How Do I Find a Handyman & Hire The Right One?
Typically, a great starting point is by asking people you know for a reference. This might be family, friends, co-workers or maybe your local church. Let's say you found a few Handymen, what next? Start with a little research online, see what kind of reviews and photos of recent work they have. Narrow down the list of handymen, two or three good companies you feel comfortable working with. Now this part is important, get estimates from ALL of them. Ask how long they have been working in this field and what are their strongest skillsets. Do you offer a warranty on work? Not all handymen have the same strengths or even the ability to do some jobs. This will give you a good idea of pricing and quality, allowing you to choose the overall best handyman.
How Should I Prepare?
Having a list of jobs ready, will make you and your handyman more productive! Most important, if you want accurate quotes, be as specific as possible. If the contractor seems turned off by your attention to detail, you are probably dodging a lazy handyman. If you don’t understand something, just ask. When a handyman is passionate about what they do, they will give you more details than you care to know. A skilled handyman will be able to handle a vast variety of jobs. Most handymen can handle, leaky faucets, ceiling fan installations, light fixtures installations, TV wall mounting, drywall repairs, loose outlets, tile installation, flooring installation, caulking, door installations and many many more.
Make Sure They Are The Real Deal!
Many large handyman companies show up wearing polo dress shirts and have shoe covers they never take off when they go back and forth from the truck. As my father would say, "If your that clean, you must not have been working very hard!" Just because they are number one on the list and dress business professional, doesn’t mean their work skills will match. Do a little research, you will be glad you did later. Ask your handyman if he/she has any photos of their recent work. This may be easily accessible on their google business profile or handyman website. Ask your handyman if he/she has any references. This doesn’t mean you have to call them, but see at least if they are willing to supply them. If that is too much work for them, then what happens when the real work begins? Most quality handymen have a few close customers who will be more than happy to talk their person up. If their GOOD they have a following! The best handyman is rarely the cheapest. If the quote seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Ask The Right Questions!
Here are a few good questions to ask. How long have you been a handyman? How far out are you booked? How far do you live from the job site? (Long haul workers have a higher chance of quitting when closer work becomes available. If they are good why would they drive so far?) How long have you worked in this area? (Some companies will leave an area once they have ruined their reputation, especially if warranties are involved.) Do you carry liability Insurance? Do you require money up front? No professional handyman should ask for money up front. What is the best way to contact you? (Some contractors are quicker to respond to a text message when they get a second vs making calls at the end of the day.) Do all of your employees go through a background check? (Many websites only check the owner.) What is the timeframe to complete this job? This should be a good start to identify a reputable contractor.
If It's More Than One Days Work, Ask For it in Writing!
Many handymen hate this part of the job, BUT it’s important for everyone! This will make it clear, the expectations of both parties. If you don’t ask for it, many handymen won’t go out of their way to get it done. This alone doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad contractor. If they refuse all together after you ask, it’s usually best to keep looking. If its a large job and you're not familiar with the handyman, ITS A MUST! Is this a quote or an estimate? A quote is a set price, unless a major circumstance arises neither party could reasonably foresee. An estimate is much more open to revision, it’s an approximation of cost and time.
The idea of asking your contractor to give you a printed out background check sounds a little crazy, but wanting to know the information isn’t. Most sites like Google, Angi’s List, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, will tell you if your handyman passed a background check directly on their profile. This doesn’t mean their employees have also been screened and this is a more useful question to ask. (For the record, they do ask contractors to submit their employees for background checks, but many do not keep up with new paperwork or at all) If you can’t stomach the idea of asking, then focus on hiring a company with a good reputation. A handyman with good reviews and a verifiable background check, is much more likely to hire someone who holds the same standards and values.
Check The Work!
A good handyman won’t mind you checking out their work. The good ones actually enjoy it, they see the customer appreciates their hard work. If you see something wrong this is the time to address it. Let them know what your concerns are and ask how they plan to remedy it. Even the best handyman misses something every now and then or maybe there was a miscommunication. You don’t want to wait to voice a problem. A reputable handyman will appreciate the opportunity to fix the problem without an additional trip and interruption of their work schedule. Most of all, if you're happy with their work leave a review. For most contractors, it’s how they get their business and they will prioritize you over other customers in the future. When someone tells you “good job” it makes your hard work feel appreciated. Never underestimate the benefits of giving some praise when praise is due.