Should You Hire A Handyman Or A Contractor? 5 Considerations

For many homeowners, smaller remodel jobs bring up an important question. Should you hire a handyman to do the work or get a contractor? You have likely gotten plenty of well-meaning advice from others, but what is the right choice for your situation? Here are a few criteria to help you decide.

1. Licensing

A contractor must generally be licensed by the state in which they work. Florida is one state with such requirements. This licensing process varies by state, but it includes studying for and passing a proctored exam with multiple parts. Contractors must also abide by rules and report to the state while in business. In addition to contractor licensing, many specialties require their own licenses, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work. 

Handyman services are not usually subject to licensing as a whole, although they often must form a proper business entity in accord with local and state agency rules. Check with each handyman service to determine if they have any licenses for specific specialties. 

2. Price

The biggest advantage that most handymen have over licensed contractors is that they charge less for their services. The reason is twofold. First, they are generally not licensed, and so they can’t offer the same level of assurance. This is made up for by offering cheaper prices to potential clients.

Secondly, handymen don’t have the same overhead costs that contractors usually do. That savings is passed on to customers. 

3. Insurance

If you have any workers on your property for a renovation or to build a new structure, you should be covered in case of emergency. Someone could fall off a ladder, get injured by a live wire, or knock an antique off a shelf. While your homeowners insurance may cover some of these possibilities, you want a company with its own liability coverage to protect your interests.

Ask any service provider what insurance they carry as well as what their coverage limits are. A handyman is likely to have less insurance coverage due to the fact that they regularly take on smaller jobs. A contractor, on the other hand, is prepared for larger coverage needs. This may be vital if you have expensive property to be worked on, if you have valuables in the home, or if there will be more than one person working on the site. 

4. Reliability

A handyman often goes into the line of work because they can set their own schedule and decide what jobs to take. Many handymen (and handywomen) are retired tradespeople or part-time businesses.

The upside to this is that you are usually their only focus during the time they do your job. The downside is that you are depending on them as an individual to stick to the schedule and get work accomplished if things don’t go as planned.

Contractors are usually larger businesses that work full-time. They have, after all, gone to the trouble and expense of passing the licensing requirements. They often have employees and subcontractors working for them as well as established business practices. This can mean more reliability and faster completion. 

5. Scope

Handymen are generally limited in what they can perform and what they will oversee. If you have a large remodel job, for instance, you may need the services of a licensed electrician and plumber as well as someone who can install vanities and flooring. A handyman usually will not be in charge of the quality of other work. This may be a cost savings if you can negotiate directly with other tradespeople. 

General contractors are accustomed to larger projects. They often have licensed workers or subcontractors that will perform specialized work. And as a general contractor, they would be in charge of these other services and keeping things on track. 

By understanding the differences between a local handyman service and a licensed contractor, you can make the right call for your particular needs. At Genuine Home Builders, Inc., we have experience with every size and scope of renovation work. Call today to learn what we can do to ensure a smooth project for you. 

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