Talk to any homeowner and chances are they have a few projects around the house that need the services of a handyman. The projects are usually small, replacing a light fixture here and replacing an aging or outdated faucet there. You can’t really do it yourself, because you don’t have the tools and you rather not have to touch the main shut off for your water. You certainly have no interest in turning off the breakers or taking a chance of electrocuting yourself. You have a couple of projects and you think someone who knows what they are doing could probably complete the projects in a few hours. Hiring a handyman seems like a logical way to get these projects completed.
There are a few large companies that you could call to get the jobs done but you prefer to give your business to the locally owned small operator. Good for you! Now that you’re committed to hiring locally there are 4 tips to finding a handyman that will be perfect for your project needs.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a handyman in your area. Customer referrals build a lot of good, local businesses and finding a business that specializes in handyman services is one of them. Ask your neighbors who they recommend and what projects they needed a handyman for. Make sure you ask enough questions and you will have a good idea what you need to ask and what to expect when you call to interview them for your projects.
The internet is a great place to find local home repair and maintenance professionals. The word “handyman” is a search term that is used by most of the bigger national brand businesses. You may have better results when you search for local businesses using search terms other than “handyman.” If you are committed to working with someone smaller and locally owned and operated try thinking outside the box. Smaller local businesses usually won’t be on the first page of your search. Try local home repair and your city name. Then skip the big brand names and look for the local, independent businesses. Check out their websites and read their “About Us” page. You can get a good idea of what’s important to them, how they do business and if they may be a good fit for the projects you need help with.
Local contractors know a lot of skilled people in the business. Sometimes they have men and women who work on their crews that may not be working on a project for them right now. If you have had someone remodel a room in your home or add a deck to your house, chances are they know someone who is both skilled and trustworthy to work on smaller repair projects around your house. Don’t hesitate to reach out to get their input or advice.
You know from past experience that hiring the lowest bidder usually does not work out. The lowest bidder is usually leaving something out of the bid that may get thrown in as a surprise during the work. A good handyman will know what materials he/she will need and generally how much time the project should take (given any unforeseen challenges).
Once you get the names and phone numbers for a few candidates, ask them a lot of questions over the phone. Ask about their past work projects, ask if they are licensed in your state, if the project you need help with requires a permit and if they can get one. You can also ask for a rough estimate. Lastly during the interview, ask for a 2-3 references and then be sure to follow up. Ask the reference to send you photos of the work completed. Ask them what went well with the project and what they’d change for the next time. This will give you some valuable ideas on what to expect and what to do differently for your home repair project.
Upon arriving at your home a good handyman will communicate what the scope of the project will be, what supplies and steps will be needed to accomplish the project and how much time it should take. See if the over-the-phone estimate has changed, now that the handyman is in your home and has evaluated the project closer. If everything seems logical, give the go-ahead and pat yourself on the back for doing your part by hiring from your local community and getting a pretty darn good handyman you can share with your neighbors and friends!By Chad Pfeffer