Angie's LIST Guide to
Hiring a handyman

Not all home repair jobs require the help of a general contractor or specialized service provider. A handyman can be hired for a variety of small home improvement projects. The following guide explains how a handyman can fix your to-do list while saving time and money along the way.
 

handyman.jpg

For jobs that don't require a general contractor, consider hiring a handyman. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Randy O.)
For jobs that don't require a general contractor, consider hiring a handyman. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Randy O.)
 
 

What is a handyman?

A handyman or handywoman is a skilled “jack of all trades” who can be hired by the hour to complete a wide range of small home improvement work and repair.

A handyman, or handyman company, typically charges the client by the hour plus material costs, regardless of the task at hand. Many homeowners will compile a list of repairs and hire a handyman to complete the list in a single visit.

The term “handyman” is loosely defined. Some are self-trained, while others have more formal training in various aspects of construction and home repair. Some specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting and carpentry, while others specialize in several areas of home repair.

There is no national standard or regulation for handymen. Licensing and regulation vary by state. New Jersey, for example, requires handymen who work for a profit to register with the state and carry insurance. California requires handymen to carry a license from the State Contractors License Board to work on any project that exceeds $500 in labor and material costs.

How do I know if I need a handyman or contractor?

The scope of the job and level of skill required to complete it should determine whether you hire a handyman or contractor.

“When trying to determine who you should hire for a particular job, consider the task,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. If it’s a specialized trade, be sure you hire that tradesperson like a plumber or electrician, for example. If it’s little things that you can do yourself, a handyman is probably the right way to go.”

A handyman is not the best option for a large or complicated project that could take a long time to complete and require the help of multiple workers. A contractor or specialist should be utilized for remodeling work, room additions, projects that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed professionals like electricians.

Benefits of hiring a handyman

You’ve got an ever increasing to-do list of home improvements like changing out a bathroom faucet, replacing missing shingles on the roof and painting a kitchen wall. You could hire a plumber, roofer and painter who all would have conflicting schedules of availability and their own service charges, or you could hire a handyman to complete all three projects in one day for a single hourly rate.

A homeowner can save money on home improvement projects by hiring a handyman because it eliminates the need for multiple service providers and contractors. Many handymen charge by the hour so a homeowner only pays for one worker who can complete a wide range of projects. A service charge from a plumber or roofer to come to your home could equal or even surpass the price to hire a handyman for a few hours.

Hiring a handyman also prevents waste and overcharging, as the handyman will only charge you for hours worked. A contractor or specialist is more likely to price a job based on the estimated amount of time it will take to complete it. Handymen are able to keep their rates low because they don't have to pay additional workers and have lower overhead costs than contractors or large companies.

Many homeowners turn to handymen when they have a job but don't know who to call. Handymen have been known to do all types of work from setting up playground equipment and gas grills to hanging holiday lights and decorations.

Handyman-ready jobs

Handymen are best utilized for small, “honey-do” types of home repair work. The following projects are ideal for most handymen.

Minor plumbing work

Many handymen are capable of completing minor plumbing work like installing new fixtures or repairing a leaky faucet. However, complex projects or jobs that require plumbing to be moved within the home should be left to a licensed plumber.

Caulking

Adding a fresh application of caulk to gaps between windows, doors and siding is a great way to improve energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

Decks and porches

Over time, weather can take its toll on wooden decks and porches. A handyman can replace broken boards, apply a finish or sealant and make general improvements or repairs to upgrade your deck or porch’s safety and appearance.

Gutter cleaning and maintenance

Although it’s a simple enough task, cleaning gutters is messy and involves climbing on the roof. Avoid the risk of injury by hiring a professional handyman with the right equipment and experience for the task. A handyman can also install gutter guards to prevent seasonal clogging.

Home exterior repairs

If you have minor damage to your home’s exterior, such as a loose piece of siding or a missing shingle, hiring a handyman to repair those items may prove to be more cost-effective than hiring a specialist.

Painting and touch-ups

A handyman can be hired to repaint a wall or garage door, touchup trim and scoff marks and repair small holes with spackle. Remember, a handyman typically charges by the hour, so larger jobs are better suited for a professional painting crew.

Hanging window treatments, pictures and mirrors and installing light fixtures

These small tasks can be easily accomplished by a homeowner, but a hiring a handyman with the right tools and experience can help ensure these wall-mounted items are hung correctly without damage.

Handyman hiring tips

Homeowners should take the time to interview several candidates before making a hiring decision. A handyman will be working closely with you in your home so you want to pick one that you feel comfortable around. The following handyman hiring tips can help ensure you pick the right candidate.

1. Define the project. Start by compiling a list of the home repairs you would like completed. Remember, a handyman is best utilized for small jobs such as installing light fixtures, patching drywall and interior painting. If the job requires pulling a permit, or moving plumbing or electrical wiring, you should consider hiring a contractor.

2. Shop around. Check Angie’s List reviews and interview a minimum of three handymen. Ask about years of experience and areas of specialization, and request references from homeowners who worked with the handyman in the past. Make sure the potential handyman has the skills and experience to complete your project.

3. Watch out for scams. You want to avoid handymen who contact you with unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home. You should also avoid any handyman who refuses to guarantee the price of the job or asks for payment upfront. Reputable handymen don’t expect to get paid before the project is completed.

4. Get it in writing. Insist on a written agreement laying out the job details, costs and a payment schedule. Be clear about the times you expect the work to be started and completed. It’s extremely important to get all guarantees in writing.

5. Ask for a guarantee. Many handymen will guarantee their work for up to one year. Ask about guarantees before you make a hiring decision, and of course, make sure the guarantee is in writing.

6. Inspect the work. Inspect the completed work before making payment. Make sure that everything has been done to your satisfaction and at the agreed upon price. Most handymen will be happy to explain the finished work because they want you to be satisfied. 

Comments

NEEDED SOME ONE TO COME IN FIX MY TWO SOFTSPOTS IN THE FLOORING, ONE IN THE WALK IN CLOSET ALSO BY THE WASHER AND DRYER AEREA.

Members can sign in to search the List, there's a link in the upper right hand corner, or they can call us at 1-888-888-LIST. If you're not yet a member, we can help sign you up then help you search. Thanks!

looking for a reputable handyman to do some minor repairs to a home that will soon be on the market. live in the powder springs area

Members can sign in to search the List, there's a link in the upper right hand corner. If you're not yet a member, you can join online or give us a call at 1-888-888-LIST, and we can help sign you up then help you search. Thanks!

how can i write a review on a handyman service?

Hi Susan!

Angie's List accepts reviews from non-members, too! To leave a review on a local handyman service, simply click on this link: https://my.angieslist.com/angieslist/review/

I have been looking for a plumber and a handyman. When I go to click on "Reviews," nothing happens. The cursor turns into another symbol and the reviews are inaccessible. I cannot buy any service without reading the reviews. Please help.

Hi Nadya, 

This is Katie with Angie's List. Thanks for your comment! Only Angie's List members are able to read reviews. If you're interested in becoming a member, sign-up online by clicking the "Join Now" button at the top of the screen or give us a call at 1-888-888-LIST. Use promo code "ANSWERS" for 20% off an annual membership. Thanks!

What is the average cost range of a handy man does it vary from project time or skill level? What if many little jobs are in need of repair versus plubming /electrical ?

A professional, fully insured Handyman, averages anywhere between $65 to $130 an hour here in New York. Compare their rates to a typical service charge of $160 to $250 for a Plumber or Roofer just to look at and assess a problem and the Hanyman's prices become a smart bargain by comparison.

HOW MUCH WOUL IT BE TO REPAIR OR WOULD IT BE BETTER TO REPLACE, MY WATER HEATER IS 10 YRS OLD

i would suggest that u replace that water heater 10 years is the average life span for a water heater especially if the water heater in question has not been serviced in all these years right now is a leak next is a heating element will go out if u own your home i would suggest a tank less water heater yes it cost a bit more but they are more energy efficient and u will save money in the long run and u do not have to worry about the tank leaking in ten years because it doesn't have one u will need an electrician to hook it up since u will need to have it wired into the breaker box on its own 220

Looking for some 1 that can under skirt a mobile home (14X60) and build a deck

This is SB wood panels; one or both to be cut to fit.

Approx. 1' by 2 ' hole in drywall due to plumbing repair.

Would like estimate to regularly "blow off" roof (double wide mobile home) and clean one gutter one alum porch roof. Clean up around home from degree on roof. Located in Valrico, Fl. Area.

I am an executrix of a living trust. The house left to son and stepfather equally, however the husband is claiming he is owed $100,000 for labor
costs associated with house upgrades and repairs done during the marriage. The husband is not a contractor nor does he have any certificates or licenses. He is claiming that we should pay him at $70.00 an hour x 100,00 hrs. I do not believe he can charge that much.

Where can I validate handyman labor costs for this?

handyman needed

I have spent so much money for work that is not completed properly; I guess they see me coming. I am an older senior citizen and have been talked into work that was not properly done and then had to ask person to leave telling them I was out of money. It is frightening because they realize I'm easy pickens and need a reliable person to make repairs. Immediate repairs consist of leaders and gutters cleaned and repaired where needed. Plumbing repair drain in kitchen sink in tenant's second floor apartment. And the list goes on.

I need someone with a truck who is willing to help me transport a motorcycle from a yard in (N.C)national city a short distance to my storage unit. i WILL GLADLY PAY THIS PERSONHANDSOMELY!!!! one C ONDITION L need it done very early in the morning!! tomorrow morning please contact me immeditately. PLEASE! PLEASE!

i need a handy man to power wash my home

Need boards replaced and support boards added.

Price for staining

Have you found anyone to help you with your deck?

I need an handyman for floor tiles, staircase carpeting, door replacement, and bathroom tiles. I'm here in Uniondale, New York.

While I'm not going to give you a name of a handymen, I will offer some advice which you may or may not find valuable. A few years ago I had 440 sq. ft. of marble tile put down by my handyman. I have regretted ever since and consider it my $10k mistake. Handymen can certainly do the job, but I learned the hard way that tile contractors (more costly labor wise, usually, yes) are experts in tile and will give you advice you normally will not get from a handyman. Years before that incident, I had my fireplace and atrium floor tiled. The contractor provided advice and did a fantastic job. If only I had called him for my more recent job ..... Depending on the needed job, a handyman is certainly not always the answer. Just something to think about. For starters, I can tell you right now that a licensed tile contractor would have never accepted the tile I chose. And I can see why after just a few years; basically it is crap with many fissures.

The price hourly rate of $160+ for a handyman to clean gutters and small things like changing a faucet Is awfully steep for senior citizens most of us live on Social Security I would not be able to afford someone for 6 or more hours
any other suggestions are there no NY handymen that charge less

I can help..I have been working with others in the same situation as yours.

searching for handy man in NYC

I am very ill on dialysis and my carpenter husband had heart bypass which has led to not being able to maintain home which weather left its marks. Deck caving in which I just fell on and got severely hurt Lived here 17 years without 1 decent neighbor. Both of us on disablity or paying for expensive drugs. No where to turn with only a possible loan from bank. Volunteered all my young life helping others without pay. Now I need it and can't find any. Even talking to someone might help, but don't expect payment which you do normally. Can't even afford that! Blessings and prayers are all I have to offer.

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