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Handyman vs. contractor

Whom should you hire: handyman or general contractor?

The answer largely depends on the scope of the work. If you need help with a honey-do list, consider a handyman or handywoman. If the project is rather complex, consider a contractor.

A general contractor and a handyman may offer similar abilities, but in general, the handyman focuses on smaller jobs that can be done in a few hours, a day or a couple of days. A contractor typically manages larger projects that require significant coordination over weeks or months.

Specialized trades, such as plumber or electrician, require specific training and, in most states, a license. If you hire someone who isn’t appropriately licensed or trained and experienced, you could end up with problems, including eventually having to pay to have work redone to meet local code requirements.

Someone with a general contractor’s license may be your best bet to manage a project that requires extensive time, specialized machinery and multiple workers with varying levels of expertise and licensure requirements, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition.

A qualified handyman can often tackle several smaller projects that don’t require special training or licensing.

Some handyman businesses employ licensed electricians or other pros, or feature an owner or manager with a general contractor’s license. These companies will have more flexibility to handle a wider range of jobs.

Handymen can be less expensive to hire, in part because they usually have less overhead. They often charge by the day or hour.

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