Most homeowners can do a lot to maintain their home, but sometimes it makes better sense to call in a pro. He’ll have the tools and knowledge to get the job done faster than going the DIY route.
But what if you don’t want (or don’t have) the budget to hire a professional plumber, electrician or other specialist? When it comes to maintenance issues, you could hire a contractor, but a handyman can accomplish the task faster and for less money.
It is important to note that not all handymen are the same; some handle only outdoor repairs, such as mowing the lawn, brush clearing and basic yard work, while others are much more versatile.
The regulations surrounding what a handyman does are not as stringent as those regulating plumbers or electricians, so it may require you to dig a little bit deeper to find a reliable handyman to help with your home maintenance projects.
Following are 9 tips to help you find a good handyman for your next home maintenance job.:
1. Make a list of what you need to have done
Before calling the first handyman you can find, create a list of what you need done around the house. This will be helpful when you begin searching for a handyman. They’ll know, up front, whether they can handle the job. If they can’t, keep in mind that they most likely have a list of contacts who can do it for you.
2. Look around your area
A small daily newspaper, a bulletin board at the supermarket or laundromat, the Better Business Bureau, the Yellow Pages, and, of course, a search engine are all good places to find handymen near you.
3. Check if the handyman is insured, bonded and licensed
If someone gets injured on your property, and they don’t have liability coverage, you could be held liable for their injuries.
4. Get local references
Get recommendations from your neighbors and others in your community. You should be able to get at least three good references from a handyman who has been in business for some time.
5. Be aware of their pricing strategy
Some handymen charge hourly rates while others charge a project rate, so be aware of the method of compensation that the handyman you hire uses.
6. Get an estimate of material and labor costs
You should expect a handyman’s estimate to come within 10% of the ultimate cost when hiring them to do maintenance.
Using this approach prevents people from “low-balling” you in an effort to get hired and then sticking you with a much higher bill. If they need to check prices in order to provide you with a detailed estimate, then you should expect to pay for this.
7. Make a schedule ahead of time.
Set a date for when the work will begin and when it will be completed. Some handymen may “cherry pick” their assignments, preferring to focus on the more lucrative ones while ignoring the ones that aren’t.
To keep this from happening, hold the handyman accountable for the agreement you’ve made with them.
8. Get a written contract
In any business relationship, written contracts are essential; hiring a handyman is no exception. There will be no confusion or misinterpretation if the conditions and agreements are written down…and the specifics will not be forgotten.
Also, if you have to take your handyman to court, you’ll have the documentation to show that he didn’t do his job, making it easier for your attorney and the judge to assist you to reclaim what you’ve lost.
9. Ask for a guarantee
Last but not least, request a guarantee.
Most reputable handymen will gladly provide a guarantee for their services. Try to have them include it in writing that they will guarantee to take care of any product or workmanship issues free of charge within a certain time frame, since this will support your case if legislation is ever required.