At an average hourly wage of $20.31, hiring a handyman in Nashville for small repairs, installations, and maintenance is a cheaper option than general contractors, whose hourly wages are more than eight percent higher than those of handymen in the city. In addition to this, the right handyman can save you the time and effort of having to do these repairs and installations yourself and also ensure that your property is well cared for. However, with home improvement scams in the Nashville area increasing by over 58% between 2020 and 2021 alone, it is always in your best interest to ask certain questions before hiring handymen in the city, to ensure that you end up with a legitimate professional. These questions are listed below and will be discussed in detail in this article:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Handyman in the City of Nashville?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Handymen in the City of Nashville?
- Do You Require a Permit to Complete This Work in the City of Nashville?
- What Works Can You Do Legally as a Handyman in the City of Nashville?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Handymen in the City of Nashville?
The first step to take towards ensuring that you hire a legitimate handyman in the City of Nashville is determining their licensing status. The licensing and regulation of building and construction-related professionals in the city, including handymen, is handled by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) through its Board for Licensing Contractors. Per the regulatory requirements of this board, handymen in Nashville do not need licenses to provide home repair services that cost less than $3,000. However, any handyman that wishes to provide services worth between $3,000 and $25,000, including labor and material costs, must obtain a Home Improvement License from the board before doing so. Likewise, handymen that wish to provide services worth $25,000 or more must possess an appropriate Contractor License.
Applications for home improvement and contractor licenses can be submitted online via the TDCI's CORE platform. Applicants will be required to register a user account to utilize this platform, and the department provides interested parties with respective home improvement license and contractor license instruction resources for navigating the application process. Note that the licensing process may involve writing an examination and submitting documents like proof of insurance and letters of reference, as well as paying stipulated fees. Queries concerning home improvement and contractor licensing requirements can be directed to the Board for Licensing Contractors at (615) 741-8307, (800) 544-7693, via email, or directly to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance by calling (615) 741-2241.
If you intend your handyman to perform tasks worth $3,000 or more, you can confirm that this professional possesses a valid license by utilizing the TDCI's License Search and Verification platform. It is advisable to use the search tips provided by this department when conducting this search and verification to ensure that your search provides correct results.
Also, depending on their annual gross receipts, handymen in Nashville that wish to conduct business in the city will have to obtain either a Standard Business License or a Minimal Activity License from the Davidson County Clerk's Office. Standard business licenses are required by handymen who gross $10,000 or more annually, while minimal activity licenses are required by handymen who gross between $3,000 and $9,999 annually. Other business requirements that Nashville handymen are typically required to meet include registering their business with the Tennessee Department of Revenue and obtaining a home occupation permit from the Metro Nashville Department of Codes and Building Safety if they intend to operate their business from a residential home. You can get additional information on the Nashville handyman business requirements by contacting the Davidson County Clerk's Office at (615) 862-6254.
While the estimated average hourly wage of handymen in Nashville is $20.31, the total rates that these professionals charge for their services are generally influenced by several factors. These include the actual length of time spent working on the job, the nature and scope of the job, material costs, and the urgency of the job. A good way to ensure that you pay a fair price for your home repair or maintenance work is by getting estimates from multiple handymen in the city and comparing these estimates before making your choice. Doing this provides you with a measure of protection against unscrupulous handymen that are looking to scam unsuspecting homeowners. To this end, always look out for significant price discrepancies in the submitted estimates and consider it a red flag if the handyman that provided the differing estimate cannot properly explain these differences.
Nashville handymen earn an average wage of $42,250, annually. The table below compares and contrasts the average hourly wages of handymen and other general maintenance and repair workers in Nashville with those of workers in this industry across the State of Tennessee and major American cities:Nashville Handyman Average Hourly Wage$20.31Tennessee Handyman Average Hourly Wage$19.71Chicago Handyman Average Hourly Wage$23.38Houston Handyman Average Hourly Wage$20.96Jacksonville Handyman Average Hourly Wage$19.96Los Angeles Handyman Average Hourly Wage$22.77New York City Handyman Average Hourly Wage$24.50
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
When hiring handymen in Nashville, it is important to make sure that any permits that may be required for the job are obtained from the Metro Nashville Department of Codes and Building Safety before any actual work commences. Per the stipulations of Title 16 of the Nashville Code of Ordinances, these permits are typically required for the construction, installation, alteration, repair, and modification of buildings and structures, as well as plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems in the city. Examples of home repair and improvement jobs that typically require permits include:
- The construction of new accessory structures, or additions to existing structures, such as patio covers, decks, porches, patio covers, garages, carports, and storage buildings
- The conversion of accessory areas, such as unfinished basements, attics, and attached garages, into habitable spaces
- The installation of siding, fireplaces, roofing, and solar panels
- The demolishing of any structure or portions of a structure in the city
- Repair or maintenance jobs that involve the removal, alteration, or replacement of load-bearing timbers, supporting walls, and partitions, or any type of job that goes beyond the scope of normal maintenance repairs
Permits are typically issued to licensed contractors or property owners of single-family residences that either presently occupy or intend to occupy the residence in question. Note that property owners that obtain permits by themselves assume all responsibility for ensuring that the repair or improvement job is done in compliance with applicable city codes. Eligible parties can make permit applications in person at the Department of Codes and Building Safety's Development Services Center at:
- Metro Office Building
- Codes Department
- 800 2nd Avenue South
- 1st Floor
- Nashville, TN 37210
Applicants are advised to schedule appointments before visiting the center by calling (615) 862-6500. Appointments can also be scheduled via email and parties that choose this option should include their property address and phone number in their scheduling message. Note that, depending on the nature of the repair or improvement job, applicants may be required to submit documents like site plans and renderings. The Department of Codes and Building Safety typically assigns an individual to process submitted permit applications, and this individual acts as a contact and guide throughout the process to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Alternatively, permit applications can be submitted online via the department's E-Permit System. However, this option is only available for state-licensed contractors that complete a local registration process with the Department of Codes and Building Safety. Interested parties that wish to undergo this process may do so by contacting the department via email. The department also provides an online user guide that can be utilized to get information on how to smoothly navigate its online permitting system.
It is important to note that all permitted home repair and improvement work in the City of Nashville is subject to inspection by authorized city officials to ensure compliance with applicable provisions of the city's codes and ordinances. You can direct queries related to, or get additional information concerning the city's permitting process by contacting the Metro Nashville Department of Codes and Building Safety at (615) 862-6500.
Handymen in Nashville do not require licenses to perform home repair and improvement jobs that cost less than $3,000, including the cost of materials and labor. However, if your home repair work costs between $3,000 and $25,000, then the handyman must possess a valid Home Improvement License issued by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Likewise, work that costs $25,000 or more requires the possession of a valid Contractor License, which is also issued by the aforementioned department. Performing home improvement jobs worth $3,000 or more in Nashville without possessing an appropriate state-issued license is considered a Class A misdemeanor, and guilty handymen can receive fines of up to $5,000 as well as other civil sanctions.
To this end, you should always get estimates for your intended home improvement job from your handyman before the work commences and make sure that the total cost is not up to $3,000. If the cost of the job exceeds this amount, request proof of licensing from the handyman and verify it with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance online. Listed below are the cost estimates of common home repair and improvements jobs that are commonly handled by handymen in Nashville:Artwork hanging$50 - $100Awning repair$120 - $600Cabinet repair$50 - $500Cabinet refinishing$500 - $2,600Drain unclogging$55 - $150Driveway sealing$60 - $250Drywall repair$85 - $500Electrical appliance installation$100 - $300Faulty fixture repair/replacement$50 - $300Gutter cleaning$100 - $300Home childproofing$130 - $400Lawn care/landscaping maintenance$50 - $400Patio/deck painting$100 - $600Room painting$230 - $650Snow removal$50 - $300TV mounting$50 - $200Residential handyman services$49 - $62 per hour (labor only)Commercial handyman services$55 - $64 per hour (labor only)
Even though there are no mandatory insurance requirements for handymen that wish to ply their trade in the City of Nashville, it is always in your best interest to make sure that your intended handyman is properly insured. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 30 percent of the fatal occupational injuries that were reported across Tennessee in 2020 occurred amongst the state's construction, installation, maintenance, and repair workers.
Hiring a handyman that carries adequate general liability insurance not only insulates you from the financial and legal liabilities that typically accompany on-the-job injuries but also covers the costs of damages to your property that may occur during the job. To this end, always ask any Nashville handyman that you intend to hire for a copy of their insurance certificate and contact the issuing organization to authenticate this document.
It is important to note that handymen in the city that wish to obtain state-issued home improvement or contractor licenses must meet certain insurance and bonding requirements before they can do so. These requirements include carrying minimum general liability insurance of between $100,000 and $1,000,000, depending on the class of license they wish to obtain, as well as workers' compensation insurance for their employees and a $10,000 bond for handymen that wish to obtain home improvement licenses. Additional information on mandatory insurance and bonding requirements for state-licensed Nashville contractors can be directed to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's Board for Licensing Contractors at (615) 741-8307 or (800) 544-7693.
In March 2021, ABC 17 News reported that a contractor in the Nashville area had been arrested following allegations of home improvement fraud. According to the report, the contractor had failed to provide required home repair and improvement services to homeowners in the area despite receiving thousands of dollars for these services. Home repair and improvement scams are one of the most common types of scams in Tennessee and topped the list of common complaints made across the state in 2021. To avoid falling victim to these scams when looking to undertake home repair and improvement tasks in Nashville, you should look out for the following red flags when searching for professional handymen in the city:
- The handyman goes door-to-door selling their services
- The handyman tries to get rush you into hiring them by offering time-limited deals
- The handyman is reluctant to provide a written contract for the job
- The handyman pressures you into paying more than a third of the job's total cost upfront
In addition to recognizing the abovementioned red flags, taking the following steps can also help you protect yourself against the actions of unscrupulous handymen in Nashville:
- Get several estimates for the job and also request and check references before committing to any handymen.
- Lookup the handyman online via third-party review websites like the Better Business Bureau. You can also contact the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's Board for Licensing Contractors at (615) 532-3996 and (800) 544-7693 to find out if any complaints have been filed against the handyman
- Be wary of door-to-door handymen, handymen that offer special time-limited discounts, or handymen that request payment upfront or large advance deposits. Do not pay more than one-third of the job's total value upfront
- Get a written contract for the job and make sure that it includes the handyman's contact details, a description of the service that is to be provided, a timeline for the service, and payment terms
- Make sure that any handyman you hire is properly insured
- Always hire licensed contractors for projects that cost $3,000 or more and confirm these contractors' licensing status online before finalizing any agreements with them
You can file complaints concerning scams and other unfair or deceptive business practices by handymen in Nashville with the Division of Consumer Affairs of the Tennessee Attorney General's Office via an online complaint form. Alternatively, you can download and complete a printable complaint form, which can then be submitted to the division via email or mail-in to:
- Division of Consumer Affairs
- Tennessee Attorney General's Office
- P.O. Box 20207
- Nashville, TN 37202-0207