No one ever said being a homeowner was easy—whoa, stop stepping backwards, it’s not a nightmare either! It takes a responsible owner to make sure their property remains just as beautiful as the day they decided to plunge into owning their own house. You’d be the talk of the town if you thought for a second you could just tip-toe around your home without running into any home repairs.
Excuse me while I take a moment to chuckle. Things break. That’s life. I’ve had stuff break right in front of me and I swear all I did was cast a look. Everything needs maintenance and your house is no different. So when the “Repair Reaper” comes knocking on your leaky pipe, swinging gutter or cracked countertop, knowing who to call is very important. We will save the call to Ghostbusters for now until we know it’s not paranormal (wink).
There is no way to really narrow down the list of traits and skills that a real handyman has. This is because he comes in very “handy” on several different types of jobs. You can consider a handyman a jack of all trades, someone who is well-versed on the ins and outs of repair-related tasks and other odd jobs. These tasks can range from fixing a broken window, changing locks, and painting. Even some minor carpentry work can be accomplished by hiring the right handyman.
Unfortunately, there are scammers in every industry who set out to inflict financial harm on others and swindle them out of their hard-earned cash. Luckily, there are a number of reputable forums and sources like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor.com to that you can consult when you’re looking for an individual handyman to contract with. There are also local and national service companies like HouseDoctors.com and HandymanConnection.com for those who prefer a company or agency to handle their affairs.
Either way, there are a few key factors to keep in mind while looking for a qualified handyman. Consider the following before making your final decision:
Certifications: It’s pretty simple to build a profile, expand services and come off as an expert in nearly any field, but what truly separates the experts from the average person are certifications. Is your selected handyman registered and certified with the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals? Certifications act like a degree or statement that attests to the level of knowledge the handyman has obtained. Do they really know how to relay your hardwood or should you be talking with a larger company? Due diligence can save time and if everything checks out, it can also save a little money. Handyman services typically fall well below that of actual businesses that repair, replace, and refinish.
Contracts: This is one of the hardest lessons to learn if you have ever had to learn it. Never, absolutely never commit to having work done without a written agreement or contract. This ensures an agreed rate, expected time, contact information and other data that can come in hand. Contracts offer a level of protection between you and the handyman and can provide peace of mind if it’s the first time you are working together.
Free Quotes: With advancements in technology, administration, and all of the other industries, simple jobs can be estimated within a reasonable range without much extra work or cost for the contractor. It makes sense that the estimates are complimentary services. As a good neighbor of mine once said, “If the quote isn’t free, it isn’t me!” Keep that in mind when searching around. Quotes should be free.
Receipts: It’s best to find out during the early stages whether or not they issue receipts for their work. This is helpful in keeping track of project costs, and it’s necessary for verification during tax season for tax deductions on work performed on investment properties or home offices.
Communication: It’s a communication driven world and if your chosen handyman has communication issues, then they probably are not right for you. Be sure that your person can articulately provide an explanation of the work they will be doing along with a predicted timeline of completion.
Insurance: Do you feel like paying medical bills for someone who was injured on your property? Make sure your handyman has proper insurance coverage that will cover them in the event they are injured during the project.
Integrity: Integrity is perhaps one of the finest attributes found in a person. How honest is your handyman? If it’s a job they haven’t completed before or do not know much about, respecting their decision to inform you of their experience is an admirable quality and lets you know when it’s time to go with someone else. While honesty is cherished, you wouldn’t want a starter building an addition on your primary home with someone who couldn’t complete the job, would you?
There are endless resource sites available online to thumb through. Telephone books (if you still have one) are riddled with lists of crafty handymen looking for work, too.
In order to make sure you are not being taken advantage of, it is best to do your own checks. Ask about past projects and potential references that you can call. If a handyman completed a porch for Mrs. Smith three houses down, give her a call and ask what she thought about his work. To settle without doing your due diligence is to give up without trying. Do not just let anyone help you with your home repairs. Be smart and do your homework!