Hiring a professional handyman nearby ensures that the job is done properly the first time. It also protects you from preventable workplace injuries common with repair and maintenance jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a combined total of 25,260 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were recorded amongst general and miscellaneous installation, maintenance, and repair workers in 2019. More than 100 fatal occupational injuries were also recorded amongst these groups during this same period. Professional handymen have the necessary tools and expertise required to reduce the chances of an injury or fatality occurring during your project.
However, before you conclude the search for a â€œprofessional handyman near meâ€, you should ask the following questions:
Are You a Licensed Handyman?
Handymen typically perform small jobs that do not require specific licensing. However, some states require handymen to obtain a license before they can perform certain jobs that cost a particular amount of money. The requirements for these licenses differ by state. For example, handymen in Alaska must obtain a state-level license before they can work on projects worth up to $10,000. Handymen in Louisiana must obtain a license for residential or home improvement projects where the total cost of labor and materials used is more than $7,500.
Note that even though some states do not require state-level licensing, handymen may need to obtain licenses at the county, city, or municipal level. These states include, but are not limited to, Texas, Kansas, and Illinois. As such, it is advisable that you contact your local consumer protection agency to find out the necessary state-level and local-level licensing requirements for handymen operating near you.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Handyman?
Although insurance and bonding is not a general requirement for handymen, it is always a good idea to hire a handyman that has both. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses and 5,333 fatal occupational injuries in the United States. Working with an insured handyman greatly reduces your financial liability if an injury or fatality occurs during your project or because of it. If the handyman is also bonded, then you are assured that you will be properly compensated if the job is not completed according to your specifications.
Before hiring a handyman near you, ask for proof of insurance and bonding. Make sure that the bond is enough to cover the cost of your project. Also, ensure that the handyman's insurance policy includes both workers' compensation and general liability coverage.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Handymen are typically skilled in a wide variety of odd jobs ranging from replacing fixtures to painting rooms. As such, many handymen do not generally specialize in a particular task. However, some handymen may decide to create a specific niche for themselves in the job market and focus on only certain types of jobs and repairs.
When you need to hire a handyman, you should always ask if the handyman is capable of handling the repair job required. It is a good idea to hire a professional licensed, insured, and bonded handyman that has adequate experience in the type of project you want to undertake. These handymen generally have all the tools that may be needed for the job. Another advantage of hiring professional handymen near you is that they readily recognize when a job requires the input or services of a specialized contractor. For example, it is easier for a handyman that handles mostly electrical fixtures to recognize when the problem with your house's electrical system requires the attention of a professional electrician.
Who Will Do the Work?
Sometimes, you may hire a handyman nearby through a contracting firm or company. If this is the case, you should make sure that you ask whoever you contact at the company to provide you with the exact number of handymen that will be deployed for your project.
This question is also important even if you hire the handyman directly. Handymen generally learn on the job, and they may come along with a trainee or apprentice. Always find out whether these apprentices are there just to observe or whether they will do any actual work. Make sure that anyone involved in any actual work is properly insured, bonded, and licensed per the requirements of your state of residence. This protects you in the event of an on-the-job injury or if the job is improperly done.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
A warranty is a form of assurance that lets you know that you have paid for a high-quality product, good, or service. Warranties are typically issued by the seller or provider of the product, good, or service and they come in three forms; written, oral, or implied.
Before you hire a handyman near you, ask if you will be issued a warranty. Professional handymen generally offer a type of warranty known as a workmanship warranty. This warranty usually states that the handyman will be responsible for any defects that are related to the job carried out. This responsibility is usually limited to a specified period. If the handyman is responsible for buying any materials used in the project, then you may also be issued with a materials warranty that covers these materials.
Note that warranties typically have certain terms and conditions tied to them. These conditions must be followed or else your warranty may be voided. As such, you should always make sure that any warranty a handyman issues you is done in writing with all the terms and conditions clearly spelled out.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
In many cities, counties, and municipalities, you need to obtain permission before carrying out certain construction, remodeling, or renovation jobs on your home. This permission is known as a permit. Failure to obtain a necessary permit can lead to penalties like fines.
Handyman jobs are generally considered small or minor repair jobs, and these types of jobs typically do not require permits. This is because a permit is mostly issued for a construction, remodeling, or renovation job that will result in a major alteration of your home and its structure. However, the specific types of jobs that require permits vary by city, county, and municipality. As such, it is always a good idea to contact your local building department to find out the permit requirements for your area of residence.
One of the reasons why you should always hire professional handymen near you is because they generally know the types of jobs that will require a permit and the easiest ways to properly obtain these permits.
Will You Provide References?
You should always hire a handyman nearby that can provide you with references. This gives you an idea of the handyman's competence. Professional handymen do not hesitate to provide references when asked. In line with the Federal Trade Commission's recommendation, you should ask for the names and contact details of at least three references. You can also search for reviews and references online through a third-party website like Better Business Bureau.
Do You Have a Business License?
A business license is an official document that authorizes a company to operate in a particular geographical area. Even though handymen do not generally require a professional license, the firms or companies that they either own or work for are typically required to have a business license. These types of firms and companies belong to a class of businesses that are known as small businesses, and they are responsible for more than 47% of all employees in the United States. The requirements for obtaining a business license vary from state to state. You should contact your state's Secretary of State to find out the specific requirements for your area of residence. This information helps you in making sure that the handyman you wish to employ is legally qualified to work in your area.
What Are Common Home Repair Problems?
Some common home repair problems that can be fixed by a handyman are:
- Drywall problems
- Faulty light fixtures
- Clogged drains
- Gutter cleaning
- HVAC filter changes and tune-ups
- Replacing damaged countertops
- Interior and exterior painting
- Faulty garage doors and openers
- Front and backyard landscaping
In some cases, the handyman may discover that some of these problems are caused by an underlying factor that needs to be addressed by a specialized contractor.
How Much Does a Handyman Cost?
Professional handymen typically charge an average of $150 - $400 for their services. This fee depends on the type and scope of the job, and it can go as low as $50 or as high as $1,000. Some common handyman jobs and their estimated costs are:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Hiring a Handyman?
The factors that affect the cost of hiring a handyman are the type of job the handyman is needed for, the number of materials the job will require, and how labor-intensive the job will be. Jobs like art hanging and light fixture replacements are not typically labor-intensive and do not require a lot of materials. Therefore, these types of jobs generally cost less than jobs like drywall repair, room painting, or gutter cleaning that are more labor-intensive. Note, jobs involving more travel time, material carriage expenses, and other logistics costs may increase the hiring cost for a handyman. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a handyman near you to save money on these kinds of expenses.
What Qualifications Should Handymen Have?
Becoming a handyman does not typically require any minimum level of formal education. It is estimated that there are approximately 1,418,990 general maintenance and repair workers and 161,290 miscellaneous installation, maintenance, and repair workers currently employed in the United States. Many of these handymen grow their skillset on the job by watching and learning from professional handymen.
Do You Need a Professional Handyman or Should You Do It Yourself?
You should always consider employing a professional handyman near you to handle small repairs around your house instead of attempting to do it yourself. Although it may not seem so initially, hiring a professional handyman is more economical. This is because, with a professional handyman, there is the assurance that the job is done right the first time. Attempting to undertake certain projects yourself may result in a botched job that still ends up requiring the services of a handyman or even a specialized contractor. Another reason why you should hire a professional handyman instead of attempting to do the job yourself is that a professional handyman is better equipped to preempt any safety risks that may be involved with the job.
What Are Common Post Handyman Expenses?
In many cases, you will not incur any additional expenses after hiring a professional handyman. This is because handymen projects are typically small jobs that do not require any major maintenance or generate a lot of debris. If the job does generate more debris than expected, the cost of removing or disposing of this debris and cleaning up the worksite is usually included in the handyman's bill. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to confirm whether your handyman will bear the responsibility of disposing of any debris that is generated by your project.
Note that sometimes your handyman may determine that the problem you need fixed requires the services of a specialized contractor like a licensed plumber or electrician. If this happens, you will have to bear the cost of hiring and paying for the necessary contractor.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Handyman Expenses?
Homeowner's insurance is a type of insurance that pays for the losses and damages that may happen to an individual's house and house-related assets. Most homeowners' insurance policies list the specific perils they cover. These perils usually include fire, lightning strikes, theft, and wind damage.
If the repair or damage in your home that requires the attention of a handyman was caused by a covered peril, then it is very likely that your homeowner's insurance policy will cover the cost of hiring the handyman. In 2018, 98.1% of all insurance claims made in the United States were due to property damage, including theft. Note that most insurance companies do not cover repairs or damages that occur as a result of lack of maintenance or negligence on the part of the policyholder, or due to wear and tear of the damaged item. You should always find out the specifics of an insurance policy and the different types of perils it covers before you buy one from an insurance company.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Handyman?
Many professional handymen accept payment for their services through digital methods. Digital payments are easier to transact and they provide a better avenue for record-keeping when compared to traditional payment methods. In addition, digital payments are generally faster and more secure. However, you should not assume that your handyman will be ok with digital payments. Always let a handyman know your preferred payment method before they begin any work. It is also a good idea to collect and properly document a receipt for any service or materials that you pay for via cash.