Do I need a handyman or contractor?

On Home-Dzine we regularly receive requests for advice on home maintenance, home repairs and home improvement, and whether it is better to hire a handyman or contractor. Here are some tips on who to call if you need jobs done around the home.






There are plenty of homeowners and home renters that need jobs done in and around the home. Even the most DIY savvy sometimes require assistance with some home maintenance, repair or improvement projects, especially if your time is limited and you don't want to go to the expense of investing in tools you don't already own.

If you don't stay on top of repairs you will find that these soon start to pile up, and delaying certain repairs could results in more damage and increased costs to sort out.

Handyman or Contractor? Both offer a variety of services and the major factor determining which one to call depends on the type of job that needs to be done.




Handyman Services

A reputable handyman offers a wide variety of services that can include everything from changing a tap washer to replacing a light fitting.

Hiring a home handyman who is capable of handling a variety of small jobs is just the thing for those who don't have any DIY savvy, or the time to do repairs and maintenance in and around the home. If you don't have a family member or close friend to call on for help, schedule a call out for a local home handyman to sort out smaller fix ups. Before you hire a handyman it is recommended that you check up on previous jobs done and whether or not clients were satisfied with the services provided. Checking references is also a good way for you to feel safe about letting someone into your home.

Since most home handymen have a standard call out fee and charge by the hour, try to schedule more than one project that can be done in a day, or compile a 'to do' list of maintenance tasks and repairs. With the exception of in-the-wall electrical and plumbing installations, where a Compliance Certificate is required, home handymen come in handy for general repairs and odd jobs.

It is important to avoid hiring a handyman without first checking references. Also be wary of any handymen that ask for payment up front. For larger jobs, ask for a written agreement that details the job, the cost, and the payment schedule, and make sure to get a written guarantee.



General Contractor

General contractors provide services for a variety of larger, specific tasks. From a homeowners point of view it makes more sense to employ a contractor for a specific job, such as a waterproofing specialist for roof leaks, finding the best security fence supplier, a building contractor for any masonry projects, or an electrician or plumber for home works.

Do your homework when hiring a contractor, especially considering you may be spending a lot of money on a project. It is in your interests to obtain at least three quotations and to check references for previous work done. Additionally, and as with a handyman, be wary of any contractors that ask for payment up front. While a deposit is acceptable (after checking references), payments should only be given at specific stages of a larger project, and by prior agreement.

Before hiring a contractor ask for full disclosure for any guarantees for the work done. You want to make sure you are covered for any damages / repairs that may occur once the contractor leaves the job site.