Boston handymen recommend cautious hiring
Since handymen aren't required to hold licenses in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Alan Weisner, owner of highly rated We Show Up in Swampscott, Mass., suggests homeowners exercise extra caution when looking for one.
“This is one of the reasons you should be careful when hiring handymen, because there is no control mechanism in place for governing who can claim to be able to do the work,” he says. If license-regulated work is required, such as plumbing or electrical, Weisner says he refers his clients to licensed companies.
“Handymen need to be interviewed extensively by the customer to evaluate their credentials,” says Ralph Osborne, owner of highly rated Handyman Matters of Manchester in Brookline, N.H. “If a person or company cannot provide proof of insurance and references when asked, that’s questionable.” He adds that a detailed, written contract should be in place before a handyman asks for any money.
Weisner and Osborne charge by the hour for the vast majority of the jobs they do — $50 and $76 an hour, respectively – but materials generally cost extra. “With hourly billing, nobody loses,” Weisner says. “Flat-rate billing usually means either the client or the contractor comes out ahead — so someone won’t be happy in the end.”
To save time and money, Osborne recommends preparing a list of prioritized repairs for a handyman to perform in succession rather than over several visits.