Have you ever had problems with a handyman you hired? I got a call from a lady the other day who had problems with a handyman she had hired. She needed me to finish a job that someone else had started and she had fired because he did not know how to do the job and he had made a mess.
There are many good people in the Handyman business today but anyone with a truck and a hammer can call himself a handyman. So, what can a homeowner do to reduce the risk when hiring someone? It’s not easy, but there are several obvious steps that can be taken.
1. Ask prospective handyman if they are licensed and carry liability insurance. If they have employees or do rental properties (considered commercial by WSIB) they need to have WSIB (workers comp) coverage. Don’t take their word for it, ask to see proof. Any legit handyman will be happy to show you this documentation. Any handyman that offer excuses why it can’t be produced walk away from.
2. You can ask for a list of references but how can you check them out? They could be giving you a list of their friends. Some online rating sites are unreliable as a reference due to the ability to post bogus reviews therefore you need to check reviews from more than one source. Just because someone has a bad review does not mean they are not good. There are always two sides to a story. How they respond to a negative negative reviews speaks volumes.
3. Do a search on the internet of their name and their company. Check their social media, what kind of person is he? Does he look like someone you can trust? How many places does his business show up on the internet? Has he invested the time and money to create a web page? Is there pictures of his work?
4. Be wary of requests for a large up-front deposit. If a job requires the purchase of custom materials and a large deposit it is probably a sign that the handyman is taking on a job that is bigger than he is capable of handling or you are trying to save money by hiring a handyman rather than a general contractor. Large jobs with longer durations will have payment milestones (including the deposit) clearly outlined in the contract. Small jobs that handymen do don’t require deposits because most handymen work on an hourly basis and charge you for the time it takes.
5. Be suspicious of really low pricing. We all love a deal and for some people price is the only criteria that matters. However, low-ball pricing is a classic scam that is irresistible to many of us. It is also a sure sign something may not be right. Choosing a handyman to do a full bathroom renovation asking for trouble. A handyman can not do any electrical work or any new plumbing and he can not hire an electrician and a plumber since he is not a general contractor.
Large renovation projects require a contract with milestones and payment schedules. If everything is not spelled out in the contract the homeowner can expect to be hit with numerous “extra” material and labour costs. If your handyman does by some miracle manage to complete the work, odds are substandard materials and workmanship are what kept the cost down.
6. Do not ask for cash only deals, that is asking for problems with a handyman. Cash only with no paper trail equals no recourse for you in the event a problem arises. You want to hire a honest handyman to work in your home. If he will work for cash and be dishonest with the government what makes you think he will be honest in his dealings with you?
7. Think it over. Take the time you need to make an informed decision and you won’t have problems with a handyman you hire. If you have to sign a contract you probably should be hiring a general contractor.
Tell me about your handyman experience by posting a comment or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.