Remodeling - Improvements - Maintenance & Repairs
MAINTENANCE - Handy Man or Home Improvement Contractor?
it's a difficult decision whether to bring in a handyman or home
improvement contractor. There can be a very big difference between
the two in terms of experience, capabilities, and knowledge. Knowing
when to use each is important.
Handywoman or Handyperson:
up the definition of a handyman brings insight into the type of
work this individual should be used for.
of handyman on the Web:
* a man skilled in various odd jobs and other small tasks (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
* A handyman, increasingly known as a handyperson or handywoman,
is a person skilled at a wide range of repairs, typically around
the home. ... (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handyman)
your job requires the repair or replacement of an existing item,
using a handyperson service may work well. This could be sheetrock
repair, hanging shelving, or caulking a tub to name a few tasks.
Handypersons are generally knowledgeable about a variety of small
repairs and maintenance items. I've heard the term "jack of
all trades" used when describing a handyman.
you're planning on hiring a handyman or woman for your home improvement
needs, you need to take the same precautions as with any contractor.
Obviously, businesses are out there to make money. While I believe
most companies operate within their strengths, others may take on
any job that provides a paycheck. If you're going to hire anyone
to tile your bathroom, renovate a basement, or install flooring,
ask for several references and see his or her portfolio of completed
jobs. Any quality contractor will have a portfolio that they're
eager to show off.
are thought to be cheaper than more highly skilled contractors.
In most cases this is not true. Any professionally run company has
overhead such as advertising, liability insurance, auto insurance,
utilities bills like phone and Internet, vehicle maintenance, investment
in tools. There is the weekly paycheck that everyone works. In all
truthfulness, you should be cautious about a person that charges
$25.00 per hour. Ever hear, "you get what you pay for"?
sure your contractor is both licensed and insured. If in doubt,
ask to see a copy of both. You may see handymen or handywomen advertising
for services that they are not legally able to do. Handypersons
may be willing to install a new dedicated line for your over the
range microwave. However, this is illegal. Just because they advertise
this service, does not make them legally able to provide it. Here
is a link to the NJ Department of Consumer Affairs. If you scroll
down, you'll see just how many complaints were lodged against handymen
advertising as an unlicensed plumber within this time period. http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/plumber/agenda/mpage_062509.htm.
A good handyperson knows his or her strengths and limitations and
works within both.
the years, the term handyman can bring up images of a shady, out
of work person looking to make a few bucks. This is simply not true.
Sure, as with any business, there are unreputable individuals. However,
there are also very competent workers capable of providing you with
a quality job. Do your homework and ask neighbors and friends who
they use. Referrals can be so helpful in hiring a contractor.
ago, my insurance company sent out an agent to look over my operation.
She asked me to open the van doors so she could look inside. After
inspecting the inside of the vans, she indicated that she was impressed
with the cleanliness of the inside and how everything was on the
shelves. She then told me that how a company keeps their equipment
tells her a lot about the company itself. I always remembered that.
Think about it this way... if you open the back doors of a service
truck and it's filled half way with trash and the tools are thrown
on top of each other, how much pride do you think that person will
take in their work?
you job requires improving your home to any significant degree,
you're better off going to a licensed home remodeling or improvement
contractor. One could say that being licensed by the state, makes
the person a home improvement contractor. Perhaps by definition,
yes. By experience and knowledge, maybe not. You can gather the
strengths of a company through their advertising and web site. Look
at the services offered and their completed jobs. Does their list
of services provided and their portfolio point toward what you're
looking to have done?
always considered a home improvement/remodeling contractor to be
an individual knowledgeable in improving a home through remodeling
and having the experience to professionally take on this task. They
have the resources, experience and knowledge. All three are necessary.
They have the right tools for the job. It's nothing for a home remodeling
contractor to own several thousand dollars worth of tools.
remodeling contractors do not want to be bothered with small repairs
or maintenance issues around the home. It may be that their business
is not geared for these types of jobs. A home builder may not want
to build your shed. He's very capable, but it's not his thing. His
operation is geared toward larger construction. Match your contractor
to your needs. Don't try to force a fit.
you can be unsure about who to use. As an example, do you hire a
plumber or home remodeling company to do your bathroom remodel.
If we break down the job, you find that the actual plumbing portion
is small compared to the rest of the job. The plumbing portion may
actually be minor plumbing and involve mostly replacement of existing
fixtures. The larger part can include sheetrock work, cement board
and underlayment installation, wall and floor tiling, cabinetry
and vanity installation, moulding, painting, towel bars, mirrors,
medicine cabinet, light fixtures, and bathroom fan.
home improvement contractor will provide all tasks and have the
resources to have the plumbing and electrical done as part of the
job. The home remodeling company's strength is the entire remodel
while the plumber's strengths may be limited to the actual plumbing
portion of the job. Since the remodeler can complete the bulk of
the job in-house, using less subcontractors, the price may be more
Blend Of Both:
are companies that provide home repair, maintenance, and improvement
services. This type of company will advertise accordingly. The upside
to establishing a relationship with this type of company gives you
the flexibility to have all your home related needs handled by one
individual or company. Through time, you establish a level of trust
and confidence and your contractor knows your home well.
personally established relationships with customer through small
repairs that led go complete bathroom and kitchen remodels. These
customers still call with their home repair problems. The fact that
they can count on one person for all their home related issues is
comforting to them.
when you decide to have something done around your home, carefully
weigh the pros and cons of the business you're about to call. Match
the company to your needs. There are so many choices out there and
companies have their own strengths and niches.
you're contemplating a remodel, request the contractor in for an
in-home consultation. Not the salesman, the contractor. You want
the person with the experience and knowledge discussing how you're
going to spend your hard earned money.
opinions expressed are that of the author, Thomas Libucki, and may
not reflect the opinion of others, including those in the home improvement
field. Anyone contemplating a home repair or improvement should
thoroughly check out the contractor using all resources available
to them. This may include State, County, and Township resources.
Hillsborough NJ - Somerset County
Flemington NJ - Hunterdon County