Real Estate

Construction contractor, handyman or broker?

All homeowners need help around the house, from small repairs or fixes to renovations. But how can you determine what kind of professional to hire? Here are some tips and differences in home improvement professionals that you should consider.

Contractor vs. Handyman: A contractor’s fee to handle small projects can often be prohibitively expensive. A handyman typically handles small jobs around the house and yard for businesses and homeowners alike, and can provide a practical and cost-effective solution. Some jobs require a specific license or are beyond the scope of a handyman. General contractors can handle virtually any major home project. A rule of thumb can be how long the job should take. If it’s going to take more than 2 full days to complete, a general contractor is better equipped to handle the project.

Developing a long-term relationship with a reliable and trustworthy handyman is a good idea for any homeowner. It’s always good to tackle those home improvement projects that a house needs from time to time easily and quickly. Before you go out and hire a general contractor to fix a hole in drywall or paint a room, you can hire a handyman. Contractor fees to handle small projects can be daunting.

There are some good rules of thumb when considering a handyman. With a small investment of time, you can save money and energy in the long run. Here is a list of jobs that a good handyman can do for you:

* Minor plumbing such as leaky faucets, a new sink or fixtures

* Minor electrical work such as a new ceiling fan, an extra outlet or switch

* Repair a leaky roof or correct drainage problems

* Miscellaneous carpentry around the house

* Paint a room or garage area

* Siding repair

* build shelves

* Tile repair or installation

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you’re going to be re-roofing or re-roofing your home, you probably need to find a reputable contractor who specializes in those areas of home remodeling. Both Handymen and contractors are required to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote before tackling a project. A homeowner should never hire a handyman until they know the cost of the project, including materials. A good handyman can offer estimates and work by the hour or job just like a major contractor would.

If you want to work with your contractor, you may be able to. Some handymen prefer to work alone, but most will work with you if you just want help getting something done. You will likely get an hourly rate if you go this route. On the other hand, once a major contractor has outlined the scope of work involved and you approve his offer, you should back off and let him work. You are only in the way at that point.

Some ideas on hiring a handyman:

* Have a list of all your projects handy before calling someone. Once your maintenance staff is on site, ask them to rate each project separately and then together. Depending on the work involved, you may be able to save money if he handles at least a few things at once.

* Ask for references and don’t be afraid to call one or two of them. There are some good directories that shortlist local operatives and even do background checks and call your references for you.

* Until you develop a primary handyman relationship that you feel very comfortable with, don’t be afraid to get multiple offers. You can sort a search like “local handyman” on Google and you’ll get a lot of great results. Remember, anyone can buy an ad, but someone who naturally gets the top ranking is most likely a serious businessman. Choose from the top 4 or 5 search results and you will find a trusted professional. If you receive multiple offers, let your maintenance staff know that you are receiving other offers. Not only is it courteous, but remember that trust is built in two ways.

* Ask your handyman what he specializes in. Engage him in a conversation. Any handyman service must know a lot about many different things, but you can be sure that they are an expert in only a few. Spending a little time up front with him can go a long way. You probably know other operators who can take your place where you need it.

Hiring Brokers They are another option for you. They are like salespeople who work for many different companies. When he calls a good recruitment broker, he will assess his need and find the right company for the job he needs. The hiring company pays him a commission as if he were on their sales force, collecting his fee from the company he hires once the job is completed. Some brokers simply point to the right company for you. Others work more as consultants and service providers. Those are really the best. They know it’s in their best interest to make sure you’re satisfied with both the level of service and the finished project and to work with you on all aspects of the job. Using a broker shouldn’t cost you extra money and can ease much of your task load. If your projects require more than one or two different types of professionals, you should consider finding a good broker. A broker can also enhance the entire hiring experience.

You can find more helpful home improvement tips on my blog at

-Phil Vandermeer

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