There are a lot of honest professionals and skilled craftsmen, but also a lot of shady characters involved in the home repair and remodeling industry.
Deciding which handyman to hire can sometimes be challenging for the homeowner.
Of course everyone wants a great service for a great price. Unfortunately the best price is not always the best choice. We at The Birmingham Handyman believe that quality service at a fair price is the combination to look for when hiring the right handyman.
If you are not familiar with the handyman’s work, how do you judge quality and how do you know if the price is fair?
Consider the following guidelines when making your decision.
Take notice of professionalism. Your prospective handyman should be comfortable in conversation. If he seems nervous or uncomfortable, he may not know what he is doing. An experienced professional will be knowledgeable and at ease when discussing your project. Professionals conduct themselves with confidence, maturity, and manners.
Take notice of punctuality. If your handyman is late for the estimate he may not be reliable when the time comes to do your job. You want someone that will show up on time and finish your job on schedule.
Appearance is important. If your proposed handyman looks sloppy and lazy, it would be a reasonable assumption that his work will be sloppy as well. A professional handyman should be clean cut and neatly dressed.
Ask to see previous work. A professional handyman usually has a scrap book or web page with photos to show off his work. If the handyman doesn’t offer to show you any pictures, ask if he has any for you to look at.
Ask about a warranty. Anyone can say “we stand behind our work” but what you want is a written warranty. The Birmingham Handyman automatically includes a full 2 year warranty in writing with every work order. Most other reputable handymen warranty their workmanship for 1 year. A handyman that does not offer a written warranty is probably not a professional.
Ask about liability insurance. It is advisable to only hire an insured handyman no matter how small your project may be. The handyman’s liability insurance policy protects you and your property in case of an accident.
Get it in writing. Get all of your estimates and quotes in writing to insure that everyone is bidding on the same thing. Take all details of each quote into consideration. For example “2 coats of paint” or “treated lumber” or “haul away all debris”. The details can effect the overall cost of your project and the plans of each bidder will sometimes vary. Also, quotes should always specify “materials and labor” or “labor only”.
Is the price fair. If you get several bids on a project, they should all be relatively close in costs. If you have a wide range of prices, you may not necessarily want to go with the cheapest one. Often, the handyman who’s price is too low does not know what he is doing. Suppose you had three estimates for let’s say, painting a room. You have them all in writing and each one specifies “paint master bedroom, walls only, one coat latex paint”. The prices are $65.00, $188.00 and $196.00. The $65.00 handyman probably doesn’t know what he is doing. Since the other two are so close, it would be safe to assume they are fair. If the prices were $188.00, $196.00 and $400.00, then the $400.00 handyman is too far out of range in the other direction. This high dollar handyman is not offering a fair price for his work.
AFTER YOU DECIDE WHO TO HIRE FOR YOUR PROJECT
There are some very important things to remember after you choose your handyman.
(With The Birmingham Handyman, all aforementioned and following items are standard policy).
Make sure you have a written contract. It is very important to have a written contract when you hire a handyman or any other serviceman. The contract should clearly state the services to be performed and the cost of the services. The contract should also specify any payment terms and who will be supplying the materials for your project. Furthermore, if your handyman is insured and does not have a signed contract, you will not be covered under his policy.
Get a receipt for any payments you make. Sometimes it is necessary to make a down payment or pay a deposit before work begins. Always get a written receipt for any payment or deposit, more importantly if you pay with cash. When your project is finished, get a written receipt for your final payment.