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5 essentials for hiring a NYC handyman

If you're thinking about hiring a handyman for a project around your home or apartment, chances are you’re envisioning the end product — not the possibility of a botched job or the likelihood of getting scammed out of your investment.

Yet, it happens.

According to New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs, the most common complaints it receives from homeowners are related to poor work or unfinished jobs performed by home improvement contractors, many of whom are operating without a license.

To make sure you avoid getting in line with other disgruntled homeowners who have sought help from the DCA, make sure you take the steps to ensure that the handyman you’re preparing to hire is licensed and experienced in completing the type of work you have in mind.

5 tips to consider before committing to hiring your NYC handyman:

1. Make sure the handyman is licensed.
No matter the scope of the work, whether it’s remodeling your basement, installing a fence or landscaping your yard, any home improvement contractor working in New York City on projects that exceed $200 total should have a license.

Not only must a contractor submit to a background check, he or she needs to pass a written test gauging how much they know about business law and contracts. If they are in violation of that law, they could be fined for every day they operated without a license. They also could have their tools and vehicle seized. Check a contractor’s licensing status at the NYC DCA's Instant License Check website.

2. Check references.

This step cannot be underestimated. Whether you check for referrals via online reviews on Angie's List, recommendations from friends, or former clients of a prospective handyman, it is important to get at least three recommendations for the contractor’s work.

3. Compare.
According to the DCA, it is essential that you get estimates from at least three different contractors – in writing.

4. Make a list.
Ensure you’re comparing apples to apples. Outline the scope of the project beforehand so that you’re prepared to ask the same questions of each potential contractor.

5. Ask plenty of questions.
When interviewing your three prospective contractors, make sure you gather information that will help you gain an understanding of their previous experience.


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