Handyman hiring checklist

Handyman hiring checklist

Although most handymen specialize in performing smaller repairs or improvements to their clients' homes, an investment in your home is an investment well worth researching and properly vetting.

Save yourself the headache of a botched hiring decision by employing these steps before telling a handyman they're hired:

1. Check references

Asking a handyman service for references is not enough, take the time to actually call them, and ask them to send you digital photos of the work done. If possible, take the time to view a handyman's in-progress or completed work.

2. Review consumer complaints

Read what other homeowners who have hired your potential handyman have said about his or her work on Angie's List. Good or bad, reviewing other consumers' critiques of a handyman's work performance is a solid indicator of how the company will handle future work, including yours.

3. Verify licensing

If your handyman's references pan out, ask to see a copy of his current license, if required in your area.

Someone who is licensed by the issuing board in your state or city is likely to know and follow the rules concerning building permits, electrical safety and other issues related to home work. If the license is expired or not available, cross this handyman off of your list.

4. Verify insurance

Ask your handyman for proof of insurance. The last thing you need is to be exposed to the potential risk of having an uninsured or under-insured handyman working in or around your home.

5. Get everything in writing

Ask your handyman for a written estimate, and examine it carefully and double check all of the details. Is the projected completion date what you agreed upon? Are the materials being used what you wanted? Are there warranties on the labor, product or supplies?

If these details are not included or are not what you agreed to, insist on a new estimate.

6. Payments

Unless you've been working with handyman for a long time and have developed a mutually trusting relationship, avoid paying any money upfront for your handiwork. If you have a project that requires a down payment for materials, tread with caution and pay only a small percentage upfront.

Also, don't use cash to pay for your home updates; using a credit card will protect you in the event that you have a dispute with your handyman.

7. Be wary of those who say they "do it all"

Have you heard the expression that you can know a lot about a little bit, or a little bit about a lot? The handyman who claims to be able to "do it all" may very well know a little bit about everything...but may not know a lot about anything.

Depending on the work that you need done, you may be better off looking for someone who specializes in whatever your needs are.

8. Get a description

Before any work is performed, ask your handyman to describe what he or she will be doing. A thorough explanation in layman's terms can nip any potential misunderstandings in the bud. If at any point you have questions, don't be afraid to ask.

At the end of the work, ask them again for a quick description of what was completed to be sure you understand.

If you're ready to start the hiring process and start marking needed repairs or improvements off your to-do list, check Angie's List for consumer reviews, ratings and business information on more than 1,900 New York City tri-state area handyman companies.

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