When something is broken in and around your rental property units that needs immediate action, be it a repair or a replacement, and when you simply don’t have the tools or skills to do it yourself, you’ll need to call someone to do the job for you. As a landlord or property manager, you have two options – you can either hire a handyman or find a contractor. But what is the difference between these two and what does this mean for your budget?
Weighing the Choice Between Hiring A Handyman and an Independent Contractor
A handyman is someone without a license trade but is very experienced and equipped in general work around the house. An independent contractor on the other hand, is a licensed professional in his work, meaning he has undergone apprenticeship, worked for and received a certificate and has the insurance and the license required to deliver the particular tasks.
It can be really confusing to choose between the two. Do you just need a handyman for a general work or a contractor in a specialized trade? This boils down to knowing what you exactly need; the tasks you need accomplished, the skills, training and license necessary to deliver and complete the task efficiently.
Obviously, it is cheaper to hire a handyman for maintenance work in and around your rental property units. Generally speaking, a professional contractor can be expensive. A handyman may not have the necessary training and expertise than a professional contractor, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do the job right. If quality and insurance is important for you, then it may be best not to skip corners.
Know What You Really Need
Before you pick up the phone and start calling people for help in your maintenance or repair needs, it is best to have a list of the things you need to be done. A good rule of thumb when deciding between hiring a handyman or an independent contractor is to understand the size of the job. If you only need a minor repair and some small honey-do list types of tasks that are generally billed out, then an hourly-rate handyman can be enough. If you need a professional for a major task, such as kitchen remodeling, addition of sunroom, and the likes, then you need an independent contractor, as these are longer projects that need more thorough planning and implementation.
For small home repairs and maintenance, then a handyman can be a more practical choice, as they are cheaper overall however, the down side is he works full-time. Independent contractors on the other hand, are perfect for big projects that take days or even weeks to accomplish. They are one-time services, and depending on the task, the specialty of the contractor and area, they can be expensive each and every time.
Your decision boils down depending on the number of rental units you have and the complexity of the task you want to get done. Also, not all handymen and contractors are made the same. Therefore you need to spend a little time researching for the best guy for the job. Your best bet is to scope out reviews on professional services like Angie’s List.
It’s easy to settle for the cheapest service available, but like many things in life, you should never compromise quality over a couple of dollars. As the old maxim says “you get what you pay for.”