Hire the Best Handyman for the Job
Good help can be hard to find, especially in the world of home repair and renovation. They can’t all be Mike Holmes, so try these tips to get the best value for your money the next time you need to hire a repair person.
Choose your plumber, then your fixtures
If your plumber is charging you by the hour to install new bathroom or kitchen fixtures, here’s a sure way to save money. Ask him what brand he likes best. Chances are this will be a common, dependable brand that he’s very familiar with.
Choose models made by this brand, and he’ll install them more efficiently, saving time and money by not having to struggle through detailed instructions about what washers go where and what size wrench he needs to tighten everything. Also, he’s more likely to install products correctly if he’s already done it countless times before, and that will save you repair costs in the long run.
Hire a qualified electrician
A handyman can be a real help when it comes to tackling small jobs you don’t have time to complete, or skilled jobs you just don’t feel comfortable attempting. You may even be tempted to give your handyman small wiring jobs or other electrical work. Before you do, however, make sure he is licensed to do electrical work (if local code requires it) and that his work is up to snuff.
“You get the wrong guy messing around with your electrical wiring-someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing-and you’re in trouble,” says Jim Abbott, owner of Handyman Matters in Toronto, Ontario.
The mistakes, which can be dangerous, are hidden behind walls or within electrical panels. Look for red flags, such as light switches and outlets in strange places.
“I’ve seen it,” Abbott says. “A guy runs out of wire and puts a switch at eye level or an outlet halfway up the wall.”
Ask your handyman for a guarantee
“A lot of handymen give their customers the tailgate warranty,” says Jim Abbott. “They drive away in their pickup truck with your cash in pocket, and all you see is their tailgate disappearing. That’s it. That’s your warranty.”
Instead, ask them if they’ll guarantee their work for up to a year. If they will, get it in writing. If they won’t, take their reluctance as a red flag.
Shorten that repair visit
Any repairperson who is paid by the hour will happily lounge around your house chatting up a storm or watching you get organized. The clock is ticking, after all, and that kind of work is oh-so-easy. With a little forethought, however, you can make sure that every minute of a repairperson’s visit is nose-to-the-grindstone productive.
- Discuss all of the details of the job over the telephone-while the clock isn’t ticking. This also ensures that the worker will arrive with all of the necessary tools and materials.
- Clear away any obstructions in advance of the repairperson’s arrival, and make sure there’s proper light for the worker to see by.
- Check the house over for all tasks that this particular repairperson could handle-thus saving you service charges in the future.
- Tell the worker not to bother cleaning up. Cleanup is never done to your specifications anyway, is it? The worker will be out your door in a minimum of time-and your bill will be the minimum as well.