For homeowners, a good handyman is a hot commodity. After all, one of the joys of owning a home is fixing stuff, and the skills these pros offer can be invaluable to fix what you can’t.
But finding a handyman isn’t always easy. It takes more than leafing through the phone book — or surfing the internet, really — to find a reputable one nearby. You want someone reliable, skilled, and equipped with all the tools necessary to get the job done.
What’s more, you want someone who you can lean on time and again. Otherwise, you’ll just find yourself back at square one the next time something breaks — and it will break, often at the most inopportune of times.
Before you actually need one, I suggest you do the following:
1. Go with a pro. There’s a big difference between a handyman and a man who is handy. Both will own a truck and tools, but only one will know all the regulations associated with the project at hand.
While some states require licensing to be a handyman, Minnesota isn’t one of them. You will need to do a little sleuthing to figure out whether you’re dealing with a professional or someone filling in the blanks between jobs.
Ask the handyman about the kinds of work he or she has done in the past. Find out if he or she has any areas of expertise. And get references. Every handyman — or contractor, at that — should have a list of past customers that can attest to his or her work.
2. Weigh your potential needs. If you’re not all that handy, you’ll likely need to rely on the services of a handyman more than you think. It’s often better to develop a relationship with a one-stop shop than a one-man operation.
I hear a lot from clients on how frustrating it is to work with a one-man operation. Even if the handyman is great, not being able to ask questions or schedule a job can be a problem in an emergency.
Consider your potential need for handyman services to determine which direction to go. The last thing you need is an unanswered call.
3. Ask about insurance. Even if a handyman doesn’t require licensing or bonding, you want to go with someone who carries insurance to cover any issues that come up on the job. Homeowner’s insurance won’t likely cover any unexpected damages.
4. Look for reviews. This may just be one of the easiest ways to get a quick glance into a company’s workings. Look for reviews on Google, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Houzz. Yelp isn’t all that bad either.
But remember not all handymen operations will have a strong social media backing. Just because you don’t find anything on them doesn’t mean they’re not qualified. No one has had anything yet to say.
Plus, reviews aren’t the end all and be all. If the review seems extraordinarily mean or aggressive, someone may have an ax to grind. It’s also pretty obvious when there’s one negative review out of 100. That person is probably just being vindictive.
I’ve looked and seen a variety of handymen out there and want to make sure you are informed when you hire one. Even though the project may be small, that doesn’t mean you should risk it being botched by a bad handyman.
Do your research and hire the best. I promise it will be worth it!