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Handy Help
By Tracy Dickinson
home :: home & garden :: home trends

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Handy Help.

Times have changed since a homeowner was his (or her!) own handyman, patching the roof, glazing the windows, even repairing the plumbing. Few homeowners today have the time or the skill to tackle most of these tasks. That’s when you need some help you can rely on.

Whether you have a little repair job or a more ambitious project in mind, you don’t have to do it yourself these days. You might benefit from the skills of a professional handyman service, one that will do it all for you.

Why should you hire a handyman?

There are many new service-oriented businesses popping up these days that can truly do it all for you. Devan Kaufman of KC Handyman Service says, “Even though we also own Kaufman Construction, which is a remodeling company, we also wanted to add a handyman side to our business that could take on those little projects that nobody else wants to mess with.”

Homeowners don’t want to have to call a plumber, a drywaller, a flooring guy, and a painter just to replace the bathroom sink. Many people just don’t know anyone to call anymore because the trade professionals are so specialized. That’s when a good handyman service can come in handy.

“We have professional crews that do maintenance, painting, carpentry, minor electrical, even plumbing work,” says Kaufman. “There really isn’t a job too small for us to tackle, and we have the skilled staff to do the larger jobs as well.”

How do you find a handyman?

Kaufman emphasizes that hiring a handyman should be done the same way you’d hire a remodeler or builder—with some diligent research.

In fact, he recommends asking about items such as insurance, references, and services provided, as well as some issues many homeowners might not consider. “You want to find out how long a company’s been in business and what type of experience it has—how much the company does itself and how much will be subcontracted out. And does the company stand behind its work—what kind of insurance and warranty does it offer?” he says.

A reputable firm with skilled workers will provide references and assurances that someone with less experience can’t offer and will not only be licensed, but will be insured to cover any damage or accidents.

Kaufman notes, “One suggestion we always give to our clients is to start with a small job before hiring someone for a larger project.” A handyman who handles a small job well will be more likely to complete a larger project to your satisfaction.

How much will it cost?

Cost shouldn’t be the first consideration on any project, whether it is a small handyman job or a larger remodeling project. You don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest guy out there, because so many other factors affect a job’s success and the cost.

Depending on the job, a handyman service may charge by the hour or by the job. Smaller projects, like hanging a ceiling fan or repairing a window, are usually billed simply for time and materials. A more complex project like a bathroom makeover, might need to be based on an approved estimate. Kaufman says, “If it’s not planned and estimated properly ahead of time, the larger the project, the more potential there is for a job to overrun or not turn out as expected.”

What makes a good handyman?

No matter how big or small the job, you want your handyman to be trustworthy. You’re inviting this person into your home, with your family, so you want to know they will treat you—and your home—with respect. They may even be there for an extended time, so you want to know they are a good fit. And he should be qualified to handle every aspect of a job. You want them to be able to handle everything for you.

Kaufman adds, “We have been in business for a long time, so customers know they’ll get consistent service. We’ll still be here when they call us for the next job, whether it’s next month or years from now.”

Iowa law requires service companies to provide a one-year warranty on workmanship, but Kaufman sees that as just the beginning. “Our policy is if we do the job, we’ll do it right. And we’ll always make it right. We stand behind our work,” he says.

That’s the kind of handy help a homeowner can depend on.


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