Handy Insight

When to Hire a Contractor Versus a Handy Person

Homeowners often struggle to decide between hiring a contractor or handyperson for their repair or renovation needs. In truth, the right pro depends on the scope and complexity of your project. Handypersons (sometimes known as handyworkers or handymen) typically specialize in general projects at low costs, offering their expertise across multiple trades but often lacking licenses and specialized knowledge. 1. Small Repairs If you need a small repair done quickly or need help getting through an overwhelming to-do list of smaller tasks, a handyperson could be just what's needed. They specialize in painting projects, fixing wall imperfections and installation tasks such as hanging television mounts. However, be sure to contact your local government and determine whether any of these tasks require permits. If so, hiring a general contractor instead of a handyman may be best as they have experience managing and supervising individual subcontractors when required and also offer coverage insurance that protects construction projects. 2. Small Remodels Rather than attempt a small home remodel on your own, if it falls outside your expertise it would be prudent to hire a contractor. Handy people don't usually possess licenses in specific trades such as electrical work or plumbing and will most likely be uninsured in case any damages occur during work performed on your home. Always request proof of insurance from any professional you hire when performing work at your residence and make sure all contracts and payment plans are clearly laid out - more information helps everyone involved! 4. Additions An addition refers to any change made to something, from adding on an extra room in a home to expanding carport or simply expanding on one's collection of items. Addition is an enormous undertaking that needs careful thought. Before embarking on this venture, make sure you can afford and maintain the additional space over time. Check current interest rates as well as determine whether now is an opportune time to take out a major loan; generally a contractor should be considered the ideal person for such work. 5. Plumbing Plumbing encompasses any and all work undertaken to provide water and sewage systems to buildings while assuring sanitation, including installing toilets, showers, sinks and food disposal units. Plumbing has become an indispensable aspect of modern life by providing safe drinking, bathing and cooking water sources for millions. Plumbers typically undergo training through an apprenticeship program and receive state licenses, typically working independently or being hired by contractors to provide plumbing services as part of a larger construction project. An experienced plumber should have both liability and workers' compensation coverage. You should obtain proof of such policies prior to making a hiring decision. 6. Electrical Contractors require both physical and mental endurance; in addition to strong attention-to-detail. Furthermore, they should possess communication skills which enable them to explain technical issues to others easily and in plain English. Check whether your project requires a permit and, if so, find a contractor with a valid license in its specialty area. Contractors also can help create a realistic budget, according to Corr. "Building your dream home shouldn't mean going over budget," he notes, so an experienced contractor will assist in keeping you on track during every step of the process.

Appreciation Spotlight


The articles provided on HandyPerson.com were useful, timely, and informative. I learned a lot of information that helped have more informed conversations with contractors -- all for free. Thanks, HP!

Alison K., Phoenix, AZ