How do I hire a handyman?

Learn how to find a handyman who's right for your to-do list.
If you have numerous tasks around your home that don't require the services of a contractor or remodeler, a handyman could fill the bill.

Keep in mind that many in this profession aren't the cliched "jack of all trades and master of none." Most possess a level of expertise in fields ranging from carpentry and plumbing to electrical or appliance repair. However, you may encounter some seeking on-the-job training and eager to take on any task.

Pull these suggestions out of your tool box when looking for the right fit.

Make a list
  • Determine what tasks need to be done

  • Be specific

  • Decide if a bulk of items might be better served hiring a specialist like a electrician or plumber

Start your searchDecide on the right fit

Interview at least three candidates. As you narrow your choices, seek the person you not only can trust in your home, but also makes you comfortable both in competency and personality. Ask direct and specific questions. Here are some suggested questions to use when interviewing:
  • How many years have you been in the business?

  • What is your area of expertise?

  • What jobs are you least comfortable performing?

  • Do you possess any licenses or registrations? (Note: Check with your local building inspector or town hall if any are required.)

  • How do you price jobs? (Some price jobs by the hour and some by the task required. If advance payment is requested, keep looking.)

  • Do you have liability insurance? (Even on small jobs, big damage is possible.)

  • Do you have references? (Check them.)

  • May I see examples of your work? (View them.)

Check, check check
    If they provided references and work examples, review both. Also visit both the Better Business Bureau and your state's office of consumer affairs website for unresolved complaints.
Establish a bank of handymen
    Once you find the help you trust, add them to your emergency list. You never know when a leaky commode or a jammed garage door needs a quick look. Note whose expertise best fits your emergency.
In the end, you should have a handyman who can tell you all that is required for the job, what could go right and what could go wrong.

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