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Licensed Handyman in Detroit, MI

How to Hire a Good Handyman in Detroit

Hiring a handyman in Detroit saves you time and stress, and with an average charge of $21.07 per hour, it is 33 percent less than the cost of a general contractor ($28.07). While it may be tempting to hand over the task to the first handyman who comes knocking, keep in mind that scam home improvement contractors are always on the lookout for their next victim. Ask the following questions to guarantee that the handyman you wish to hire in Detroit is legitimate:

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Handyman in the City of Detroit

  1. Are You Licensed to Practice as a Handyman in the City of Detroit?

    The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) handles all licensing in the City of Detroit. To work in Detroit, a handyman does not need a specific handyman's license. However, many jobs that a handyman may perform such as carpentry, painting, concrete laying, and tiling may require a Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License. A handyman must finish 60 hours of educational courses and pass an exam to be eligible for the license. If the total contract price for the project, including labor, materials, and any other items, is less than $600.00, a license is however not required. The exemption does not apply if the work is only part of a larger operation, or if the contract is divided into smaller amounts.

    Operating without a license in Detroit as a first offense is punishable by a fine of $5,000 and $25,000, one year in jail, or both. Subsequent offenses might result in a sentence of up to two years in prison. To verify the license of your handyman, use the LARA Verify a License platform.

    All Detroit businesses, including handymen, must register online with the Michigan Department of Treasury after deciding on a business name and structure. Following that, the handyman will be issued the required tax licenses and permissions to work in Detroit and throughout the state. Additionally, the handyman must register with LARA if the business is operated as a DBA (Doing Business As). For more information about handyman licensing in Detroit, contact the Bureau of Professional Licensing Division of LARA at (517) 241-0199 or via email.

  2. How Much Do You Charge Compared to Handymen in the City of Detroit?

    Certain factors usually determine the average cost of hiring a handyman in Detroit. The nature of the project at hand, the type and cost of materials required, and how labor-intensive the job is expected to be are all factors that are considered to determine the handyman's fee. Getting estimates from at least two or three different handymen in your area of residence before deciding on the most suitable one to hire is a fantastic approach to acquiring a proper estimate of handyman rates in the city. This is also a fantastic way to make sure you do not hire a handyman who overcharges or, worse still, scammers.

    Detroit Handymen earn an average wage of $43,820 annually. The table below compares and contrasts the average hourly wages of handymen and other general maintenance and repair workers in Detroit with those of workers in this industry across the State of Michigan and major American cities:

    Detroit Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $21.07
    Michigan Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $19.38
    San Diego Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $22.57
    New York City Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $24.50
    Phoenix Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $20.64
    Houston Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $20.96
    Chicago Handyman Average Hourly Wage -
    $23.38

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. Do You Require a Permit to Complete This Work in the City of Detroit?

    As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your handyman follows all applicable building and construction codes in the city. Certain constructions, according to the 2015 Michigan Building Code, require a building permit from the Buildings, Safety and Environmental Engineering Department in Detroit, such constructions include:

    • the development of a finished basement
    • the building of a deck for a home
    • A replacement of a roof

    All these constructions have specific building requirements that must be met before a permit can be issued for their construction. BSEED's Business License Office and Permits Office assists handymen and homeowners in obtaining the appropriate permits for their homes or business. Permit seekers are exclusively served by appointment. Appointments can be made online before arrival. BSEED's Business License Office can be contacted at (313) 224-3179 or via email. Similarly, the Permits Office can be reached at (313) 224-3173.

    For more information concerning building permitting in Detroit, contact the Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) at:

    • BSEED
    • Coleman A Young Municipal Center
    • 4th Floor Woodward Avenue,
    • Detroit, MI 48226
    • Phone: (313) 224-2733
  4. What Works Can You Do Legally as a Handyman in the City of Detroit?

    The primary distinction between handymen and general building and construction professionals in Detroit is the monetary cap on the services they provide. As a result, handymen can lawfully undertake any type of home repair work without a license as long as the job's total cost does not surpass the $600 mark.

    Common jobs the Detroit handyman does include furniture assembling, appliance installation, ceiling fan installation, door repair, dryer vent cleaning, door installation, interior lighting installation, art hanging, leaf removal, drywall repair, and gutter cleaning. Repairing or replacing broken electrical and plumbing fixtures, as well as painting patios and decks, are all work that a handyman may do. Building and construction contractors, on the other hand, are normally needed to have a valid license that allows them to perform jobs for $500 or more in a certain area of specialization.

    While city handymen are not obliged to have occupational licenses, it is always in your best interest to ensure that the handyman you choose has the necessary experience and equipment to complete the task. Working with skilled handymen also helps you recognize tasks that require specialized skill sets. Cost estimates for some of the services offered by Detroit handymen are listed below:

    Artwork hanging
    $50 - $150
    Cabinet installation
    $75 - $120 (per hour)
    Drain unclogging
    $150 - $200
    Asphalt driveway sealing
    $0.15 - $0.25 per square foot (commercial)
    Asphalt driveway sealing
    $0.18 - $0.35 per square foot (residential)
    Drywall repair
    $50 - $70 per hour
    Electrical appliance installation
    $108.05 - $147.47
    Toilet installation
    $136.36 - $146.53 (labor only)
    Gutter cleaning
    $70 - $220
    Home childproofing
    $58.61 - $70.71
    Lawn care/landscaping maintenance
    $45.00 - $56.67 (one acre)
    Patio/deck painting
    $22.50 - $33.00 per hour
    Snow removal
    $52.33 - $104.17 (residential)
    TV mounting
    $155.00 - $729.00
    Residential handyman services
    $57.19 - $67.12 per hour (plus parts and materials)
    Commercial handyman services
    $61.45 - $70.93 per hour (plus materials)
  5. Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Handymen in the City of Detroit?

    With 70 fatal work-related injuries and 23,400 nonfatal work-related injuries among general maintenance and repair employees in a single year in the US, Detroit inclusive, making sure your handyman is fully insured is critical. If something goes wrong during the course of your home improvement or repair project, such as the handyman damaging your property or someone getting injured during the course of the job, insurance can protect you from any financial and legal consequences.

    While it is not legally required for handymen in Detroit to hold general liability insurance, it is always to your advantage if your chosen handyman does. To check the legitimacy of this insurance, get evidence of coverage and contact the relevant insurance provider. According to the Michigan Workers' Disability Compensation Act, every handyman who employs others is required to carry workers' compensation insurance for them. As a result, if your handyman employs an assistant, you should require proof of workers' compensation insurance as well. Contact the Insurance Division of the Bureau of Workers' Disability Compensation Agency for information about Michigan workers' compensation at:

    • Workers Compensation Agency
    • New Center One
    • 3026 West Grand Boulevard
    • # 3-700,
    • Detroit, MI 48202
    • Phone: (313) 456-3650

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Handyman in the City of Detroit

In 2022, Fox2Detroit, a Detroit-based local news organization, reported that a contractor who had defrauded a number of individuals were facing jail time, and his wife, who had assisted him, was given probation. In the year 2020, the couple ran a business called Hatt Construction, claiming to provide remodeling services, but were caught in one of their numerous schemes.

While employing the services of a handyman in Detroit, it is very important that you are cautious and ensure that your choice is not an unscrupulous character looking to scam you of your hard-earned money. Here are several suggestions to keep in mind that will help safeguard your property and money when hiring a handyman for your home renovation or repairs:

  • Avoid Door-to-door Handymen at All Costs: Any handyman that approaches you without your permission should be avoided. They may claim that they just finished a job in your neighborhood, that they have materials left over from another job, or that they are offering a special deal for a limited time. Whatever the cases is, note that a reputable handyman, thanks to advertising and referrals, should be able to keep himself occupied without knocking on doors. Only reach out to handymen you locate through trusted sources.
  • Locate a Reliable Handyman: Trustworthy handymen are not hard to come by. Online listings, referrals from friends and family, and organizations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry are all good places to look for reputable handymen. You may also look up the handyman on the Better Business Bureau to learn more about their service and see if there have been any complaints filed against the handyman in question. Also, if appropriate, request proof of liability insurance, license, bonding, and any references from your handyman. A dependable handyman will usually have these on hand and will gladly share them with you.
  • Paying the Full Amount Up Front Is Not Necessary: It is unusual and risky to pay the whole amount of the job up front. It is a major red flag if your handyman suddenly demands money in advance. You may never see that handyman or your money again once you have paid up. Make sure you get a contract that specifies the work to be done as well as the expenses. Typical payment terms are about 10 percent up front and the rest upon completion of the work. It is also a good idea to avoid paying with cash and instead use a credit card or a cheque so that you have a paper trail.
  • Take Several Bids into Account: To verify that possible estimates are consistent and fair, you may want to explore getting multiple bids on all of your handyman jobs. When it comes to cost, the cheapest option may not be the best, and is in fact, often not. If one quote is significantly lower than the others, you should inquire further about that handyman to determine if there are any additional charges that may be added later, making that handyman more expensive.
  • Get It All on Paper and Double Check Everything: Even if it is a small task, you should write it down and have it signed. Make a list of everything that has to be accomplished. You should have it reviewed by a lawyer if possible. Read everything, especially the small print, which may include unfavourable terms. This contract will protect you if something goes wrong and you need to go to court.

In the event of a home improvement fraud involving a handyman in Detroit, you can seek help by getting in contact with the Office of Detroit Inspector General at:

  • Office of Inspector General
  • 615 Griswold,
  • Suite 1230
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • Phone: (313) 628-2517

You can also lodge home improvement fraud complaints with the Michigan Department of State Office of Investigative Services by calling the Office's Fraud Tip Line at (844) 372-8356 or via email.

You may also report fraudulent handyman cases to the Detroit Police Department at:

  • Detroit Public Safety Headquarters
  • 1301 3rd Street
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • Phone: (313) 267-4600