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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 a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up a consultation or appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by performing an online search for local professionals near you.

Message the contractor, and see if they are willing to set up a video consultation call instead of an in-person site visit. With video chat, the contractor may be able to assess the scale of the project, give you better information on what needs to be done and perhaps provide an estimate. Be sure to discuss virtual payments, as well as general strategies for staying safe.

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

To find out whether a general contractor is considered essential in your area during the current coronavirus pandemic, visit your city or state’s government website, which will have information on essential services.

Find information on national recommendations by visiting CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage. However, 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.

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.

Does a handyman need to enter my home?

In many cases, a handyman will not need to enter your home for outdoor repairs, but they’ll likely need to enter your home for indoor repairs. With the pandemic’s associated safety guidelines, it’s important that this only occurs for absolutely essential projects. Avoid any physical contact with the handyman if this is the case. Sanitize surfaces, and conduct payment through a digital platform like PayPal or Venmo. Be sure to contact your handyman and develop a plan before the job commences.

Is it worth it to hire a handyman?

It’s worth it to hire a handyman in many cases. For example, you should hire a handyman when the project’s size and scope make it challenging to complete by yourself. These projects may include major home remodels or additions, foundation work or electrical/plumbing/HVAC-related tasks. However, make sure the handyman has the proper credentials or license to perform the necessary work.

You might also want to hire a handyman if a contractor’s price is too high. Handymen often charge less than general contractors, but contractors typically have the required license to perform certain tasks.

And, lastly, think about the complexity of the job and the cost of future repairs. It’s worth it to hire a handyman when the project is complex. Doing something incorrectly can wind up costing more than hiring the pro in the first place.

Can I use digital payments to pay for general contractor services?

Currently, many general contractors are using common digital payment services like PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Zelle, Google Pay and more. And more will likely adopt these and similar platforms as coronavirus continues to force companies to take on digital capabilities.

Contact general contractors beforehand to discuss whether they accept digital payments, and take all necessary measures to meet social distancing recommendations. You can also compare general contractors side-by-side online to see which ones accept digital payments.

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