Should you hire a contractor or a handyman?

When you're thinking of hiring someone for home repairs, how do you know where to start?

Angie Hicks, of consumer group Angie's List, says they can help.

"It can be really confusing as to who you need to hire for a particular project. Is it a general contractor? Is it a handyman? Or is it someone in a specialized trade? It comes down to knowing exactly the list of things you want to have done and making sure you find someone with the right skill set, training and licensing in order to do that particular task."

Angie's List recommends making a list of what you need done.  Then you'll be able to reference that list when you call to make an appointment.

Hicks says,   "A good rule of thumb when deciding whether you use a handyman or general contractor depends on the size of the job. If you have small honey-do list type things that are usually billed out, for example, on an hourly rate that fits the bill for a handyman. When you're thinking about a general contractor, that's when thinking of remodeling my kitchen, adding a sunroom, things like that which are longer projects that are going to involve multiple types of trade people is where the general contractor comes into play."

According to Angie's List:
· A handyman/handywoman service can be a great choice for home repairs, especially for homeowners who need help with smaller jobs, or those who have a variety of projects. Some of these tradesmen and women can even tackle complicated jobs that include electrical and plumbing work - but be sure they are licensed for those trades if it's required in your area.
· A contractor tends to concentrate on larger jobs or a more specialized field that could require a license or special certification.  These jobs may last several weeks or months, whereas a handyman's work may be done in just a few hours.

Regardless of who you hire, Angie's List says you should look at these three things:
1. The company's reputation
2. Does the company have the appropriate training, license and insurance?
3. Does the company have a real address where you can contact later should something go wrong?

Angie's List offers these tips to get the most cost-effective work from your handyman and/or contractor:
· Prepping your home may save you money - especially if the handyman/contractor charges by the hour. For example, if there's an issue with your sink, remove all the items from underneath it.
· Know what's included in the price. Ask if they charge a flat rate or by the hour. Are they charging you a trip fee?
· Anything you can purchase or organize ahead of time may save you time and money. For example, if you're willing to go to the store and purchase the bathroom faucet yourself, the company can get more done in less time.
· Hiring a handyman may not be cheaper than hiring a specialized professional: a professional plumber may be able to diagnose and fix your problem much quicker than a handyman and if it is complex at all, you might need that licensed professional rather than a generalist.



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