Do I need a handyman or a contractor?

The differences between hiring a handyman and a contractor:


When you are trying to find someone in Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura County to meet all of your home improvement needs, there are some projects a handyman may not be licensed to do. Specialized trades, such as a plumbing or electric work, require licensing, so check with your local licensing agency to see if the handyman is properly licensed, should your project require one. If not, you'll need to hire a specialized contractor who is. If not, you could be liable financially if damages occur. Or, if you try to sell the home, you could end up paying more to fix the issue so it meets local code requirements.

Large projects that take time, machinery and multiple workers, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition, often require a general contractor’s license. These types of projects often require multiple types of licensing and levels of expertise.

• A qualified handyman, though, can often tackle in one visit several smaller projects that don’t require licensing,

• A remodeling contractor and a handyman are essentially the same thing in terms of ability. Where a remodeling contractor and a handyman typically differ, generally, is the size and the scope of the work that they perform.

Handymen often charge by the day or hour and can be cheaper than a contractor because many small projects do not require multiple workers, and they usually do not have a lot of overhead costs. Some states have limits on how much work a contractor can do. In California, for example, a handyman is only allowed to do up to $500 worth of work per day.

• Handymen are very well-versed in a variety of small tasks due to the fact that they are exposed to many different minor challenges on a daily basis.

• Contractors are well-versed in a variety of larger tasks due to the fact that they are exposed to many larger challenges on a daily basis.

If a homeowner wants to keep the work scope limited, they should call a handyman. If the homeowner wants to get into a larger work scope, especially where walls are being removed, they call a remodeling contractor.

• The cost of a handyman project can range from $75 to $5,000 or more, depending on the scope, but many handyman projects can be as low as $50 to $400.

A general contractor, meanwhile, often has proven experience in construction. Both trades should be insured and bonded to perform work.

Published: by Tom Moor