Angie's List: When you don't need a licensed pro, a handyman can get the job done

Save time and money - let handyman handle odd jobs

TAMPA - All of us have lists of projects around the house that either we don't have time to get to or we aren't sure how to fix. homeowner Kris Wu has a "honey-do" list a mile long and uses a handyman regularly to take care of routine maintenance and odds-and-end projects around the house. "His number is in my cell phone," she laughs. "Our handyman's been very helpful and done a lot of work around our house. He's done everything from staining decks to hanging picture frames, electrical work, building a shelf in my son's bedroom, tiling floors..."

The list, it would seem, is endless. But Angie's List founder Angie Hicks has this reminder. "When you hire a handyman you want to be sure to check their credentials. For example, plumbing and electrical are typically required to have a license. So if you are having those trades done you want to be sure you check that. Also, make sure your handyman is experienced in the work you want to do because you do not want to be the guinea pig for a new kind of project for them."

A handyman, or handywoman, can offer a one-stop-shop for many home repair services. Most handyman companies offer a wide range of services. Some focus on smaller home improvement projects such as weather stripping, faucet installation and drywall repair while others can do both small and large jobs. For homeowners with a long to-do list of minor repairs that don't require a trade license, handymen can eliminate the need for multiple service providers – thus saving you time and money.

"We are seeing a lot more of our customers, probably like 80 percent of them, are making improvements to the home versus packing up and moving to a new home," said handyman Dan Higgins. "When we meet with the customer, we take a look at they want to have done then we develop our own list of materials. We go to the stores and buy all that and bring it to the job. They (homeowners) don't need any tools. They don't need any supplies. We take care of all of that."

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a Handyman

  • Are you licensed? Every handyman has a different set of skills and areas of expertise. Licensing requirements for handymen vary by state and municipality, so homeowners should verify with their local licensing board that a handyman can do their specific job. The majority of states require an electrician or plumber's license to perform most work in those trades. Many times, handyman licensing depends on the job's cost or scope.
  • Make a list of what you need done: Have a list on hand when you call to make an appointment and go through your list with the handyman. Most professionals are going to tell you up front if it's a job outside their area of expertise. And, in the case of some of the larger handyman shops, knowing what jobs you need done, often determines which employee they send to your house.
  • What's the price? Know what's included in the cost – do you have to supply materials. Ask if the company charges a flat rate or by the hour, or a trip fee
  • Prep your home: Anything you can organize or purchase ahead of time may save you time and money. For example, if there's an issue with your sink, remove all the items from underneath it.
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