Whether you have optimistically joined the home improvement movement, hesitated to start, or stopped mid-project, a highly qualified handyman is a click away to help you be more productive, get back on track and improve the quality of your work.
Why Handymen are Critical in an Era of DIY Home Improvement
The significant increase in Home DIY projects this past year has been a direct result of homeowners spending substantially more time at home. The desire to make improvements around the house has been largely fueled by an amplified awareness of imperfections and the need to improve the utility of existing spaces.
Whether you have successfully joined the home improvement fray, started then halted, or hesitated to start, you may want to consider hiring a handyman to help you:
- Improve the Quality of Your Work
- Determine How to Best Tackle a Job
- Reduce Your To-Do-List
Before deciding to repaint the eaves, clean the gutters, fix that annoying shower drip, or add soundproofing to your den, also consider how a handyman might be a good fit for your project in terms of:
- Extra Eyes, Hands, Legs & Endurance
Handymen (and women) have been providing, cost-effective, professional services for years, everything from plumbing to landscaping services to major and minor home repairs. Armed with a wide-range of skills in repairs, maintenance and construction, handyworkers can serve as valuable resources for many diverse project scenarios.
What is a Handyman?
A Handyman is a professional tradesperson skilled at a wide-range of repair and maintenance jobs around the home. They typically are hired for repairs, miscellaneous projects and minor upgrades that do not require a permit, pose significant dangers, or require special licensing to perform. An added benefit to hiring a handyman is establishing a trustworthy, on-going relationship that makes hiring for recurring work and future work easier and more convenient for the homeowner. Example handyman projects and services provided can include:
- Painting & Wall Patching
- Yard Maintenance & Landscaping
- Heavy Lifting & Hauling
- Light Construction
- Furniture Assembly
- Basic Plumbing and Electrical Work
Signs that it is Time to Hire a Handyman
If you are experiencing any of these situations or concerns with your home DIY projects, a handyman might be the perfect solution:
- You Have a Backlog of Home Maintenance Projects
- You Need Guidance Either to Start or Complete a Project
- You Feel Out of Your Comfort Zone
- You May Not be Physically Up for the Task or Need Another Person
- You Need to Help an Aging or Incapacitated Relative or Friend
Backlog of Home Maintenance Projects
Homeowners often procrastinate when it comes to starting home care projects, which only makes the “Honey Do” list grow further. With the help of a handyman, you can motivate yourself to prioritize and complete tasks faster, as you can either “divide and conquer” or work “twice as fast” on each item.
Either way, two workers are better than one, when you find yourself with a project backlog and only one available person to complete the tasks. A seasoned handyman with both interior and exterior skills can provide you with the confidence and experience you need to correct defects and get your home projects back on track towards completion.
Project Needs Guidance
In instances where a project may require a second set of eyes or the expertise of someone who has performed the tasks successfully, a handyman is a good, cost-effective option, and provides you with an opportunity to improve your skills.
If your electrician skills are limited to changing walls plates and lightbulbs, but you would like to learn how to install recessed lighting or perform your own switch repairs, an experienced electrical handyman can guide you through a professional installation that meets local code ordinances.
Project is Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Oftentimes, homeownership comes with the belief that you can repair anything by just “Googling it” or watching a YouTube video! Sometimes, these homemade DIY projects can go sideways from a botched attempt and are left abandoned until a professional is ultimately hired to come in and complete the job.
Regarding YouTube, instructional videos can be a great source of DIY solutions for virtually any type of home project you can imagine. However, some videos may make projects appear deceptively easy, especially if you do not have comparable workspaces, tools, budgets, time or experience. This is a perfect opportunity to engage the services of a handyman, who can usually correct your well-intentioned attempts before a hazardous situation arises.
Not Physically Up for the Task or Project Requires More than One Person
Sometimes a project just requires more “brawn” or other physical traits that a handyman can provide. If you have a yard project that requires excessive hauling of heavy loads, for example, a more physically fit handyperson is probably better suited to help, than an aging, stubborn spouse who may be nursing a bad back or ailing knee.
Even when heavy objects are not involved, the presence of another person can be helpful by simply holding things in place for measurement, spotting alignments from a distance, shining light or retrieving tools.
Project is for an Aging or Incapacitated Relative
One of the smartest ways to use a handyman is to provide handy services to an elderly or incapacitated relative or friend. Setting up an account with a local handyman for situations that arise spontaneously is a great way to alleviate the issue of helping an aged parent find a trustworthy plumber, electrician or other craftsman when the need arises.
With the connection to an experienced and well-qualified handyman, you can dispatch help as needed with the confidence of knowing that the job will be completed in a safe, professional and timely manner. Another approach to consider is reaching out to companies that also offer maintenance service plans specifically for seniors, such as TruBlue Total House Care.
What to Know Before You Hire a Handyman
Do Handymen need to be certified or hold professional licenses?
Depending on your local ordinances for contractors and licensed professionals, handyman may only be allowed to accept projects below a certain monetary threshold. In California, for example, a handyman should only be engaged for projects that do not exceed $500 including parts and labor. California does not offer a specific licensing for handymen, as it does for specific trades such as General Contractors, Electricians, Plumbers or Painters.
Similarly, in Hawaii, a handyman may work on projects with a $1,000 limit. States such as New York, Connecticut, Missouri and Texas have no state requirements for handyman licensing and do not mandate limits for work performed. However, each state suggests that you check local ordinances for specific rules.
Though we at Purgula are ardent believers in hiring licensed professional contractors for requisite projects, we also believe that unlicensed professional handymen serve a valuable role within the residential maintenance and repairs space. However, there are several smart and safe approaches to follow that will help you find and hire a highly-qualified professional handyman for today and for work in the future for many years to come.
How much Liability Insurance should a Handyman hold?
It is important to note that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not include coverage for work that is performed by contractors, which means that it is important that all contractors, including handymen, carry their own insurance. A professional handyman carries general liability insurance that covers property damage, settlements, legal fees, judgements and medical expenses. The usual liability insurance will have $1,000,000 liability coverage per claim.
How much does a Handyman cost?
Handyman services are a cost-effective alternative to that of licensed trades, as you are not paying for additional overhead, such as professional fees and costs to maintain a number of staff on payroll. Handymen are usually sole proprietors and can therefore keep their rates at a palatable level even though the quality can be on par with professional, licensed tradesmen.
The average cost for a handyman will vary by geography, job, and number of days engaged, as costs are a reflection of the local market and the complexity of the job. Many handyman have minimum charges which means that at $75 an hour, you may want to have a number of tasks on your list in order to maximize your benefit.
Still yet, many handymen prefer to charge a flat rate per job and may provide you with a discount for multiple tasks if you negotiate well. Marketplace websites and apps (see below) will give you an idea of the going rate for a particular project in your geographic area.
What is the Best Way to Hire a Handyman?
How to find Local Handymen
There are a number of ways to find a local handyman, but one of the best methods has always been by referral for work that you have personally witnessed and approved.
Although the Nextdoor app allows handymen and other professionals to advertise for a fee, we still believe that your best approach is to ask your neighbors for a referral for similar projects on the site. If they are willing to provide a handyman’s information and a description of the work performed, also ask if you can stop by to see the work in person, or if they can share detailed photos of the work. It is always better to see the quality of a tradesman’s work before you engage blindly, as this will save you from having any unhappy surprises should their work standards not meet your expectations of quality.
Headquartered out of San Francisco, CA, Thumbtack is an online matching service for local customers with local trade professionals. With over 1,000 categories including “Handyman”, the app requires that you enter your “need” and your zip code. An algorithm will return all trades in your geographic zone that meet your description. Profiles with price per hour are listed, along with notations on the level of demand, number of services rendered, and reviews from actual customers. A five star rating system allows you to compare across various vendors in your immediate area.
What is Thumbtack?
Why You Should Hire a Handyman from a Handyman
Known as “Uber for Handymen”, Handy offers a list of services from house cleaning to furniture assembly to home renovation services. Individuals are pre-screened, independent professionals who are matched to your service needs. Like Uber, the Handy app allows you to “book” your services by day and time, and provides you with a rate in just sixty seconds. Payments are made electronically through the app and the booking is then confirmed. Service is free if you are ever dissatisfied!
Founded in 2008 in Boston, MA, TaskRabbit is an online marketplace that matches various types of services with freelance workers. Homeowners can book same-day handyman services using the TaskRabbit app for tasks such as yard work, snow removal, minor repairs, or moving. Prices for the categories of projects are listed on the app when you enter the type of work needed. You have the choice of same day service or scheduling work for a future date with options on times that meet your needs. Profiles with photos of the various providers of the service you desire are given along with their rates. Simply click to select and book.
Formerly known as ServiceMagic, HomeAdvisor is the world’s largest online marketplace for home services that matches homeowners with prescreened local service professionals offering various services. Customers can view the cost range for projects in their geographic region with the help of the app’s True Cost Guide, an exclusive service. Projects include home improvement, general maintenance, and remodeling.
HomeAdvisor Video Call App to Learn What Prospective Customers Need Help With
Virtual Handyman Services
If you are more in need of guidance, be sure to look into virtual handyman services, as this type of service exists and will continue to grow for many years to come. Here are a few examples of this innovative service that is cost-effective, convenient, and expedient.
Fixer.com is a handyman service based in Chicago, with the tagline of “No headache home repair”. As proof of their growing service of nationwide video consultations, they have added “Now by video, too”, to their slogan. They make it easy to get your To-Do-List done with video:
- Diagnose Problems
- Plan a Project
- Coach Your DIY Project
Example Fixer Virtual Call
- A customer requests a free estimate by submitting context of their project (e.g. I don’t know how to install a garbage disposal)
- Larry provides a quote that includes the amount of time to book and requisite tools and supplies for the job (i.e. the WHAT of the project).
- Once the necessary tools and supplies are in hand, the client can then decide to book Larry, using a self-serve appointment scheduler to select an available time slot. Payment is made when securing an appointment based on the length of the appointment. Virtual service calls will then cover the HOW of the project.
- Virtual appointments are currently offered in three increments:
- 20 Minutes: corresponds to simple jobs like installing a light fixture
- 30 Minutes: corresponds to like installing a disposal
- 1 Hour: corresponds to more involved jobs like installing a garage door opener
- For real-time video calls, Larry supports: FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Video Call and Zoom.
Neli specializes on virtually helping homeowners fix issues with their appliances. Their virtual appliance repair service connects homeowners to pre-screened, certified technicians via video chat or text. If the technician cannot diagnose the problem, the homeowner will receive a full refund. Appliances available for virtual repair currently include: refrigerators; ice makers; washing machines; dishwashers; stoves; and stove tops. The offer two types of service engagments: 1) Virtual Diagnosis; and 2) Virtual Part Installation.
Additional Handyman Resources
How to Increase Your Chances of Hiring a Good Contractor
Why Prescriptive Maintenance is the Cure for Homeowner Headaches
Home Warranties: Options & Alternatives
6 Uber-esque Apps for Lawn Care and Outdoor Services
What Homeowners Should Know About Proptech
How to Choose a Water Leak Detection System for Your Home
Home Inspection Technologies to Alleviate Your Purchase Anxiety
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