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Find a home repair specialist near you

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a handyman during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Setting up a safe consultation or appointment with a handyman during the COVID-19 pandemic starts with comparing local professionals online. Message or call the handyman to ask about performing a consultation over the phone or, better yet, a video call. This will allow the handyman to assess the problem without increasing the risk of transmission by visiting your home. If the service is essential and the handyman needs to enter your home, you’ll need to take stringent safety measures for the visit. Discuss temporary fixes if possible, and come up with a plan for safety and digital payment.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with an electrician during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up an appointment or consultation with an electrician during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure that you are performing as much of the process digitally as possible. The best way to begin is by conducting an online search for local electricians. Ask if they can perform consultations over a phone or video call to comply with social distancing mandates. You should also discuss a strategy for how to complete the project during social distancing or whether the project should be completed once the pandemic has ended.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a plumber during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If possible, it’s best to set up a virtual consultation or phone call with a plumber near during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can send a message to a professional plumber near you and ask if they are available to video chat or have a phone call. Use that time to discuss the work that needs to be done. Make sure to ask any questions you have about the project. And lastly, ask the plumber how they handle payments and whether they have any specific safety precautions in place to comply with social distancing. 

How can I find out if a plumber is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Generally, plumbers are often considered essential service providers. Essential service providers vary from state to state and city to city, however. For the most accurate information, check your official state or city government website to see whether a plumber is considered an essential service in your area.

Read CISA’s publication on identifying critical workers to find out more information on a national level. Some, but not all, jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. 

How can I find out if a handyman is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Depending on the service needed, a handyman may be considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can check by visiting your city or state’s government website. In addition, CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage offers national guidelines for determining essential services. Their page delineates 16 essential infrastructure sectors that can continue to operate during the pandemic. But note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire a handyman when social distancing?

If you hire a handyman, stay 6 feet away from the handyman at all times. If you have an indoor emergency and it’s considered an essential service, take extra social distancing precautions with your handyman. Do not make physical contact, stay at least 6 feet from the handyman, and exchange payment through digital services instead of cash or check. Talk with your handyman and agree on a plan in advance.

How can I find out if an electrician is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Guidelines are available from both local and federal government agencies to clarify which services qualify as essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. To determine whether an electrician is considered an essential service provider in your area, check your city or state’s government websites.

For federal guidelines, consult CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 page, which outlines 16 critical infrastructure sectors. But not that some, not all, jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire a plumber when social distancing?

Contact plumbers near you beforehand to see if they can complete the project without entering your home — for example, by entering the garage to fix a broken water heater. If the plumber needs to enter your house to do the job, you should proceed only if both parties feel comfortable with the project. Consider taking extra steps such as waving instead of shaking hands, staying 6 feet apart, using digital payments and sanitizing common areas.

Can I use digital payments to pay for handyman services?

Many handymen accept digital payments for work done repairing homes. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need for social distancing, this trend is likely going to increase. Handymen often accept payment through popular platforms like Paypal, Google Pay, Zelle, Venmo, Square Cash and more. 

Consult with the handyman before you begin work to ensure you’ll be able to conduct the transaction safely and in compliance with official guidelines.

Can I use digital payments to pay for plumbing services?

Some plumbers accept digital payments -- Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, etc. -- for their services. Before you hire a plumber, ask them if they accept your preferred online payment. Many also feature digital payment options on their profiles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital payments are typically considered safer than cash and credit cards.

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