A handyman, or handyman company, usually charges clients an hourly rate, plus material costs, regardless of the task. Many homeowners compile a list of repairs and hire a handyman to complete the list in a single visit.
The term “handyman” is loosely defined. Some handyman are self-trained, while others have formal training in various aspects of construction and home repair. Some specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting, carpentry, or tiling, while others may have additional skills such as plumbing and electrical expertise.
There's 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. Find out before you hire the handyman if he or she has the skills needed to complete your project.
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. You shouldn't turn to a handyman either if you need an emergency service for plumbing, electrical or appliance work unless the handyman is licensed in that trade. If an unlicensed person does plumbing or electrical work you have no guarantee that the work has been done to code, which could affect your homeowners insurance policy or any claim related to the work. Use a contractor or specialist for remodeling work, room additions, and projects that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed professionals like electricians.