How to Choose a Good Handyman

Finding and working with a good home improvement contractor is an essential part of home ownership. Contractors can help you quickly whittle down a long list of small home repair projects, and they can also perform major renovations that are too large to be handled on your own. Learning how to choose a good handyman is crucial. Without carefully choosing the right contractor, you may end up overpaying or receiving shoddy work quality. A good handyman will perform high-quality work at a reasonable fee, and will be respectful of you and your home.


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    Ask friends and family members for referrals. Perhaps the best way to locate a good handyman is by asking those close to you. Many of them who own homes will have already established a relationship with a contractor, and will be able to recommend them or advise you against them. This step will give you access to detailed, honest feedback about the contractor's performance.
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    Look for contractors online. To augment the recommendations made by friends and family, search for handymen online. Customer review websites like Yelp are helpful for assessing contractors, and specialized sites like Kudzu and Angie's List offer directories of service professionals like handymen. Checking the contractor's own website is helpful, but reading third-party feedback is a better way to assess the quality and value of the contractor's work.
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    Ensure that your contractor does not have any past or pending complaints. In the United States, you can check a small business using the Better Business Bureau's website. If any major complaints have been registered against the contractor, you will be able to read the details of those complaints. Check this site before calling a contractor to submit an estimate for your project.
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    Procure estimates from several different handymen. Once you've found several potential contractors through referrals or online research, get several of them to come to your home and bid on your project. This will allow you to meet them in person, determine whether or not they are punctual, and see how their pricing compares. The lowest bid is of course attractive, but you may be more inclined to work with the contractor who was timeliest and most considerate.
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    Ensure that your contractor is insured. Handymen are not typically required to be licensed, and bonding is not usually necessary on small home improvement jobs. However, you should make sure your handymen has insurance. Some form of general liability insurance is essential, as is worker's compensation insurance if the handymen employs other workers. These forms of insurance can protect you from liability if there is an accident on your property.
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    Make sure your handyman is willing to detail the project in a written contract. Even for a small job, you should request a contract if it is your first time dealing with the handyman. A contract will protect you if the contractor fails to perform the work as specified.


  • Based on the size of the project and your local jurisdiction, your project may require a building permit(s). Ensure that your contractor will secure the necessary permits before working.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access

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Categories: Home Improvements and Repairs