Sometimes it can be confusing to tell the difference between a handyman vs. contractor. After all, both of these professions do home repair work. So how can you tell whether you need a handyman or a contractor?
Let’s look at the differences in several key areas.
How big is the job?
Generally, a general handyman service provides a wide range of services and skills designed for smaller jobs. And a residential contractor is licensed to handle bigger home improvement jobs that are potentially more dangerous or that require a higher level skill set.
A handyman company may have a list of services like this:
- Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or toilets.
- Deck repair.
- Repairing drywall
- Small paint jobs or touch-ups.
- Hanging a TV on the wall.
- Gutter cleaning.
- Hanging blinds or drapes.
- Replacing a light switch.
- Installing a ceiling fan.
- Installing a bathroom fan.
- Replacing a faucet.
- Light bulb replacement.
- Mirror and picture hanging.
- Doorknob, hinges, or cabinet hardware replacement.
- Door or window installation.
A general contractor may do more involved types of work
This includes work they hire out to subcontractors.
- Carpentry work, including building a new deck, adding on a new room, doing major structural renovations to an existing room or house plan.
- Major plumbing work like replacing all the pipes under the house, plumbing a new room, moving a sink or toilet, etc…
- Major electrical work like replacing the wiring in the house or rewiring a room, installing a new electrical panel, etc…
- Larger projects around the house.
- New construction.
- Major structural renovations or additions.
Home Advisor shares some helpful information to discern the difference between when to hire a handyman and a general contractor (GC):
Here are some quick rules of thumb:
- If the job is going to take more than a week, hire a GC.
- If the job requires several different pros to complete, hire a GC.
- If the job requires a few permits, hire a GC.
Some handyman businesses are licensed and some are not. All contractors should be licensed in the state of SC, although other states may have different licensing requirements. Even though finding a home improvement service may be challenging, it is wise to hire a licensed and insured local handyman for smaller jobs or a licensed general contractor for bigger jobs.
How Much Does the Job Cost?
A home handyman costs a lot less, generally than a contractor, because he doesn’t have to have as high a skill set as the contractor does, the jobs are smaller, and he doesn’t have to carry as much liability insurance or pay as much for training and licensing. He is doing the small jobs, not the big jobs so a handyman charges less money.
If you hire a general contractor to do routine maintenance in your home, you may find you end up paying a lot more than you need to for his handyman service list. Save hiring a general contractor for the really big things, a residential contractor is not the best handyman option.
Hiring a contractor for small jobs is like hiring a neurosurgeon to sew up a few stitches on your forehead. Of course, he can do the job. But you are going to pay a lot more than you would if you had a family doctor do it.
So if you just need a small job done, it makes sense to find a good handyman near you. You can save a lot of money by finding a handyman to work on a honey-do list or other home maintenance projects that you have been putting off because you don’t have the time, desire, or experience to do them yourself.
Often, you can ask a handyman for hourly rates so he can knock out a lot of jobs for you in just a few hours. Other times for certain small jobs, a handyman may provide a flat rate upfront.
Are You Looking for a Licensed Handyman Near You in the Midlands of SC?
We are a small business—locally owned and operated—offering handyman services. We have years of experience in maintenance and repair work around the home.
Why spend all your free time working on house projects when you could free up your time for the things that really matter in life?
We’d love to save you time, frustration, and stress by helping you knock out your honey-do list—handyman business is our thing!
Need a handyman in the greater Columbia, SC area?
Contact us today!
Our service area includes:
Lexington, Irmo, Columbia, Forest Acres, Cayce, and West Columbia.