When Should I Hire a Handyman or a Contractor?

Anyone who is handy around the house takes pride in their DIY accomplishments. Oftentimes being successful at one task—such as laying tile or painting—leads you to try other, more difficult jobs. If you’re a quick learner, that’s great, but sometimes trying to do everything on your own can backfire. Carefully assess your renovation project to decide if you’re better off having a handyman do portions of the work or maybe even hiring a contractor for the big, complicated jobs.

Projects for DIYers

Some home improvement projects take little or no specialized knowledge. Things like painting walls and sealing furniture are easily within the abilities of many weekend warriors. And regular maintenance tasks—such as light electrical work, cleaning gutters or mending fences—can also usually be easily done with a little research and knowhow beforehand on best practices. This isn’t to say that you can’t do more advanced projects, but it quickly becomes more about how much time are you willing to invest into a project over hiring someone that is already knowledgeable and experienced in those areas. In other words, how much is your time worth and how much do you enjoy learning about carpentry, plumbing, etc.? When those scales tip the other way, it may be time to invest in a handyman or a contractor.

When to Hire a Handyman

If you have a larger job, or maybe even several jobs that need to be done and are limited on the amount of time you have to devote to them, hiring a handyman may be the wisest solution. Handymen are good at solving a variety of different home improvement tasks. If you have something that you find challenging, contact a handyman because the money that you spend on handyman services will prevent you from wasting time and getting frustrated. Many handymen charge by the hour or have flat rates for certain types of projects.

Many handymen are essentially general contractors who work on their own. If the job is small, you can save thousands of dollars over hiring a general contractor. Most handyman jobs range from under $100 to a few thousand dollars. Check with your state, however, if you plan to hire a handyman as some states cap the amount of money that a handyman can charge. If you live in one of those states, you may have to hire a contractor instead.

Be careful when hiring a handyman for certain jobs. Electrical wiring and plumbing require training and proper licensing. Just because your handyman can frame a wall doesn’t mean that he can place the plumbing inside it. Always check to see if your handyman has the proper training before signing on the dotted line.

Time to Hire a Contractor

Go with a contractor when the scope of the job is big, such as putting an addition on your house or completely renovating a room that requires complicated plumbing and/or electrical work. Such projects have many components beyond basic framing and drywall installation and can involve complicated elements such as ductwork installation and reworked plumbing. These are better left to professionals who are certified in their fields.

When selecting a contractor, make sure the company has the correct licensing, insurance and bonding. Ask friends, family and coworkers for suggestions and interview at least three to get price estimates and a feel for how they work. Reliable contractors won’t cut corners and will always pull the proper permits for your project. Always ask about the quality of materials a contractor uses, as inferior products can make the overall price cheaper, but they can also result in early repairs.

Whether you’re a DIYer ‘til you die or looking to hire, reach out to us here at Doug Ashy. We can make sure you have the materials you need or get you in touch with our network of general contractors to ensure you have what (or who) you need when you need it!

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  1. Walt on December 2, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    This is spot on. A lot of people that have us do work for them at our handyman company Concord Handyman Company don’t call us because they aren’t capable, but because they don’t have the time; they’d rather be doing something else. No shame in that at all!

  2. Luke Smith on January 17, 2022 at 10:55 pm

    It was a very helpful tip when you said that it’s important to make sure that the contractor is licensed when you’re looking to hire one. My steel gate is damaged by a large tree that fell right outside my house. Luckily, there were no kids or people near the area when that happened. That being said, I’ll keep in mind your tips while I find a licensed contractor near my area who specializes in steel gate welding.

  3. Shammy Peterson on May 3, 2022 at 3:37 am

    It sure was interesting when you said that a handyman can handle a variety of home improvement tasks, and it is wise to hire them if there are several jobs that need to be completed. Our wood fence needs to be repaired tomorrow afternoon due to some signs of cracks and rotting. Also, we might need to replace the door of our wooden cabinet in the kitchen. I will surely hire a reliable handyman in order to save money on hiring a contractor.

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