Every landlord and property manager needs to know how to hire a handyman for rental property. A handyman is somebody who is hired to do manual work like repairs or painting around the house.
Before you go out enlisting the first handyman you find, there are a few things you should consider. If you don’t do your due diligence, you’ll end up hiring someone that either makes the problem worse or does a terrible job.
How to Hire a Handyman – the First Thing to Consider
What kind of work is being done? Will it be on the inside of the house or outside? How much time do you want the handyman to take while doing it?
The reason you need to ask these questions boils down to one main question – do you need an expert, or will a handyman suffice? Most handymen are not professionals of a particular field. If it’s a relatively small job and you are in a hurry, a handyman may work. If it’s a very big job or you aren’t in a huge rush to have it done, it might make more sense to hire a professional.
Pros of Hiring a Handyman
- Handymen tend to be much cheaper than a general contractor or specialist
- Handymen have more experience than you do, meaning they can usually do a faster, better job
- Handymen are often certified to do specialized work such as plumbing or electrical but cost less than someone more specialized
- Once you find a great handyman, they can help you maintain multiple properties
Cons of Hiring a Handyman
- It’s more expensive than doing it yourself
- They won’t have as much experience on a specific task as someone who does it every day
- Often work solo, meaning there is no team to back them up or make the work go faster
When Does it Make Sense to Skip the Handyman and Do it Yourself?
There is always an odd activity or two (or three) that needs to be done around the rental property. If you are tight on funds and relatively handy, it might make sense to just do it yourself. Thanks to the internet and DIY books at stores like Home Depot, it’s pretty easy to teach yourself how to do something.
If you have a lot of time on your hands, this is probably your most solid option. That said, if you’re looking at this post then you probably realize how valuable time is, and you’d rather hire someone else to do the work. The next section will go over where to find someone to do the work.
Where to Find a Handyman
In general, there are three main ways to find a handyman for your rental property. The first is to use your network. Ask your friends, family, neighbors, and other associates if they have anyone they can recommend. Assuming you trust their judgment, this is a great way to get started.
The second way is to use sites like Angie’s List. The great thing about these contractor sites is you get to see reviews from previous customers. Contractors also get ratings, making it easier to find the best quickly.
If push comes to shove, you can use other, more general sites like Google or Craigslist. Google is good and will have some reviews, but it will often be less than Angie’s List. Unfortunately, Craigslist will not have any customer reviews you can look at, so it’s a bit more of a shot in the dark.
Another way to find a local handyman is to reach out to the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals. Ask them if they have someone in your area they can recommend. This is a great option because you can almost guarantee it will be a quality, certified contractor.
The Hiring Process
Once you’ve found a few contractors you want to reach out to, the next step is to actually reach out to them. Keep in mind that how they act on the phone is a good indicator of whether or not they’d be great to work with.
For example, are they polite when they answer? Do they answer your questions patiently, and seem eager to help? Or do they seem rushed or frustrated that you are bothering them?
It’s one thing if they’re at a job when they answer. In that case, don’t expect to get much time from them, as they’re trying to get their work done. But they should still be polite about setting up a follow-up phone call or visit your rental property.
Questions to Ask a Handyman
Before paying someone to work on your rental, drill down to understand them and their business a bit more. It will either help you feel more comfortable hiring them or more comfortable in moving on to someone else.
Here are a few questions to consider asking:
- Are you licensed?
- How long have you been in the business?
- Do you have any past clients as references I could talk to?
- Do you offer a guarantee on your work?
- Is this a team job, or are you an individual?
- Do you have liability insurance?
- Can you provide a written quote ahead of time?
- How did you come up with this price? Can you break it out piece by piece for me?
- How long will the project take?
- Do you have pictures of similar work you have done before you can show me?
Quality handymen will expect you to ask a lot of questions, especially on a big project. They realize you are concerned about your home, and will be patient and help you feel comfortable with the investment in their service.
How Much Does a Handyman Charge?
It all depends. But according to Home Advisor, the average price of a handyman project is $407. The range is usually between $182 and $657, but can be as low as $70 or as high as $1,200.
Hire Someone with Experience
Before enlisting a handyman, make sure they have experience with the type of project you’re hiring them for. You already covered this a bit while asking your questions, but it’s an important thing to dig into. Handymen often charge by the hour, so you don’t want someone who has no idea what they are doing. Amateurs will take longer and will do a lower quality job than someone with experience with that kind of task.
If you do hire an amateur, find some kind of way to make up for that inexperience. Maybe they give you a much lower rate than their competition. Or they can offer to come out and do the job immediately, rather than make you wait a few weeks for availability to open up.
Knowing how to hire a handyman for rental property is something that you won’t do often. Once you find a great one, you can keep using them again and again, allowing you to focus your time on other things. But when you’re on the hunt for that first one, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be happy with the result.