Handyman vs Licensed Contractor - Knowing Which You Need

Though their abilities may sometimes overlap, knowing the difference between a handyman and a licensed contractor is important for anyone looking to do work on his or her home. When it comes time to hire one of these professionals, it is always best if you know which one is right for the job. If you hire the wrong professional, you could end up paying more than is necessary, or even worse you could put your project at risk. The key to remember about handymen versus licensed contractor is that they are very different individuals.

Rather than compare these two trades outrights, the sections below help to break down each individual profession and examine when he or she would be used. The simple fact is that a licensed contractor should never have to perform the work of a handyman, and a handyman should never be performing the work of a licensed contractor. Keep in mind that neither a handyman nor a licensed contractor is a plumber or electrician. If you need specialized work done in one of these areas, you should always hire the appropriate specialist.

What does a Handyman do?

The name handyman is the most appropriate name for the job. With no formal qualifications, licenses, or certificates needed, a handyman is simply someone who is exceptionally skilled at performing certain tasks around the house. The main factor to distinguish a handyman is that he will typically take any job, no matter how small.

Typically, a handyman will be an individual, have one or two assistants, or work for a large handyman company. Regardless of where you find your handyman, just keep in mind that without formal qualifications needed, it is best to screen candidates to make sure they can do what you need done. Ultimately though, a handyman should be able to tackle just about anything you throw his way.

These professionals are used to handling anything from painting a room to patching a hole in a wall to changing a hard-to-reach light bulb. Ultimately, the handyman is like the utility player on a baseball team. He may not be the best at any one thing (though he may be!) but he will be good at a large variety of small jobs.

The bottom line is that a handyman can be a relatively inexpensive asset to help you overcome of the basic household problems that arise. On the other hand, larger renovations or major overhauls should be referred to a contractor. A handyman will rarely work with more than two people, and any job that sounds like you would never be able to do, is probably not a job for a handyman.

How about a Licensed Contractor?

A licensed contractor acts as a kind of ring leader for large construction projects. If you want to remodel a kitchen, bathroom, or basement, a licensed contractor is the individual you will contact to get the ball rolling. Unlike a handyman, these professionals have to keep up with licensing requirements and consider the big picture of construction projects.

In most cases, a licensed contractor will have the assistance of a team of people, which varies depending on the project. For example, if the contractor needs to work on a kitchen renovation he will need to have a plumber and a cabinet installer at the very least, and most likely he will also have the help of an electrician, a floorer and some demolition crew members. On the other hand, if a home entertainment center is being installed for a basement renovation, the contractor will probably just need an electrician, a builder, and a floorer.

When it comes down to doing the actual work, the licensed contractor will typically be on the sidelines. Think of the contractor as a kind of coach, and the formation of his team depends on the project that he needs to work on. If the project is something that one man can handle, it is probably not right to be contacting a licensed contractor.

The bottom line is that a licensed contractor is really someone reserved to performing full projects or renovation jobs rather than single tasks. They will usually carry much larger insurance policies, and give you a much more detailed plan. At the same time, the service of a licensed contractor is understandably much more expensive than those of a handyman.

Very Different Roles

In all reality, a handyman doesn't have any real measurable qualifications. Instead, he or she is simply performing a repair or maintenance task that he or she has been accustomed to doing. Like the name would suggest, a handyman is handy, but he does not necessarily have any more skills than you do. Rather, he is a great set of hands should you want to undertake a small project without devoting any of your own time.

On the other hand, a contractor is licensed and has knowledge of a variety of large-scale projects. These contractors are trained professionals who are going to be fully insured and ready to tackle those projects that a handyman simply cannot help with. Sometimes, this contractor will work alone, and sometimes he will have a team to back him up.

Ultimately, the easiest way to decide whether you need a handyman or a licensed contractor is to look at the scope of your project. If you are considering a simple task that you could perform yourself, you definitely do not need a contractor, and in some cases the insurance that a contractor holds will not even cover should he mess up in this capacity. Instead, if you are looking to do a major renovation, a handyman will typically not even be qualified to help with your project.

Always keep the key differences in mind whenever you consider hiring any service professional. When you need a quick job done, hire a handyman. When you need a large project, consider a contractor. In the end, just remember that one does not equal the other, so choosing the right one can make a difference.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

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