Skip to main content

6 essential questions to ask a handyman before you hire them

When your home is in disrepair, it can be a big stressor. If you’re a capable DIYer, you may be able to make home repairs on your own, but some jobs are best left to someone with specific areas of expertise. That’s where a handyman can be a big help. They can save you time and effort and even save you money that you would have spent on new tools for the job. Most of all, a quality handyman will do quality work and you’ll be happier with the result. Here’s how to find a great handyman for those pesky home repairs.

handyman with a yellow tool belt
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Types of jobs a local handyman could help with

Handymen tend to be jacks of all trades, and most minor home repairs are within their scope of abilities. Whether the job you need to be done is too time-consuming, requires tools you don’t have on hand, or is simply too advanced for your DIY capabilities, here are some common projects that a handyman near you should be able to complete.

  • Minor electrical and plumbing jobs
  • Various home repairs
  • Small-scale landscaping and yard work
  • Outdoor repairs
  • Emergency repairs

Questions to ask a local handyman

When it comes to deciding on the right handyman for your job, it’s important to ask questions beyond what price they’ll charge for the project and how long it will take. Asking the right questions before hiring a handyman will save you from paying too much in hourly fees, materials, or possibly even fines for code violations and further repairs for botched jobs. Here’s what you should ask before committing.

Do you have experience with this type of work?

Learning about each handyman’s background will be essential to decide if they are right for the job and if their rate is acceptable. Have them discuss past jobs similar to the one you need to be performed. Ask them what problems they’ve run into and what your options are, and ask to see pictures of finished products from their past work.

Do you have a flat rate or an hourly rate?

Depending on the repair, an hourly rate may inflate the cost of your project, particularly if the job is prone to issues. Make sure you understand exactly what the handyman’s services will cost you, and see if they’re willing to put it in writing.

Does your rate include materials?

Another aspect that might jack up the job’s cost is buying materials. Sometimes handymen have contracts with material suppliers and can get a better deal than you can.

What additional costs could come along with this project?

Unforeseen expenses are always a concern with home repair projects. A good handyman should be able to prepare you for issues and roadblocks that could hike up the cost of the job.

Are you licensed for this type of work?

When certain jobs need to be up to code, like plumbing or electrical work, it’s important to employ a licensed professional. Many handymen have valid certifications and licenses for more complex work, but others may just be overconfident. Particularly if you plan to sell your home in the future, you want to make sure the work you’re having done is completed legitimately.

Do you have insurance?

This question is crucial, particularly if the work you’re having done is dangerous. Electrical work poses substantial health risks, for example, so making sure your handyman is insured will help protect you from legal costs.

Handyman hammering wood planks
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How should I search for a handyman near me?

While it’s true that you can do an internet search to find a handyman in your area, and you may even be able to see ratings and reviews for their work, you should put in a little extra time before hiring one. Asking family and friends for recommendations is a great first step. You’ll be able to put more trust in their work, and having a stranger in your home can be a bit more comfortable if you have an acquaintance in common.

We also recommend hopping on social media to find local groups or pages associated with handyman services and home renovation. People in your area have likely shared information regarding their successes and failures when hiring a service professional.

One final method of finding a great handyman is to contact a local real estate agent. Realtors often help clients get minor repairs done to get the home ready for sale. Ask which local handymen they’ve used and if they would recommend them.

Some home repairs have quick and easy DIY fixes, but others can be a pain in the neck to do yourself. Handyman services are convenient and often quite affordable, but hiring a handyman shouldn’t be taken lightly. With this guide, you’ll not only save time and money on your repair, but feel confident that your handyman will do quality work.

Editors' Recommendations

Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
The house maintenance tasks homeowners think first-time buyers should know
A few considerations when buying your first home
try these 11 bathroom diys you can do in one hour plumber

Buying a home for the first time isn't for the faint of heart. There are so many decisions you need to make and so many considerations to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line. The biggest worry (beyond the biggest financial investment you're making) is what you don't know, especially regarding house maintenance. Luckily, we have the expertise of those who have come before us.

Redditor theforeverletter recently posed this question on the r/Home Improvement subreddit: "Homeowners who have been doing this for [a while], what regular maintenance do people need to do to their house they don’t know they should be doing? For those of you who know far more than me, I bought a house last year; what things do I/other first-time homeowners need to do to keep up with everything we may not know? Of course, this depends on the house (Septic/city water crawl space/no crawl space) and things can vary, but happy to learn as much as I can!" Hundreds of people were happy to share their advice, and we've taken some of the most popular, so you know what to look out for.

Read more
The November home maintenance checklist everyone needs
Fall home maintenance checklist for your interior, exterior, and landscape
White two-story house with autumn leaves in the front yard

Another hot summer has passed, and the temperatures are dropping. As winter draws near, don’t be caught off guard by an early freeze. During the fall, it's important to devote some time to quick home maintenance to prepare you and your home for the colder season.

November home maintenance will keep you on track and ahead of the changing weather, not to mention the fast-approaching holiday season. If you have that nagging feeling there's something you’ve forgotten about, we can help. Use this fall home maintenance checklist to get organized and get it done.

Read more
The best wallpaper paste for your home and room makeovers
A guide to the best wallpaper pastes on the market
Wallpaper paste

Wallpaper paste is absolutely key when adhering wall covers to surfaces in home decorating projects. With wallpaper paste, you can also stick wall murals and decals onto your accent wall more easily than with standard office glue. To save you time on researching the right wallpaper paste, we’ve reviewed the best options here so you can decide quickly.

Standard wall pastes can be applied onto the back of any light to heavy wall coverings. Stronger alternatives include commercial-grade pastes designed to be used with pasting machines. Other options include tubed pastes for repairing small spots and pastes for mounting other types of wallpaper. Take a look at our favorite wallpaper paste picks to help you find the best product for your next wall redesign.

Read more