Small Home Repairs: Whom Should You Call?

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If you are like most of us, there are a number of small home repairs you’d love to take care of but can never seem to find the time to do. Unfortunately, many small home repairs are likely to turn into big service bills if left unchecked. However, there is a solution: If you don’t have the time to worry about every minor repair on your list, hiring a handyman service is a great way to get the job done without cutting into any of your free time.

The rise and fall (and new emergence) of the handyman company

Though it hasn’t always been true, good handyman companies aren’t hard to find. During the real estate boom of the eighties, many home improvement contractors wouldn’t take on a project worth less than $25,000. Handyman companies that used to focus solely on small home repairs weren’t in demand, so the handymen who worked for such companies started to work for larger contractors, thus stretching the available supply. Today, homeowners are focusing more of their home improvement dollar on keeping the things they already have in the best shape possible. Thus, the demand for handyman services is on the rise again.

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The cost of small home repairs

It’s easy to think hiring a handyman will be cheaper than a contractor, but this assumption is only true in certain situations. Handyman services are hired to perform multiple small home repairs and can cost less as a result; however, if you have a one specific, complex problem, the specialist is generally the way to go. For example, if you have a stair that squeaks or a faucet that drips, hiring a handyman is probably your best bet. On the other hand, if you have a whole set of stairs to replace or a house full of two-pronged outlets that need to be upgraded, you’re better off hiring a pro.

The reasoning is simple. Having several small home repairs handled by a single handyman company is going to be cheaper than hiring three or four specialists. On the other hand, when dealing with a single severe problem, the specialized contractor will often have the equipment and expertise to more efficiently make the repair. You should also keep in mind that if any “small” home repair is valued at over $500, your state may require that you hire a properly licensed contractor.

List all small repairs before you call a handyman company

If you decide to hire a handyman company, it is a good idea to make sure you have your list of small repairs ready. Handyman companies aren’t cheap if they have to charge several “show-up” fees. Taking a close inventory of every small repair will eliminate the need for multiple visits. Additionally, many small home repairs require a considerable amount of setup. For example, when fixing holes in drywall, you have to first prepare some joint compound. Since there is little difference in preparing enough for one large hole and preparing enough for one large hole and six small ones, making a list of these smaller holes allows you to basically have them fixed for free.

What small repairs are handyman companies likely to fix?

The beauty of the handyman company is that most are pretty flexible when it comes to defining what constitutes a “small” home repair. Of course, faulty faucets and sticking doors are handyman-friendly projects, but if you have something a little more substantial or obscure, they’re likely to be able to handle that, too. Going over your list before your handyman is at your doorstep is essential, however, if you want the most effective and quickest repairs possible. While a handyman might be able to mend everything from a plugged shower drain to a rickety antique bed-frame, there’s a good chance that he or she won’t have every tool for every project in the van—that means trips to the hardware store while they’re still on the clock.

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