Construction contractor, handyman, or broker?

Every homeowner needs help around the house, from minor repairs or repairs to renovations. But how can you determine what type of professional to hire? Here are some tips and differences in home improvement professionals to consider.

Contractor vs Handyman: Often times, a contractor’s fees to handle small projects can be cost prohibitive. A handyman typically handles small jobs around the house and yard for both businesses and homeowners, 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 residential project. A general rule of thumb can be how long the job should take. If it is going to take more than 2 full days to complete, a general contractor is better equipped to handle the project.

Developing a relationship with a reliable and trustworthy maintenance staff over the long term 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 repair 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 take care of for you:

* Minor plumbing like leaky faucets, a new sink, or fixtures

* Minor electrical work like a new ceiling fan, plug, or extra switch

* Fix a leaky roof or correct drainage problems

* Diverse woodwork around the house

* Paint a room or garage area.

* Siding repair

* Shelf construction

* Repair or installation of tiles

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you are going to repair or roof your home, you probably need to find a reliable contractor that specializes in those areas of home remodeling. Technicians and contractors alike should provide you with a free, no-obligation estimate before undertaking a project. An owner should never hire a handyman until the cost of the project, including materials, is known. A good handyman can offer estimates and work by the hour or by the 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 their offer, you should back off and let him work. You’re only on the road at that point.

Some thoughts 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 price each project separately and then together. Depending on the work involved, you may be able to save money by having him tackle 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 handymen and even run background checks and call your references for you.

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

* Ask your maintenance staff what they specialize in. Engage him in a conversation. Any handyman service should know a lot about many different things, but you can be sure that they are an expert in just a few. Spending a little time with him can go a long way. You probably know other operators who can fill your slack when you need it.

Recruitment brokers they are another option for you. They are like salespeople who work for many different companies. When you call a good recruiting broker, he will assess your need and find the right company for the job you need to do. They pay you a commission from the hiring company as if you were in their sales force, collecting your fee from the hiring company after 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 that it is in their best interest to make sure you are satisfied with both the level of service and the completed project and to work with you on all aspects of the job. Using a broker shouldn’t cost you extra money and can alleviate much of your workload. 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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