Whether remodeling or doing one household task, a handyman can be worth his weight in gold. Lengthy to-do lists can drive homeowners nuts if there are tasks to be done every weekend. Many couples work full-time and trying to squeeze in "honey do's" can really put a strain on recreational pursuits. Seeing the maintenance, repair and remodeling chores left undone week after week can also make a person cringe. Handymen come equipped with many different talents. Asking a few questions will ensure that you end up with the right guy for the job:
- What is your prime expertise? Handy guys may have lots of experience with drywall and painting but not so much with plumbing repairs. They may be able to stack bricks and build patios with one hand tied behind their backs but have no woodworking skills. It would be wise to inquire about specific projects in order to utilize the right handy guy's talents.
- How much experience do you have with this type of project? Tile setters may have twenty years on the job or they may have only done one or two bathroom-tub-surrounds. Ask for specifics. If a person says he is experienced setting tile, ask what types of products he's used and which he prefers. There are wide varieties of tile including ceramic, porcelain, travertine, saltillo, stone, glass and others.
- Do you have references? Get a list of references for satisfied customers and check them. Ask past customers about reliability, quality of work and whether they'd hire the guy again.
- Do you have any photos of your work? Many craftsmen take pride in their work and have a portfolio of photographs to display. This is especially true of individuals with aesthetic flair who are proud to show off their handiwork.
- How long will the job take? A savvy handyman will be able to give a fairly accurate estimate of how long a job will take to accomplish. Of course, complications might arise that weren't expected, but an approximation should be close to accurate start-to-finish time frame.
- How is payment to be handled? Many handymen want to be paid for a portion of their work upfront with the balance at completion. This is especially true for larger jobs. Other workers don't expect to be paid until a job's completed. If a handyperson wants total payment upfront, this is a red flag. Always hold a portion of the tab for satisfactory finalization.
- Will the job be done on an hourly basis or by the project? Some individuals prefer hourly wages to by-the-project charges. Word of warning to homeowners: you never know what the total will end up being if you pay by the hour.
Is there any task you won't do? Some workers draw the line at certain tasks such as repairing any electrical wiring that is involved. Others aren't able to work outdoors in high temperatures or lift extremely heavy items.
Hiring a handyman can get that deck built, that light fixture installed or that cabinetry stripped and stained. It can make a home sparkle and the "honey do" list checked off.