are authorized to perform work within the scope of their licenses in any jurisdiction within the State of Florida
- Registered Contractors: Registered contractors can only perform work for which they have been licensed within specified locations in the State of Florida
Applications for contractor licenses from the DBPR can be completed online. Note that applicants may be required to meet certain qualification criteria, which are usually dependent on the type of license that is being applied for. These criteria include writing a professional examination, providing proof of insurance, paying licensing fees, and obtaining acceptable educational or on-the-job work experience in the required field. Inquiries concerning the application process can be directed to the DBPR's Customer Contact Center online or by calling (850) 487-1395. You can also confirm the validity of state-issued contractor licenses online via the DBPR's Verify a Licensee search portal.
Finally, handymen in Jacksonville must meet mandatory local and state business requirements before providing their services to residents of the city, regardless of whether or not they are exempt from possessing a contractor license for these services. These requirements include obtaining a Local Business Tax Receipt from the Duval County Tax Collector, obtaining a Certificate of Use from the Jacksonville Planning and Development Department, and registering their business names with the Florida Department of State. Queries concerning the requirements for registering and operating a business in Jacksonville can be directed to the city's Office of Economic Development at:
- 117 West Duval Street
- Suite 275
- Jacksonville, FL 32202
- Phone: (904) 255-5444
Getting and comparing estimates from several handymen in the city is a good way to protect yourself against overcharging and other fraudulent activities when looking to undertake home repair activities in Jacksonville. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that handymen in the Jacksonville area earn hourly wages of close to $20 for their services. However, the actual cost of hiring these professionals is usually dependent on several variables, which include:
- The type of job that they will be expected to perform
- The scope of the job
- The cost of fixtures, supplies, and other materials required for the job
- The urgency of the job
- The amount of labor needed to get the job done
Note that handymen may utilize either an hourly or flat fee structure when calculating the overall cost of their services. Regardless of this, the price differences in the estimates that you obtain from handymen in the city should not be significant, and you should be wary of any handyman that submits an estimate that is markedly different from the others.
Jacksonville handymen earn an average wage of $41,520, annually. The table below compares and contrasts the average hourly wages of handymen and other general maintenance and repair workers in Jacksonville with those of workers in this industry across the State of Florida and major American cities:Jacksonville Handyman Average Hourly Wage$19.96Florida Handyman Average Hourly Wage$18.46Miami Handyman Average Hourly Wage$18.62New York City Handyman Average Hourly Wage$24.50Los Angeles Handyman Average Hourly Wage$22.77Chicago Handyman Average Hourly Wage$23.38Houston Handyman Average Hourly Wage$20.96
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Permits are generally required for construction and home alteration or modification projects in the City of Jacksonville, such as:
- Installing or modifying exterior stucco
- Repairing and replacing water heaters and plumbing fixtures
- AC unit repairs and replacements
- Installing heating equipment
- Electrical re-wirings
However, exemptions may be made for minor projects, like stopping plumbing leaks, work involving patio slabs, connecting portable HVAC equipment, and work involving self-contained refrigerating systems that do not contain more than 10 pounds of refrigerant.
The Building Inspection Division of the Jacksonville Department of Planning and Development is responsible for overseeing the permit-issuing process in the city, and this division accepts permit applications via its Online Permitting System. First-time applicants will be required to contact the division at (904) 255-8500 or via email for help with creating a user profile for this system. Instructions on the permit submission process can also be gleaned online via a how to webpage provided and maintained by the division for this purpose.
Submitted applications are typically reviewed by the Building Inspection Division and other relevant local agencies before the requested permits are issued. Depending on the scope of the project, applicants may be required to submit site plans, floor plans, and other relevant supporting forms and documents. Once the permit application and supporting documents have been reviewed, applicants must pay the stipulated permitting fees before they can obtain the approved permits.
It is important to note that Jacksonville residential building permits can only be obtained by state-licensed contractors or homeowners for their primary residence that is not for sale and also in their names. Homeowners that obtain permits for unlicensed contractors will be held responsible for any work done. Considering that permitted building work falls outside the scope of the state's handyman exemption, it is always in your best interest to hire a licensed contractor for these types of tasks. You can make inquiries concerning the city's general permitting process or get specific permitting information for your intended home repair and alteration project by contacting the Jacksonville Building Inspection Division at:
- Ed Ball Building
- 214 North Hogan Street
- 2nd Floor
- Jacksonville, FL 32202
- Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays
Permit-related queries can also be directed to this office by calling (904) 255-8500 and selecting option four or via email.
Per the provisions of Section 489.103, Subsection 9 of the Florida Statutes, handymen in Jacksonville are legally allowed to perform casual, minor, and inconsequential building and construction-related work for which the total cost is less than $2,500. On the other hand, there are no monetary limitations placed on the types of building and construction-related work that licensed contractors in the city can perform. However, the type of work that these licensed contractors can do is dependent on their license classification. For example, general contractors in the city can provide unlimited construction-related services while residential contractors can only provide construction, repair, improvement, and remodeling services for one, two, and three-family residences that are not more than two stories.
To this end, you should always make sure that the repair or improvement task you intend your handyman to carry out is not up to $2,500 and is also of a casual, minor, or inconsequential nature. Examples of these types of works include repairs and alterations that do not require permits, and works that do not affect the structural components or access and egress to a building. It is important to note that, per Section 455.228 of the Florida Statutes, you can be fined up to $5,000 per incident for hiring an unlicensed contractor to provide services that are outside the scope of the state's handyman exemption. Inquiries concerning the handyman exemption can be directed to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Jacksonville Building Inspection Division at (850) 487-1395 and (904) 255-8500 respectively.
Provided below are cost estimates for some works that handymen in the City of Jacksonville can legally perform:Artwork hanging$40 - $100Awning repair$110 - $600Cabinet repair$40 - $450Cabinet refinishing$500 - $2,200Drain unclogging$45 - $150Driveway sealing$45 - $250Drywall repair$75 - $470Electrical appliance installation$90 - $200Faulty fixture repair/replacement$45 - $300Gutter cleaning$80 - $300Home childproofing$100 - $400Lawn care/landscaping maintenance$40 - $350Patio/deck painting$120 - $440Room painting$200 - $600Snow removal$40 - $280TV mounting$40 - $200Residential handyman services$38 - $58 per hour (labor only)Commercial handyman services$71 - $85 per hour (labor only)
A total of 275 fatal work-related injuries were recorded across the State of Florida in 2020, with over 80 of these fatalities occurring in the state's construction industry. Hiring a handyman that is properly insured not only ensures that you do not have to make out-of-pocket payments for any work-related injuries that may occur during your project but also insulates you from the legal liabilities typically associated with these injuries.
Therefore, even though handymen in the City of Jacksonville are not legally mandated to carry any insurance, it is always in your best interest to make sure that the handyman you hire carries general liability insurance. Request a copy of the handyman's insurance certificate and contact the insurer to authenticate the certificate. Also, make sure that the coverage extends to third-party bodily injury and property damage and that it is adequate for the scope of the work at hand.
Contractor and home repair scams are common occurrences in Jacksonville, and it is imperative that you take precautions when searching for handymen in the city to avoid becoming a victim of these acts. These precautions include:
- Be wary of handymen that approach you unsolicited and offer to perform home repairs at discounted rates
- Always get and compare multiple estimates for your repair job. Consider it a red flag if a handyman tries to pressure you to hire them without giving you time to properly consider your options and specific needs
- Utilize platforms like the Better Business Bureau and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Complaint Lookup portal to thoroughly research any handyman that you intend to hire before finalizing arrangements with them
- Make sure that the handyman is adequately insured
- Request a written contract for the job and read this contract properly before signing it
- Never pay the full cost of the repair job upfront and do not make large initial deposits
- Always hire licensed contractors for jobs that fall outside the scope of the Florida Handyman Exemption
In March 2019, the Florida Attorney General's Office announced that it would be taking legal action against a Jacksonville construction company that had taken money from homeowners whose homes had suffered hurricane damage and failed to perform the required work. Similarly, in March 2020, local media channel News4Jax announced that a Jacksonville contractor that had been charged with felony fraud, forgery, and grand theft following allegations of home repair fraud from consumers in the area had accepted a plea deal to stay out of jail. Per the terms of this deal, the contractor will be required to pay a total of $50,000 in restitution to the affected victims.
Complaints concerning handyman scams, home repair fraud, and other deceptive and unfair trade practices that occur in Jacksonville can be reported to the city's Office of Consumer Affairs either online or by calling (904) 630-2489.
Complaints can also be filed with the Consumer Protection Division of the Florida Attorney General's Office by completing and submitting a Citizen Services Contact Form online or by contacting the division's Jacksonville office at:
- 1300 Riverplace Boulevard
- Suite 405
- Jacksonville, FL 32207
- Phone: (904) 348-2720
Finally, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state's clearinghouse for consumer complaints, and reports concerning fraudulent handymen can be filed directly to this department online or by submitting a consumer complaint form, along with copies of relevant supporting documents, to:
- Mediation and Enforcement
- 2005 Apalachee Parkway
- Tallahassee, FL 32399-6500