A handyman is a skilled laborer who provides basic home repairs. Anyone can call themselves a handyman, although most who do so are skilled with repairs and home projects. Reading reviews is a good way to determine their fitness for your job. The tasks a handyman can perform include assembling furniture, painting interiors and exteriors, repairing fences, repairing broken doors or replacing trim, hanging lights, hooking up appliances, and much more. Handymen may have flat fees for certain services, or charge an hourly rate. Handyman rates are often lower than those of a contractor, as they don’t have the same specialization. Some states have no limit on the work a handyman can perform, while others do. For example, California’s Building and Professions Code section 7048 (small operations) permits handymen to provide work similar to that of a contractor (floor installation, painting, etc.) provided the total cost of labor and materials does not exceed $500. A handyman is a great resource for minor home repairs at a lower cost than a licensed contractor, but for more complex projects, it pays to hire a specialized contractor. Fore more, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.
Finding a good handyman can change your life. Within days, the endless list of insurmountable tasks that were either out of your skill range or impossible to fit into your busy schedule can be completed. If you know you want help but aren’t sure how to hire the right pro, ask these questions to find the right fit:
- What is your work experience? If you are putting in a tile backsplash, you want someone experienced with the task, not someone who generally does painting and junk removal.
- How much do you charge? Handymen often charge hourly rates that vary based on the complexity of the task they’re hired to do, as well as flat rates for standard jobs. Be clear about what they’ll charge before you hire them.
- On that note, discuss payment details. It’s wise not to pay all the money up front, especially for larger projects. You may be able to pay a deposit for materials and pay the remainder upon project completion.
- How long will the job take you to complete? If the handyman is as busy as you are and a fence repair is going to take months, you should probably find another qualified handyman for the job.
Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you’re choosing the right handyman for your projects. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.
Property management companies manage the rental of residential homes, apartments, condos, commercial spaces and retail spaces. Property managers can oversee just a single unit or many properties, whether those sites are inhabited full-time or are vacation rentals. A property management company helps a property owner or landlord find tenants; collects rent; takes care of accounting, property maintenance and repairs; handles on-site management; and manages vacation rental check-in and checkout tasks. Although many property owners or landlords successfully manage their own rental real estate, a property management company can help you handle tenant issues and maintenance problems, especially if you are not located in the same city or state. Most property management companies deal with tenants directly, and their tasks include:
- Marketing the rental property
- Collecting rent
- Handling repair problems
- Responding to tenant complaints
- Evicting tenants
A property management company may be a good choice for property owners who have several investment properties, live far away from the rental property, or don’t have time for hands-on management.
The licensing requirements for property managers vary from state to state, but many states require property managers to have a real estate broker’s license and in some cases be a legal resident of a state. Property management may not be specified in a state real estate statute, but according to the Institute of Real Estate Management their activities may include advertising the availability of a rental property, discussing a property management agreement with an owner, negotiating leases, showing a rental property and collecting rents.
In some states, a handyman can provide plumbing services, but it may be in your best interest to call a plumber, particularly for issues more major than unclogging a drain or attaching a new sink. Hiring a plumber is important because mishandling your water and gas lines has the potential to do great damage to your home, your family’s health, or even the safety of your neighborhood. A handyman is not legally required to have any training or licensing in plumbing matters, while a licensed plumber has undergone years of education and on-the-job training. In some cases, homeowners insurance won’t cover damage caused by plumbing repair done by an unlicensed handyman.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most plumbers learn their trade through a four- or five-year apprenticeship with 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. They also receive classroom education including “safety, local plumbing codes and regulations, and blueprint reading. They also study mathematics, applied physics, and chemistry. After completing an apprenticeship program, plumbers … are considered to be journey workers, qualifying them to perform duties on their own,” according to the DOL. Licensed plumbers should do continuing education to keep abreast of safety and technology changes. Poor plumbing can lead to sewage backups, a flooded home or even natural gas leaks, so it’s best to leave it in the hands of a specialized professional.