A handyman can often be a very cost-effective choice for getting work done in your home, especially if you require more than one trade. Having only one person rather than a crew working in your home can relieve a lot of stress.
If you require any home maintenance a handyman may be the best person to contact. I have many customers who will contact me for various small jobs. Small jobs are usually associated with the word Handyman.
These would be things like
Fixing a sticking door,
Putting up a large mirror,
Plastering some holes in a wall
Fixing floor tiles
Changing difficult to access bulbs
Replacing a broken light switch
Straightening up and servicing the doors in a fitted kitchen
Fixing a dripping tap
Changing door handles
Fitting a lock
Replacing glass in a window
Minor electrical repairs
The list goes on and on.
There really are hundreds of little jobs a handyman can do.
Most of these jobs would be associated with handyman services, most large companies and specialist contractors would not come to your home to do such little jobs. Contractors tend to stick to their niches and are generally very good at what they do. They are not set up to do tiny jobs and it would cost them and therefore you a fortune before work has even begun. Contractors are great for larger specialised work, like roofing for instance or render work, landscaping or drainage work. Contractors are the guys for this type of work that requires a lot of very expensive specialised machinery and skills.
A handyman is usually just one man. He may have extra help he can call upon if required but generally just one guy. That is how I operate. I am one person. I go and see a job, I price the job and I do the job. My work is made up of a lot of small jobs but also larger jobs like fitting kitchens and bathrooms. Each handyman will have a wide range of skills to pull from and be able to do a multitude of different jobs. If you don’t have the skills for a particular job then they will pull in someone with the skills for that aspect of the job. This is a bit of an overlap between contractors and handymen.
Why Become a Handyman?
I find it hard to do the same type of work every day. I enjoy painting and decorating, joinery, plumbing, tiling, plastering, fitting bathrooms, fitting kitchens. I enjoy all of this just not every day.
I love the challenge of different things every day, or almost every day.
The benefit for the customer is that they only have one person to deal with. If you need some plumbing work done as well as some painting and decorating and you need a canopy fitted above your front door then you only have to deal with one person. There is only one person doing the work, one person going through your home, one person responsible for doing a good job, one person to pay.
Now there are some handymen out there who are not quite as handy as you would expect. For that reason, it is good to get a recommendation from a friend or neighbour and try them out. Start with something small before you let your new found handyman renovate your whole home.
Handymen can have very different skill levels and experience.
Trust is very important and this is another advantage of handyman over a contractor. The contractor that you have round at your home to price the work may not be the person who will be managing that job and you will have unknown people around your home. It takes a long time to build trust and most of my customers whom I have known for a long time are happy to go on holiday while I decorate their home or renovate a particular part such as the kitchen or bathroom.
I have been in many homes where a particular contractor has been in to do a job and left an almighty mess to be repaired by someone else. The other advantage of a handyman is that they can generally complete the job to a good finish. So if there is work to be done and some plasterwork or joinery is required to finish this can be dealt with by a competent handyman.
Most handymen will have a lot of skills. I have listed a few here to give you an idea of what to expect from your handyman. Obviously, all handymen are not going to have all these skills but they will certainly have a few and may even surprise you. They should be able to do many of the following;
TV wall mounting and cable concealment
Blinds and curtains fitting
Fitting flooring of various materials – wood, vinyl, carpets, tiles
Pictures and mirrors hanging
Bath and shower screen fitting
Shower repair and replacement
Ceiling fan installation
Toilet seats fitting
Cat flaps fitting
Clothes pulley fitting
Electrical faults finding
Switches, sockets and transformers installation
Dimmer switch replacement
Light fitting repair & replacement
Investigate and repair lighting faults
Security lights fitting and replacement
Sinks and basins fitting and replacement
Plumbing repairs and installation
Leak diagnosis and repair
Drain unblocking and servicing
Toilet installation and repairs
Tap repair and replacement
Full kitchen refit
Full bathroom refit
And these are just a few of the jobs that can be carried out by a handyman, I have not even mentioned exterior work. There is pretty much no limit to the jobs, just a limit to the skills of each particular handyman and what is possible within the law. Most of the jobs above can be carried out by a good handyman.
The best way to find out if a handyman can help you is just to ask. Generally, they will be honest about their skills and will let you know if they can do the job for you. If they can’t then try another.
A Handyman will have been building up a skill set over a number of years and they can have a particular trade but have branched out into doing more trades becoming competent in many.
When you find a good reliable, trustworthy, super skilled handyman don’t let him go!
The Cost of a Handyman
In the UK, at least, a handyman has a bit of an image of being cheap labour. I would say that this is slowly changing and with good reason. One of the main things about a handyman and the reason you will be looking for one is that they are multi-skilled. As a result of that, a handyman usually carries the tools for doing a lot of different trades.
For instance, I have plumbing tools and parts, all sorts of joinery and woodworking tools, tiling equipment, floor laying tools, electrical tools, painting and decorating tools, I also have tools for electronics equipment. These do not come cheap and have been built up over many years. Tools have to be replaced every so often and all this adds up.
Some simple jobs that I turn up to do can seem very easy to do but I can get them done quickly and do them well due to the number of tools I have. I may have well over £1000 worth of tools on site just to do a small 2-hour job. This has to be built into the price of a handyman. Some people may find me expensive but if you bring in several contractors to do the same job it will cost more and you will have to manage the different trades and make sure they turn up in the sequence of when they are required.
So when I turn up to do a two-hour job you get my skills, experience, the hire of around £1000 worth of tools for the sum of £76 (in 2018 – may increase over time). I would say that was a good deal. Every person has their own view of this though and it’s up to you as the customer to decide if the service offered holds any value for you.
How to Choose a Handyman
When you get any tradesman in your house it is important that you feel comfortable with the person. If you don’t then choose someone else.
A good handyman should have a wide range of skills and be competent in the skills he advertises. As mentioned already if you know where he has worked before or a friend has recommended him to you (or her – there are a few handywomen out there which is great to see) that is a good way to find out how good that person is at their job. You will also be able to find out if they are conscientious workers and keep the place tidy when working and clean up after themselves once they have finished a job. This can make a big difference to you if you are living through some of the larger jobs.
Finally, the handyman you choose should also have some insurance – public liability insurance. Just in case a job doesn’t go the way it should. Fortunately, I have never had to use mine but I always make sure I am covered.
Payment of a Handyman
Each person/company will have their own prefered way to arrange payment. Some people like some money up front to pay for the materials, some like instalments as the job progresses. The way I operate is to get paid at the end of the job once the customer is satisfied and happy with the finish. Usually, the customer will buy the things they want to be fitted like a shower screen, bathroom suite, kitchen etc. I will pick up all the materials required for the actual fitting of the items and charge to the customer at the end.
I will always give an estimate for the labour and materials for every job no matter how small. This way I know how much I will get paid and the customer will know how much the job will be. This takes a lot of stress out of hiring someone and for me working with someone.
If you agree on a price with a tradesman or handyman you have made an agreement with that person and should always pay the agreed price. If the agreed price has to change then an additional agreement should be made for the difference.
Most people will offer their best price but mistakes can be made.
If the work you are needing to be done is quite a lot and concentrated in one trade such as rewiring a house, fitting a heating system, getting a large amount of rot treated, you may be better getting in the contractors to deal with this. If you have a lot of smaller to medium size jobs then a handyman, depending on his skill level, of course, could tackle those for you no problem. A good handyman will always let you know if the job you need doing is too much for him. If you can’t find a recommended handyman then give the guy a try with a few little jobs first before you move on to the bigger stuff.
Whatever you decide just remember that your house will be getting improved and when your chosen handyman leaves your home will be a little better for you and your family.