Every home will no doubt need a few things fixed or tuned-up over the years. In these cases, a handyman is the ideal solution, as professionals often are more costly and handymen offer more precise experience for the tasks you need. However, just because someone says they’re a handyman, doesn’t mean they are. How do you keep from getting ripped off?
Here are five ways to ensure you select the best handyman for your home improvement projects.
1. Research Them
It’s important to know about the person you are inviting into your home and allowing access to vital utilities. Thanks to the Internet, finding out about someone – and especially a professional – is a lot easier than digging up your old CIA contacts or hiding in someone’s bushes.
Yelp not only advertises professionals but also offers reviews on each, allowing you to view what previous customers think about your potential handyman.
– Angie’s List.
This site is ideal for advertising freelancers such as handymen, as it offers rankings on their work and even eliminates the profiles of scammers to help you avoid fakes.
2. See if They Have the Right Experience
By personally interviewing the handyman either face to face, on the phone, or via email, you can ask them if they have worked on jobs similar to yours and if they have an education in the fields you need. Perhaps they’ve done one or two plumbing jobs, but if your project is crucial, perhaps you need more experience than that.
Most professionals keep a detailed portfolio of the work they’ve done, so it’s perfectly fair to ask to see it. This portfolio can range from customer testimonials to photographs of the work itself, and with the ability to review this firsthand, you can personally assess their capabilities.
– Broader experience.
The best handyman is the one who can offer more than just one service. Most handymen have worked on a range of different projects beyond just plumbing, garage door repair, and so on, meaning they have an eye for things other professionals may not. For example, if they notice a wiring problem while they’re working on your garage door, they can offer to assist in this matter as well. This not only offers you a warning for the electric problem which may have been overlooked, but now you can offer them an additional project of handling this issue.
3. See If They Have the Proper Qualifications
Before you choose any handyman, it’s important to know they’re both licensed and bonded for the project. The necessary licenses and bonds vary from state to state and country to country, so be sure to do some research to know what is required and then ask your potential handyman to produce the proper qualifications. This only saves you future legal issues, but also stands as a testament to the professionalism and capability of the handyman.
4. Be Thorough
You are trusting someone to come into your home and either fix or improve elements of your home, rather than damage them. It’s important to leave no stone unturned in the vetting process.
– Have options.
When you’re searching for a handyman, be sure to have multiple options available to you and vet each individually. This shows you the range of services and guarantees that each offers, and prevents you from being trapped with a bad professional simply because they were your only option. Should the one you select not turn out well, you can always go to another rather than paying more or being stuck with poor work. As an added bonus, when you speak with each, you can make it clear that other options for the job are being considered, encouraging competition and motivating each to offer you a better service.
– Get it in writing.
Most important of all, be sure that every agreement is detailed down in black and white. Without a written agreement detailing what should be done, unprofessional handymen have the option of only doing a portion of the work or doing the entire project poorly, and then demanding payment while you are left with unsatisfying results.
5. Be Wary If They…
Scammers have patterns, and often times an unprofessional handyman will give cues to their unsatisfying service before you ever hire them. If they do these few things, you should consider someone else:
– Contact you unsolicited.
There are many ways to advertise, and most quality workers will acquire projects without blindly contacting potential clients. While this is not always the case, most scammers have no choice but to contact clients unsolicited, as they have earned a bad reputation elsewhere.
– Want payment upfront.
No handyman or contractor worth their salt expects to be paid before the project is completed. This was established long ago so that homeowners would feel more comfortable that their money would not be stolen away without satisfying results. If your handyman wants to be paid ahead of time, they likely have something sinister in mind – after all, they know where you live, so why would they be concerned about payment?
– Refuse to give you a solid quote.
If your handyman has worked in their field long enough, they will have a solid understanding of the work needed and its cost; if nothing else, professionalism will drive them to deliver a solid quote and stay with it. If someone refused, this should be a red flag. By hiring them and not deciding on a quote, you are essentially handing them a blank check you’ll be forced to sign later.
– Won’t sign a contract.
The most suspicious action of all is a person’s refusal to sign a contract. If the handyman is confident in the work they will do, is comfortable with you as a client, and is trustworthy in general, they will be willing to sign a contract to safeguard both parties. If they’re not, you should be concerned.
By using these tricks and techniques, you can find, vet, and hire a handyman who is perfect for your home improvement project.