You will need a helping hand most of the time to get work done effectively and in good time. So the assumption is that at least you’ve heard or come across a handyman who came to your home to fix things that most probably you had no idea how to go about yourself. Good thing about hiring handy men is that you get to spend almost half the time and money than you would have spent had you hired a contractor.
Handymen career has been in existence for decades and has evolved drastically with new technological advancements and innovation offering more skill based services. Initially, professionalism was not so important and thus even little qualification was relevant. But with advances in technology, qualification and experience is mandatory as more advanced tools and equipment are involved. In addition, handyman skills are deepening as they handle more tasks.
Due to wear and tear, handyman services are needed more often. New pricing systems keep on emerging and little changes and upgrades consequently are seen on materials.
Here is a detail of some of the services rendered by them.
Tile Installation and Repair
In case you need your old floor repaired or your broken tiles replaced, kindly look for pro handymen. They install a variety of tiles from ceramic to stone to porcelain to glass tiles.
Insulation is an important part of the remodeling your home. So if you are looking to make your home energy effective, be sure to look for appropriate attic insulation. An experienced handyman will be keen to ensure your home is energy efficient while repairing your home.
Bathroom Repairs and Maintenance
A bathroom is a very sensitive feature in any home and one of the most frequently used. Daily usage exposes the bathroom to more damages that should be urgently taken care of. Handyman is important for repairs requiring urgency. Repairs may include shower tile, laying ceramic floors of even fixing the shower. The bathroom should be maintained on a regular basis.
Deck or Porch Finishing, Repair and Maintenance
It is the dream of every American to enjoy their summer evenings relaxing in their daybreak sipping a glass of their favorite raspberry juice. A handyman can guarantee you the most unforgettable summer by sealing, painting, fixing and cleaning your deck, creating an serene environment, just fit for your summer twilight.
Dry Wall Services
Dry wall services ranges from hole sealing repairing tear and wear and cracks. Reach out to pro handymen in case of problems related to this.
Window Installation and Repair
Window is a very essential home peculiarity. With time the window wear out and you may be required to replace it. It could be a crack that needs a full replacement or just an old window. Due to a wide variety of window types available, it is important to discuss the frame type you need to install and the nature of complexity that might accompany this installation.
A handyman will handle your entire problem regarding the window giving you a home who’s worth stand.
Outdoor Home Installation
Professional handyman services help with various outdoor home installations and repairs that you might have enough time to do. They include:
Handyman Cost Factors
How much you pay for the services offered by a handyman will be influence by several factors:
1. Skills and qualifications
Experience can be an asset. A more experienced handyman stands a chance to earn more than a less experienced one. Experienced handymen tend to take the shortage time possible to do their work hence they charge more for the same job as compared to less experienced one. Generally speaking, an experienced man could do the job faster than a less experienced one. However, consider that some jobs may take the shortest time to complete and involve fewer complications.
2. Size of the job
The larger the size of work done the more the time it will take to accomplish and the more expensive it will cost. Usually, an experienced handyman can estimate the amount of time he will need to complete the work even before they begin. For some jobs, a handyman will charge a flat rate. It is important that you give a detailed explanation to your handyman upfront to set the price for the work.
Replacing light switches, replacing a thermostat or a leaky faucet are somewhat simpler jobs. A job requiring the use of basic equipment and take approximately one to two hours is generally regarded as simple jobs. For instance, fixing a water tap in the kitchen is a simple job because the parts are available and just requires installation.
Medium jobs are taking relatively more time and need more expertise. Replacing drywall requires spackle, a putty knife and attaching support materials in case the damage is larger enough. They require more time than small jobs usually two to four hours.
They are usually complex in nature and take more time to complete. This is a case where you might be forced to consider whether to hire a handyman or a contractor. They involve more complex tools. Include work like installation of water sink and installation of heating, cooling registers or installation of gates on stairways to protect kids and pets. They take between four days to days to fix the job depending on complexity.
- Small Jobs: 1-2 hours, $70-$200 average
- Medium Jobs: 2-4 hours, $200-$350 average
- Large Jobs: 4+ hours, $350 on up.
Note that in case the project is bigger requiring the use of heavy equipment like bobcats, and cost more than $500, you may need to consider hiring a contractor instead.
3. Hourly rate for a handyman
On average, the hourly pricing range for a handyman is $60 to $68. Although some services offered by professional handymen could cost up to as high as $126, the gain from the services is an affirmation that the work accomplished is of quality. The national average price rage is $77.
4. Complexity nature of the job
Jobs that are more involving often take much time so is their price per labor hours. A reputable handyman should be honest with you about tasks they cannot handle. Such cases will require you to hire a contractor. Small jobs are generally easier but some jobs, though bigger, are simpler to handle. Take for example replacing a flash toilet requires a lot of heavy lifting, plumbing and cleanup but it’s not particularly complex. Figuring out the complexity of the job you need done might be quite challenging especially when you have very little knowledge about it hence the need to always ask the handyman the nature of the problem.
5. Pricing strategy by handyman
Generally, handymen charge basing on the hours worked. On rare occasions, they may charge a flat rate. Additional charges may be involved especially when the task involved travelling time or price shopping. When approximating the estimates, you want to make sure you are aware about their pricing ahead of time.
Cost Break Down
Common Handyman Job Lengths & Prices
Here are examples of some of the most common services offered by handymen and the duration the take;
- Changing a thermostat, suspending heavy picture on the wall, mending leaking water pipes, exchanging a torn screen – 1-2 hours
- Drywall repair (smaller sections, not the whole room), mount shelves – 2-3 hours
- Repairing a window, replacing a new door (includes shims, sanding, framework adjustments), repairing rotten wood – 3-4 hours
- Repair a cracked wall, installing room heater and air conditioner, install carpet (small room) – 4+ hours
Some services are a little bit more complex and repairing on basis of labour hours would make the cost prohibitive.
Therefore, many handymen charge more involving jobs by the size of the job. Here is a list of some services and their prices.
|Hall light installation:||$63
|Change toilet valve:||$78
|Bathroom faucet installation:||$95
|Installing a ceiling fan (normal height):||$100
|Installing a ceiling fan (on the second floor):||$250
|Install garbage dumping:||$150
|Install flash toilet:||$150
|Install kitchen sink:||$250-$300
A handyman may be prohibited by the law to handle some kind pf jobs even if his skills and expertise are not in question. For this reason, some handymen have acquired licenses as contractors, which enables them access a variety of opportunities when bidding for jobs. Also, they may be hired to work alongside contractors especially for bigger projects that require very limited time.
However, since some bigger projects are usually very complex, it is of essence that you answer the following question before deciding whether your project needs a handyman or a contractor:
- Can the problem be fixed by me if I have time?
- Had I the knowledge and skills, could I fix the problem?
- Will it cost more than $500?
- How many people do I need to complete the work?
If you answer is YES, then you project needs a handyman. A reputable handyman should be honest with you whether you need a contractor or if he can handle the work.
How to Keep your Costs Down
Some costs can be avoided especially because they are nor necessary. It is understandable that some costs are unavoidable, so do your best to remove as much expense as you possibly can.. the following tips can help you cut on costs when hiring a handyman;
Clear furniture and other junks.
If you are paying on hourly basis, clearing furniture and other obstacles would help reduce cost you’d otherwise incur in case the handyman clears the room himself. This works well especially with larger projects. It’s important to unplug electrical appliances and clearing the room whenever you want to replace a new carpet. Also make sure to clear the path in case you need to move in big equipment like a washing machine or a fridge.
In case you have multiple smaller projects, combine them if possible.
Small project such as replacing a door hinge, replacing an electric bulb or hanging a picture on the wall can be combined and done by a handyman within a single day.
Give the new handyman an opportunity.
You always want to work with a guy who has been in the business for long. But sometimes you might want to consider working with the newest handyman in town especially when you are operating on a smaller budget and no other handyman is willing to discount their services except for the new guy.
Some agencies offer their services at a discount for the disabled or the elderly. You might want to consider this offer in case you fall within these segments.
Always let the handy man know that you are on a hard budget. You never know he might be willing to offer his services for whatever you can afford.
Important Things to Know before Hiring a Handyman
Just to clarify, not all handymen are glaziers, plumbers or mechanics. In fact, some just confine themselves to yard work, general outdoor maintenance and mowing grass instead of indoor home maintenance. Despite the prevailing circumstances, finding a handyman shouldn’t be a challenge because their abilities and skills are traceable everywhere around you.
But then, how do you prepare a handyman to come take care of your need? It for sure takes persistent effort on your part to accomplish this.
Here is a list of things you need to know before hiring a handyman:
1. Make a list of work you need done
The most important thing you need to do is to take your time to make a list of the tasks you need a handyman to fulfill before you can think of contacting one.be exact with what your expectations for the task are so that the handyman can figure out whether or not your requests are within his abilities. You don’t want to throw surprises midway through the job.
2. Search local resources to find potential candidates for the work
Make an effort to check with your local daily newspaper, or bulletin boards at in your favorite grocery shops for possible candidates to offer the contract to. A well-known professional handyman is always enthusiastic about work and would not relent making his business known to the public. They will make an effort to distribute flyers and posters to as many people as possible, so just check with the Better Business Bureau, Your State Consumer Protection and the yellow pages for their work history. You may also need to consider checking the reviews and complaint from web search using company or individual’s name and get to explore a variety of potential contractors.
3. Get referrals from the people around you
Nothing will give you an ample time than a recommendation from a friend or a neighbor that a certain handyman was fast, provided quality work and totally met the expectation set. Word of mouth is a significant channel that help market a competent handyman therefore you won’t miss at least three recommendations from the locals concerning one worth hiring.
4. Ensure your handyman is licensed, bonded and insured
The risks associated with the nature and work of a handyman cannot be ignored. Note that you will be fully liable for any injuries sustained by a handyman while working within your premises unless they are insured. You do not want any additional costs. Thus only consider hiring one with their own liability insurance for this reason and also in case they cause any damages to your property.
5. Request for estimates on cost for both the labor and material ahead of time
Most contractors prefer to provide rough estimate of the cost of the work to a fixed price. Often this is meant to cut on time that would otherwise be used to compute the estimates and dispute the contractor in case the price escalated during completion of the task.
Normally, estimates are fit during the initial stages while collecting data for the task expected to be accomplished. Usually, an estimate should be within a range of 1 to 10% of the actual cost. Low ball offers can be pretty insulting to the seller thus it’s a necessity that you make it crystal clear that the estimate should be strictly within the 10% estimate. Making a handyman aware upfront that there will be no additional payments beyond a specified limit leaves the handyman with two options: to either take the job or turn it down. However, note that if a detailed estimation necessitates that they do price shopping, then be prepared to pay a fairly hourly wage for this.
Note that when there are too many unknown factors affecting the job, contractors may be obligated to refrain from mentioning the firm price.
6. Make sure you are okay with their pricing
Is an hourly payment what they want or do they prefer being paid by the amount of work done or upon completion of the job? This requires to be agreed before any orders are made for supplies.
7. What is the timeline for the project?
One of the most annoying things about home improvement tasks is the noise levels, and each home owner will be eager to know the timeline. When is the work expected to start? What duration will it take? When is the most likely deadline? These dates should be determined before the work starts. Always ensure the handyman sticks to the schedule once the work has begun. Put into consideration that some kind of handymen has a tendency to sideline your job in case a better offer pops up somewhere down the road.
8. Get a written contract
Honestly speaking, it’s hard to breach a written contract than it is for an oral contract. Expectations are clearly defined, and in case the handyman fails to honor his bargain, it will serve as a proof in the court of law. Thus with a written contract, be sure to evade cases of confusion, miscommunications or forgotten details.
9. Make sure to receive a warranty for their services
A reputable handyman should account for their work. The nature of work done determines the warranties. A written warranty by the handyman promising to take care of quality of the work done or matters that concern failure after work done for a specific time protects you especially when the law is involved.
10. Will a foreman be present on sight?
Regardless of the task, contractors are often not available at the site. Instead, they out outsourcing for more opportunities or working on new bids. So, find out if there will be a foreman and thoroughly review the foreman’s history of work in that field.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed by A Handyman
The word contractor is in so many occasions synonymous with scam. Actually, the problem is that people have very little knowledge when it comes to finding out a reliable and legitimate contractor. For this reason.it is becoming increasingly easier for scammers to impersonate a business, create a website, create fake accounts on social networks and fabricate fake referrals. A large number of consumers have been victimized by scammers.
Most contractors are competent, hardworking and enjoy what they do. However, just like in any profession, it takes just one bad contractor to ruin the reputation of all. Bad handymen often do not stick around till the job is done. They because they are unwilling to spend their time and money to accomplish the project assigned.
So how would you know whether the person you welcome to your home to repair your broken window or mow grass is not a real deal?
Here are important tips to consider avoiding being ripped off:
1. Beforehand payment
It is understandable for a contractor to request for some payment in advance. Such payment is a simple assurance that the home owner is genuine about proceeding with the project. Nevertheless, the amount should be almost a tenth of the total price. Otherwise, the rest of the amount should be payable as per the agreed job milestone. Therefore, watch out for contractors who demands a higher price before the job kicks off. This is a red flag that they might vanish after the payment is made.
2. Lower prices by non-licensed contractors
A licensed contractor saves you the burden of incurring other cost in case of an injury or damage to property. So, you should end any deal with a contractor selling their services for cheaper prices to cover up for their lack of license. Remember your home insurance may not cover any damages to your house or unaccomplished work done by contractor without proper documentation.so is the no license price break worth it?
3. Not part of my price
Ensure work done by any contractor in your home is barked up with a written contract and a copy of the scope of work. The amount of work to be completed and their associated prices are defined in the scope of work. So, this protects you from getting counterfeit materials and substandard work. If you stress on a written scope of work, you may discover that the lower price you were offered is way less than the estimated price. This is a sign that you are about to get ripped off. Please take off immediately.
4. The extras game
It is unusual for a project to go from the beginning to the end without the customer requesting for some alterations. The alteration may be as simple as changing the color of the wall. The challenge is that some alterations may result to more work and cost on the materials. You should make sure to detail in the written contract how this shall be dealt with. In fact the contractor should notify the home owner of any additional cost due to these changes upfront before the project kicks off. So in case you agreed on a price of say about $1500 and the contractor presents you with $3000, which implies a $1550 worth of extras you are being scammed. Reject the deal.
5. Check out for shabby equipment
First impressions are very important when carrying out any business transactions. Poor personal appearance, poorly maintained vehicle and shoddy equipment are indicators of ghost companies in most cases. You expect that a good construction company will have well maintained vehicles, improved tools, and a pair of uniforms but this is not always the case. However, how organized a contractor will present himself will give an impression of a company capable of taking care of your home or not.
6. The low ball offer
Another red flag is when a contractor offers you a special low price but you must keep it a secret, kindly proceed to the next potential contractor. Cases where the secret price is dramatically lower than it should is an indicator of a handyman whose plan is to leave part of the work unaccomplished. Also, be on the lookout for contractors whose prices are abnormally higher than the normal. Request to keep your mouth shut in such scenarios is a clear indication of a contractor who has blindfolded you from comparing prices with other contractors. You are advised not to sign this deal.
Look out for contractor who bid the job without cross examining it. For instance, if a contractor just at a glance suggests “of course we did a similar job earlier and will charge you the same for this” or ignores measurements or calculation of work to be done an materials to be used, be aware you may be dealing with a handyman who most probably isn’t experienced enough to perform the task assigned.
7. Offers limited time
When a contractor nags you to sign a contract as soon as it is presented and presents a check immediately, reject the offer and source another contractor. You are entitled to have enough time to go through the contract before you can sign it. After all, it is you home.
8. No physical location/office
You should question any contractor who has no physical office but only a cell phone and a box address. In fact just for assurance, check for his record with your State Licensing Bureau. Are there any complaints filed against him previously? A contractor should at least own an office, even if it is a little room somewhere in his house and with some references at a local bank and a record with the suppliers.
9. Second rate materials
Watch out for contractors offering a discount for materials they declare the already possess. If you take a look closely, such materials are normally second hand, not branded or counterfeit. Also, note that small contractors seldom purchase large quantities of goods to yield such significant discount, and it’s too unpopular for contractors to carry large inventories. If they do, it is a sign they miscalculated quantities in the prior project. And this is a failure in their estimating skills.
The most important thing is to always remember to proof read your written contract and ensures to have an attorney read through it as well.
10 Crucial Questions to ask a Contractor before Hiring Them
Interviewing your prospective contractor is an excellent way of ascertaining the degree of their work.
TIP: listen to their responses attentively then judge. Trouble answering now mean trouble communicating during the project.
1. Would you please itemize you bid?
A vast majority of contractor would rather offer you the final total price for your project which blindfolds you about what their actual prices are. An itemized bid on the other hand shows the cost for each and every item of the job making it easier to compare prices across different contractors. It’s also easier to chop off some cost to be incurred. It’s a credential worth detailing the specs of your work and a solid proof in case of a dispute.
2. Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?
Estimated bills are riskier as your bill may end up skyrocketing in the end. Always demand a fixed price bid. In case the contractor tries to escape fixed price claiming there are too many unspecified, try as your level best to do away with the unspecified. If impossible, then ensure the project scope of work describe what he is expected to do. In case additional work emerges then consider a mini-bid for the additional work. You will save a lot.
3. How long have you been working in this town?
You will agree with me than a contractor who has been doing business locally for over 5 years has a renowned connection with subcontractors, distributers and suppliers in that vicinity. He does have a reputation to preserve. Thus, that makes them an ideal candidate for hire than one who is new in business and your locality
Ensure to request for:
- Their business card with physical office addresses location.
- References from their customers the previously worked for.
4. Do you work with a foreman? Can you take me to a project he is currently working on?
Most contractors barely spend their time in project sites. They are always on the move seeking new opportunities and accepting new bids. Thus a foreman is an important player in any project. Insist on meeting the foreman in person and thoroughly review his current work. Asking this question is a sure bet that your project will automatically be assigned the best team. If the contractor announces he will be running the project himself, do insist that he be available every day at the site.
5. Who are you main suppliers?
Contractors have a strong connection with their suppliers. The suppliers are a well-founded source of information concerning their work. You could talk to proprietor of timber yards, furniture showrooms or tile yard. Ask about their character, whether their customers filed complaints concerning their services and how safe it would be for you in case you choose to hire them. A contractor should not have any reservations about where they obtain their materials from.
6. What about the timeframe?
Ask the contractor about the amount of time the project will take. Trust me no one wants worker sticking around for long. No one want to put up with the noise either. So make sure to inquire whether there are some unseen challenges that may cause misunderstandings in the event of the project dragging the whole project far past the deadline. Any concerns about the payment should not only be addressed with regard to the agreed price but also when they will be payable. Whether on the basis of time or whatever job milestone that will be set.
7. Has the company been previously in operation under different names?
Companies that have a history of changing their names should raise your concern about their inspiration and success. Single or multiple changing of names is, to some degree a sign, that a company has previously been involved in some unethical behavior and is doing this to cover up for their mistake and shame. It is however not always a red flag because some business strategies adopted might have driven the name change. Kindly do your homework thoroughly before you can judge.
8. Are you a member of any professional organization?
Professional organization may be nationwide, region wide or particular to the contractor’s area of expertise. This is an added advantage as most of these organizations offer extra training on top of what the contractor already has. It also offers research resources as well as an opportunity to network. Expect more skills and experience from such a contractor in most cases.
9. Have you been involved in any legal dispute contracts?
If a contractor has been previously accused for substandard job, breach of contract or perhaps for using counterfeit materials, you for sure want to be aware of this. Even though these details may not be a deal breaker, a lying contractor should be a reason enough for you to pull out. The world, just like humans, isn’t a perfect place. So you expect nothing but honesty from your prospective contractor. Check with Better Business Bureau to find out more.
10. Will you provide daily report on work progress?
This works well for home owners who are interested in the progress of their job. They want to be present through each and every step of the work in progress. In most cases, if a contractor is unable to provide daily reports, most probably he barely visits the site and for this reason, knows very little about the work on ground to be able to report to you.
Other questions you might consider asking include:
- How and what will they be examining in your house?
Some sections of the house like the roof need to be examined fast before the construction or repair is done.
- Will they ensure they leave the sight clean upon completion of the task?
Good contractors should leave the sites clean so as to ensure both safety and beauty is restored.
- Are they going to adhere to recommendations of the manufacturers?
Remember your home is a lifetime investment. Make sure the contractor you hire follows the recommendation the manufacturers provided in the manuals.
- Do they have samples of their previous work?
Pictures of previous work done are a perfect way of showing off what a contractor can do.
- Would you accept to write add a terminating clause to the written contract?
- What communication channel works best for you?
- Where will you keep your tools and equipment during the project period?
- How will you protect my property from any further damages?
- Are you comfortable providing information about you previous clients?