6 Tips to Hiring a Great Handyman For First Time Landlords
How to Hire a Great Handyman
Hiring a quality handyman can be tough and many people have had bad experiences with handymen. A lot of times they won’t show up, they won’t return phone calls, and a lot of them, if given the chance will overcharge you…
Here are 6 tips to hiring a great handyman
Tip 1. Create a to-do list of all the work that needs to be completed before you make any calls.
Your list can include: leaky faucet, cabinet door falling off, phone jack moved, etc. If you keep this list handy while you are making prospective phone calls, you will be able to give the handyman a better idea of all the work that needs to be done in your unit. They will know the scope of the job before they enter your home. Not all handymen consider themselves a jack-of-all-trades and most will tell you if particular jobs are outside of their realm of expertise.
Tip 2. Start your list of handyman prospects.
The simplest way to begin your search is to check your local paper or phone book and look up “home repair”. However, “simplest” doesn’t mean “best”. Most of the best handymen don’t advertise because they don’t have to. Because if you are a good handyman, you will earn a reputation that keeps you busier than you have hours in the day. After a short time, they no longer have a need to advertise. They receive word of mouth referrals and can stay busy all year if they are really good.
How do you find these “diamond” handymen? Simple. Ask around. You can ask your neighbors, call a local apartment manager or friends who live nearby.
Secret Tip: try contacting a Realtor that specializes in selling rehab properties or flipping properties. They will not only know handymen that do good work, but do it on time and for a cost.
Tip 3. Ask questions before you even invite a handyman for a bid.
Some questions include:
– How do you price your work?
– Do you give free estimates? If not, how much and does that apply to
– Does you charge by the hour or by the job?
– Do you have a minimum amount of time that you work? For example, if it is a really small job and takes him only 15 minutes, some handymen will have a 2 hour minimum, so make sure you ask.
Make note of everyone’s hourly rate. Ask if they charge a mark up for materials. Sometimes they will charge 10-20% above cost for materials they have to go get. If this it true, ask if you can buy them yourself and have them installed by the handyman. If so, most handymen will tell you exactly what you need.
Tip 4. Get a minimum of three estimates.
Don’t always pick the least expensive one. You will usually find the middle bid to be the best combination of skill, experience and cost.
Tip 5. Get your bid put down on paper.
Look at your estimate and make sure it states everything you have agreed to: labor, materials, job due date, etc.
Tip 6. Do not pay for everything up front.
Any handyman worth his weight in salt will expect partial payment up front with additional payments to come during the course of the job. Final payment should only be made once the job is completed satisfactorily.
Stirling Gardner (The Hollywood Landlord) is a writer and property management expert.
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