When you own your own home, it’s inevitable that things are bound to break or need fixing at some point, and having a handyman on speed dial is a huge relief. But, how do you find a reliable and trustworthy handyman and what qualifications are important? Check out this guide for some important information in the search for a handyman – preferably before you need one!
Where to look:
Just like with companies you hire, you want someone trustworthy, honest, and good at what they do. So, don’t just turn to Google and go with the first person you find. It’s important to do your research so you can find someone that not only performs good work, but stands behind what they do. Don’t cut corners– there are plenty of bad handymen out there who will do shoddy work, charge a ton of money, and give the good ones a bad name.
When looking online, it’s a good idea to focus your search to two main websites: Yelp and Angie’s List. Yelp is a great place to find handymen in your area, complete with contact information, customer reviews, and photos of their work. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, though. As with any Yelp review, many people only review when they’re angry. But, on a whole, it’s a great starting point to find a well-regarded and capable handyman in your neighborhood. Angie’s List is a membership service, but provides one of the most trustworthy resources when searching for contractors. Reviewers can’t post anonymously and reviewed services often respond to the reviews – even helping to arbitrate any complaints or critiques.
Word-of-mouth referrals are another great way to find your trusted handyman. Obviously friends and family are not going to steer you wrong, so check with them for any recommendations. Check with your neighbors and, if you just purchased your home, your realtor. Get the word out that you’re looking for someone good, and you’ll probably get a few referrals from people you can trust. Although word-of-mouth referrals don’t automatically mean they’re a good handyman and should be hired right away, it’s a good start.
What to look for:
You want to make sure the company is bonded and insured, as this protects both you and them. In the event that something happens, your handyman can access state-backed funds for claims. If a company was directly responsible for damage to a home or its contents, they’ll be held legally responsible to cover the costs associated with it. Knowing that any claims would be guaranteed provides a great piece of mind in your search.
Insured companies have policies that protect themselves from loss or damage due to acts of nature or other circumstances. It’s an added extra if your handyman company also carries worker’s compensation insurance. If a worker is injured on your property, that worker will know that his or her medical bills and time off work will be reimbursed by the company policy; therefore, they won’t pursue you for the costs. Other things to look into include their years of experience and the training they have received.
Questions to ask:
Finally, there are some important questions to ask after you’ve selected a potential handyman or two. Perhaps most important is to ask what their fees are. You shouldn’t be afraid to bring this up – it’s a huge factor when choosing what work to do around your home. Ask if they offer free estimates and if they charge by the hour or the project. Don’t be shy about talking money, as it’s the best way to avoid budget surprises. Ask about their availability, the time required to complete the job, if there are any guarantees to their work, and about the terms of payment. Although many require a partial deposit to start – which is completely legitimate- you should be wary of anyone who wants full payment up front.
After all is said and done – you’ve done your research and asked your questions – you can finally settle on a handyman. Having someone you can quickly call to tackle some household projects can provide a great piece of mind.