There are plenty of handymen out there, but is it possible to find one you can really rely on? The answer is yes — provided you know where to look and what projects to give him.
PICK THE RIGHT PROJECT
That might include painting, small remodeling, fence & deck repairs, installing a ceiling fan, drywall repair, or replacing a light fixture, faucet, cracked windowpane or dry rot repairs. Choose a licensed tradesman instead for work inside walls, like replacing a pipe or adding an electrical circuit; specialized tasks (say, repairing a roof leak or installing tiles); and, of course, large remodeling projects.
TAP YOUR NETWORK
Ask a friends or neighbor for a handyman referral. Contacts at a local school, church, or office might also recommend a good handyman as well.
A long-established local sole proprietor may be the most expert, reliable and reasonably priced option. Large handyman service companies tend be revolving doors that don't retain the same handyman personnel very long. Pride of ownership and reputation is at the top of the list for the independent sole proprietor.
GET AN ESTIMATE AND MEET THE HANDYMAN
Handymen bill you for the materials they use and the time they spend — typically at around $35 to $70 an hour. That’s because, ironically, it’s trickier to commit to a fixed price for a little job. Larger projects should provide the option for the homeowner to receive a fixed price which would include materials. Free estimates and meeting in person prior to hiring for the project should be offered by any good handyman.
Just as you might audition a car mechanic with routine oil changes, test your new handyman’s mettle with low-tech stuff, such as clearing clogged gutters or installing garage shelves. It’s best to combine a few of these small projects, since most pros either have a two- to four-hour minimum or impose a one-hour service charge. Then let him earn his way to bigger assignments that require craftsmanship — and if he nails those, put his number on speed dial.