How to Choose a Handyman
There are 3 general categories of handymen or women:
- Licensed Handymen – those that have contractors licenses or are licensed to do handyman work.
- Unlicensed Legal – no license, but work strictly within the state laws governing incidental home repairs.
- Unlicensed Illegal – handymen who work under the table, ignoring the construction laws and regulations.
The Licensed Handyman or Contractor
Let’s explore the three categories further:
- Their contractors license number will be included on all of their signage and business cards.
- Will be easily identifiable by their telephone manner, their vehicles and their uniforms.
- The handyman will usually be a worker who is operating under his employer’s general contractors license or on rare occasions will be the contractor himself.
- This category of handyman will be the most expensive from a rate standpoint but will carry liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance.
- Workers will have at least a minimum required level of training and experience.
- The contractor will pull building permits when required and can do any job that fits under their contractors license.
- If something goes wrong, you have legal recourse and the contractors license board to turn to for assistance.
- Will have contracts for you to sign before the work is started and upon completion.
Unlicensed – Working Within the Law
- Will be less expensive than a licensed contractor, sometimes significantly less.
- Usually have business cards, will supply references and may have a sign on their vehicle.
- May or may not be easily identifiable by their telephone manner, their vehicle signage and their uniforms.
- Will carry liability insurance that will cover jobs performed up to their legal limit.
- Will not do jobs that are outside of their legal limits. ($500 in California, all inclusive) Staying within the law, they will not ask for a large deposit before starting work.
- Some will have contracts for you to sign, many will not.
- May or may not pull building permits if required.
- Will usually have at least the minimum amount of skills required to do the work they are agreeing to do.
Unlicensed – Not Working Within the Law
- Will be the least expensive quote you receive.
- May or may not be willing to give you references.
- Usually will carry no business cards, have no signage and no uniforms.
- They will do any work you ask them to do.
- May or may not be experienced or trained in the work you are hiring them to do.
- Size of the job won’t matter – remodel a bathroom, remodel a kitchen, build a garage.
- Will not pull building permits.
- Will often ask for large deposits to start the work – this is illegal.
- If the work was illegally performed or contracted, no agency will stand behind you if there is a problem with the work or the worker.
- No contract will be enforceable if the work performed fell outside of the law.