Compared to other trade professionals who earn $24.86, handymen are a cheaper option, with an average wage of approximately $20.41 per hour for minor home repairs in the City of Houston. Notwithstanding that their charges are more affordable, you must hire the right handyman for your planned home repairs or improvements. To hire a handyman that can give you value for your money, you should consider taking the following steps:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Handyman in the City of Houston?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Handymen in the City of Houston?
- Do You Require a Permit to Complete This Work in the City of Houston?
- What Works Can You Do Legally as a Handyman in the City of Houston?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Handymen in the City of Houston?
There are no professional or occupational license requirements for handymen in the City of Houston. However, a handyman who wants to run a handyman business and offer extensive home repairs and improvements to city residents must fulfill certain city and state regulations. This includes registering a business before offering services to the city's residents. If the handyman intends to structure their business as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, then a "Doing Business As" form will need to be filed with the relevant county's clerk in which the business will be conducted. If the business has no premises, the applicant must file in each county where they intend to carry on business. Applicants can contact the county clerk offices for the City of Houston at the following locations:
- Harris County Clerk's Office
- 201 Caroline Street
- Houston, TX 77002
- Phone: (713) 274-8600
- Fort Bend County Clerk's Office
- 301 Jackson Street
- Richmond, TX 77469
- Phone: (281) 341-8685
- Montgomery County Clerk's Office
- 210 West Davis Street
- Conroe, TX 77301
- Phone: (936) 539-7885
Meanwhile, a limited liability company, corporation, or limited liability partnership must file a Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State to establish their business name. They must also file the necessary "Doing Business As" forms with the Secretary of State and each county where the business will be located. If you need to confirm the validity of a handyman's business registration, you can verify online via SOSDirect provided by the Texas Secretary of State, or you can contact at (512) 463-5555.
The handyman must also obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number, also referred to as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Applicants can visit the IRS office located at:
- Internal Revenue Service
- 1919 Smith Street
- Houston, TX 77002
- Phone: (281) 721-70210
In addition, the handyman must file a rendition with the relevant county they are listing their business personal property assets if the business' total value of property assets is more than $500. For more information regarding Texas's appraisal and tax responsibilities, contact the relevant County Appraisal District Office. Generally, if you want to inquire about your intended handyman's business registration requirement or if they have met all regulatory requirements, you can contact the Houston Office of Business Opportunity Solutions Center (OBOSC) at (832) 393-0954. You can also contact the Houston Office of Economic Development at (832) 393-0937 or (832) 393-0981 for more information.
Before you hire a home repair professional in Houston, you must know how much the handyman will be charging for their services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for handymen in the Houston area is $20.41. However, the total amount you will have to pay depends on several factors, such as:
- The size of the project and the amount of labor that the handyman will require to complete it successfully.
- The scope of the task and the nature of the work that the handyman will be performing
- The cost of the materials and supplies that the handyman will use for the work.
It is very important to get estimates from different handymen in your area before hiring them. Doing so will help you avoid getting carried away by the various charges involved and also help you spot a fraudulent handyman. You can also confirm if the estimates are calculated using a flat or hourly rate.
Houston handymen earn an average wage of $42, 450 annually. The table below compares and contrasts the average hourly wages of handymen and other general maintenance and repair workers in Houston with those of workers in this industry across the State of Texas and major American cities:Houston Handyman Average Hourly Wage$20.41Texas Handyman Average Hourly Wage$19.27Phoenix Handyman Average Hourly Wage$21.54Boston Handyman Average Hourly Wage$25.61Detroit Handyman Average Hourly WageLos Angeles Handyman Average Hourly Wage$22.77New York City Handyman Average Hourly Wage$24.50
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
When you hire a handyman to carry out repairs in your home, you will require a residential repair permit for certain repair work per the Houston Code of Ordinances, Chapter 10. The Houston Permitting Center is the agency that issues different types of permits for various types of residential repair projects. The following repair work will be eligible for a residential repair permit:
- Exterior siding
- Garage door and windows
- Roof repairs (not to exceed 100 sq.ft.)
- Window repairs
- Repair damaged studs
- Install smoke detectors (hardwired and interconnected)
- Install carbon monoxide detectors
- Repair existing interior stairs and/or steps to original condition
- Repair ceiling, wall covering, and/or insulation
- Repair existing fireplace
- Repair porch
- Repair electrical (separate permit required)
- Repair plumbing (separate permit required)
- Repair mechanical (separate permit required)
Interested individuals can apply for a residential repair permit online by registering or signing in with an existing account on the city's iPermit portal. The applicants can then complete and submit the relevant permit application and pay the applicable fee. Some types of resident home repair projects require the submission of plans. Applicants can use this Residential Repairs Spec List (CE-1059) to confirm if their project requires plan submission. Alternatively, applicants can contact the city's Permitting Center at (832) 394-8840 or by email. If the permit application is carried out by the handyman, the homeowner can confirm if the handyman has obtained all the necessary permits for your intended repair projects by using the Houston Online Permit Search Portal.
In addition to being issued permits, applicants must schedule inspections online or contact the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System at (713) 222-9922. A copy of the permit and Residential Repairs Spec List must always be on-site until the final inspection. The Houston Permitting Center can help you with your home repair permit-related questions when you call them on (832) 394-9000. You can visit the physical location in person at:
- Houston Permitting Center
- 1002 Washington Avenue
- Houston, TX 77002
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m on Monday through Friday
There are no occupational licenses in Houston for home repair and maintenance workers. They can perform various tasks such as repairing and maintaining a home, as long as they follow proper safety procedures. However, handymen cannot carry out home repair or maintenance work that involves HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and fire-sprinkler-related work. To perform these tasks, an individual must be licensed and have a proper trade license issued by either the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Failure to follow these regulations can lead to state-imposed penalties. These can include possible jail time and fines up to $3,500, depending on the type of work performed.
Before hiring a Houston-based home handyman, it is important to get a clear idea of how much their services cost and mode of payment before work starts. This will help avoid disputes regarding payments. The following estimates the various services a handyman in Houston can provide.Artwork hanging$45 - $145Cabinet repair$150 - $227Drain unclogging$50 - $270Driveway sealing$70 - $175Drywall repair$60 - $237Electrical appliance installation$104.67 - $142Faulty fixture repair/replacement$100 - $400Gutter cleaning$60 to $200Home childproofing$189 and $630Lawn care/landscaping maintenance$90 - $515Patio/deck painting$150 - $475Snow removal$42.00 and $353TV mounting$100 and $130Residential handyman services$51 - $102 plus parts and materialsCommercial handyman services$50.41 - $79 per hour (plus materials)
In 2020, over 37 percent of fatal occupational injuries in Texas were reported amongst construction, maintenance, and repair workers. Although insurance is not mandatory for handymen in Houston, hiring a reliable and insured handyman is still important. Working with an insured handyman can protect you from incurring any legal and financial liabilities in the event of an accident while they are carrying out home repairs.
Before starting a project, ensure that the handyman carrying out the work has the necessary commercial general liability insurance. Also, confirm that the handyman with employees is carrying the required workers' compensation insurance for them. This will cover the individuals who will be working on the project. You should authenticate the insurance coverage of the handyman performing the work by contacting the insurance company that issued the certificate of insurance. Likewise, you can contact the Houston Human Resources Department at (832) 393-7233 for more information regarding worker's compensation insurance.
When it comes to hiring a home repair professional, it is important to take precautions to avoid getting ripped off by the handyman carrying out the repair work. The Texas Attorney General's Office handles over 30,000 consumer protection cases each year. These cases usually involve various forms of consumer fraud, such as home repairs or improvement scams carried out by fraudulent individuals. For instance, in February 2020, a contractor was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing $180,000 from homeowners in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey. These con artists will ask for an advance payment before finishing their work. They then disappear leaving their victims with unfinished projects. It's essential to watch out for the following signs when dealing with handymen in the city.
- The handyman demands cash-only deals.
- The handyman claims that they do not need to sign a contract and that they can do it without any written documents.
- The handyman employs high-pressure tactics to convince you to expand the scope of your planned project.
- The handyman refuses to provide references from past clients.
Before hiring a home improvement contractor in Houston, you can take the following steps to avoid getting ripped off.
- Avoid dealing with an individual who visits your home unsolicited.
- Get at least three estimates from different contractors before going with one. Doing so will help you reduce your chances of hiring a fraudulent handyman.
- Request for references of past clients from the handyman. Make sure you contact these references to inquire about your handyman's quality of service. This is very important since some individuals might not be able to provide you with this information.
- Check the reviews and complaints of other customers online via reputable third-party websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google.
- Verify the handyman's insurance status with the relevant insurance provider. This will help protect you from unexpected expenses.
- Avoid making full payment. If you have to make an upfront payment, limit the amount to not more than 30 percent of the total payment.
- Execute a written contract with the handyman stating the obligations of the handyman, commencement date, materials, and expected date of completion. Before signing any contract, make sure that it's clear and complete. Also, avoid signing contracts that have ambiguous terms and conditions.
Complaints concerning home improvement scams and other fraudulent business practices that occur in the City of Houston can be reported to the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office online, via phone number (800) 621-0508, or by mailing a pdf consumer complaint form to:
- Office of the Attorney General
- Consumer Protection Division
- P.O. Box 12548
- Houston, TX 78711-2548
Similarly, you can also, contact the Harris County District Attorney's Office at (713) 274-5555 to report a home improvement scam in the City of Houston. Note that these agencies can not guarantee you restitution. As such, you can file a private legal action against the subject of your complaint at the relevant Municipal Courts. Nonetheless, you should consult with a lawyer to get advice on the proper course of action. You can find lawyers near you via the Lawyer Referral and Information Service provided by the State Bar of Texas.