Whether you have been in your house several years and a few repairs are the order of the day or it needs a facelift, finding a dependable, affordable handyman who does excellent work is crucial. We actually have such an individual I would highly recommend. Not only do we have the privilege of knowing his wife and family, but prior to having him do work for us in our home, at least three individuals recommended his quality work and work ethic. Of course you need not have a personal connection with the person you choose, but getting excellent recommendations and references; finding their listing on the Better Business Bureau website; and spending time with him in person in order for him to get an idea of what the project entails, exchange ideas with you as to how you want it done, and what budget he has to work with are all part and parcel of choosing a handyman.
In your circle of acquaintances will be someone who can put you in touch with others who have had various jobs completed in their homes and can give you a phone number, email, or website to explore. If you have just relocated, your relator probably has a few names to give you as you begin the process of finding a reputable contractor. Whatever you do, these referrals are extremely important, since most of the time the individual you hire will be spending some amount of time in your home.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is an excellent place to start as well. They have names of contractors, what kinds of jobs they perform, contact information, testimonials, and their own stringent ratings. If a business person lists with the BBB, a customer can usually count on them to be reputable. Like any other public entity, the BBB has its critics, but if you do your homework and take responsibility for the results that include your part of the investigation, this is a reliable source. As you explore the various candidates, look to see if they have websites and delight yourself in perusing them. Our friend has a tasteful, immaculate website with about eight glowing testimonials, several pictures earmarked with a two or three word description, and a place to contact him by email, as well as the introduction and short biography. It reflects the person and the kind of work you can expect.
Meet in Person
When you contact the first handyman candidate, arrange to meet him where he can see what the work involves. It is at this time you note if the relationship is a good fit, if you will be able to trust his judgment in making recommendations, and if he will be able to stay within the given budget. Before the meeting, have as comprehensive a list of questions to ask him as possible; of course as you converse with him hopefully you will think of more. He should be able to satisfy all your inquiries and if not, ask again. For example, our contractor was trying to communicate how he would construct a small arbor over our front door, after replacing the door and doing some urgently needed structural work. It took several tries but finally the idea clicked, and now I am ready to move toward getting the job completed.
In addition, this is the time to ask for his license number/listing. If he is not licensed, you probably need thank him for his time and consider the next candidate. Having a license protects both you and the employee.
Do remember to get a verbal quote that he can turn into a written contract. The contract should be on his company letterhead paper and either brought to you or sent via email. The letterhead contains the name of the company, the contractor’s name, and contact information in addition to the itemized quote and expected time of completion, along with any special circumstances you both have discussed and agreed upon.
In closing, I remember well how long it could have taken to secure someone I trusted completely, could communicate with, and who wanted to help me within my meager budget. Make sure you are not desperate. When you notice things that need repairing, or you decide on some updating that would be nice in your lovely home, be sure you allow time to find the best quality handyman. Good ones can either be hard to find or their schedules are full for weeks. If you need a job done right away, get solid references, and meet with the contractor. Hopefully these few hints will guide your thinking in finding a dependable handyman for now and in the future.
About the author: Derek Hall is a general handyman and home-improvement expert who loves to write about everything from tips on finding your own personal handy man to information on concrete polishing.