How to Choose a Contractor/Handyman

For those times when you don’t have the time or knowledge to do the home improvement yourself, you need to know how to choose a professional to do it for you.  One thing I want to make clear, I have met great contractors and great handymen, so don’t be afraid to hire someone who doesn’t have their CCB license.  I’ve also met some terrible contractors and terrible handymen so always make sure to do your homework.


The CCB license is the main license for contractors and when you’re trying to choose a contractor, you can reference their license number with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints about them.  Handymen don’t have an equivalent but there are still ways to choose one over the other such as reviews online.


Reviews of these professionals are invaluable.  There are several review sites but word from friends is my main source of information.  Anybody can leave reviews, both good and bad, on their contractor or handyman.  I tend to look for professionals with several reviews and if they do several types of projects, look for those reviews that are for a project similar to yours.  A contractor with stunning reviews on roofing won’t necessarily remodel your bathroom well.


Most important is that you should always get several bids for a project.  Most professionals give free or low cost estimates for what a project would cost and this allows you to easily compare services and pricing.  I recommend getting at least three bids for a project but don’t get more than five, that’s just too many to sort through.


Two aspects that I think are vital to a good relationship with contractors or handymen is that they are easy to get ahold of for questions and that they are timely.  After all, you’re hiring this professional because you are already busy and aren’t sure what you’re doing.  They have to communicate well with you and finish the job on time or it will add more stress to yourself.


Payment is a sticky matter.  For starters, don’t pay the entire cost of the project up front.  Sometimes, if expensive materials are necessary, a contractor will require a small portion up front.  If you can, for your protection, wait until the job is done to make payment.  You should NEVER pay the whole amount for a job until the job is completely done and you are happy with the results.


Always look for reviews and costs from several sources.  Ask your friends and look online to see what reviews your professional has received.  Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions when you are meeting with the contractor or handyman to go over your project.  You are the customer and it is your home that is involved so you can never over-communicate.

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