Need an Extra Hand? Here’s How to Hire a Handyman

by Team HomeServe
close up of contractor s tool belt

A handyman is your go-to person for home repairs and maintenance. Big construction jobs are better left to contractors, but a handyman can paint, assemble furniture, clean your gutters and more. Their services can be useful to many homeowners — whether you consider yourself pretty handy or you don’t know a hammer from a wrench.

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Need some odd jobs completed? Here’s how to hire a handyman.

What Does a Handyman Do?

Handyman services are useful for day-to-day home improvements and maintenance. If there's a job that needs to be done around the house and you're not sure how to do it, calling in a handyman is highly recommended. They have the tools and expertise to do basic jobs quickly.

Tasks such as fixing a leaking faucet, unplugging a blocked drain or installing shelving can be DIY projects. Depending on your experience level, these can be difficult or lengthy tasks to do on your own. Hiring a handyman can save you time and money.

What’s the Difference Between a Handyman and a Contractor?

A handyman and a contractor are similar, but a handyman is a generalist rather than a specialist. They tend to do simpler tasks such as:

  • Repairing or sealing doors and windows
  • Tiling and grouting
  • Basic brickwork
  • Furniture assembly
  • Painting or staining
  • Minor drywall repair
  • Fixing fences
  • Basic electrical work
  • Hanging curtains or blinds
  • Fixing leaking faucets
  • Gutter cleaning and repair

Meanwhile, contractors do more complex work. Jobs that involve gas, electricity or water should be performed by someone with appropriate qualifications. Anything beyond working with fixtures and fittings in the bathroom is most likely a job for a plumber. If you need extensive electrical work, call an electrician.

In some states, certain electrical, plumbing and HVAC jobs can only be completed by someone with a specific license, so the decision of whether to hire a handyman or contractor may already be made for you. Licensing restrictions exist to protect homeowners from the risks associated with plumbing, electrical or gas-fitting projects.

Other states make the distinction between handyman and contractor work in terms of cost. The dollar amount varies by jurisdiction.

Many handymen have insurance coverage in the form of a property damage liability policy. This protects clients in the event of accidental property damage. Contractors also have insurance to cover the work carried out as part of their trade.

How to Find and Hire a Local Handyman

A quick search for "handyman near me" is likely to yield an extensive list of results. The challenge is selecting the best person or company for the job. These are some questions to ask when you’re hiring a handyman:

  • Do they have the skills and tools needed to complete the job?
  • Do they guarantee their work or provide a warranty?
  • What insurance do they have?
  • Are they available for urgent jobs?
  • Can you receive a discount if you supply the materials for the work?

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Tips for Hiring a Handyman

When asking a handyman for a quote, communicate your requirements clearly. Give them an indication of your desired completion date and what exactly you would like them to do. Get any quotes or estimates in writing.

If you are asking a handyman to make significant changes to your home or any outbuildings, confirm that the changes you are requesting meet local code requirements before you commission the work. Your handyman may be able to offer advice on this.

After hiring new handyman, give them smaller jobs first — like fixing a leaky faucet or unclogging a drain. If you’re happy with their work, communication style and pricing, you can ask them back for larger jobs.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you the peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.