When hiring someone to work on your home, you want to find someone who is an expert in their field. Sometimes a general handyman is just the solution you need. Other times you may want to find someone who has extensive training in one area. Or you might have a huge project that will require lots of professionals working together. Understanding what skills each professional brings to the project will help you make better decision about who to hire for specific jobs.

Do I need a general contractor?

A decision to hire a general contractor depends on the scope of the project. A general contractor is the person you, as a home or property owner, will hire to oversee a project. This is the individual you have an agreement with and work out the details of the project and payment plans. They will hire all the subcontractors and ensure that all the work is complete, on time, and on budget.

You will want to hire a general contractor when working on a large project that will require the hiring and organization of a team of professionals. For example, if you are renovating your kitchen, you may need a plumber, electrician, cabinet maker, flooring expert, painter and more. A general contractor will know exactly what is needed and ensure that all of these professionals work together to complete your project. They will take over the management of the project, and be the single point of contract between you and all the professionals working on your project.

When can I hire a handyman?

In most states, there is no licensing requirement to use the title handyman. While your handyman may have lots of experience in home repair, they rarely are licensed according to the same standards as a general contractor or other trade professionals. This doesn’t mean you should never hire one though.

If you have lots of small projects on a to-do list and want some help, a handyman may be your solution. They are usually a jack of all trades and can complete any number of small home improvement projects you just don’t have time to tackle. For minor improvements, repairs, cleaning, and cosmetic updates, use a local handyman with a good reputation.

Do I need a trade pro?

General contractors are required to be licensed to prove that they have been properly trained and insured. Hiring one will give you peace of mind that all the details of a large project will be attended to appropriately. However, they aren’t the only trade professionals who are held to high standards of licensing. Even if you have a specific project that just requires one professional, you often want to find someone who is licensed in that particular area.

If you need work done on just one thing in your home, look for someone who is an expert in that field. These professionals have been trained extensively to do repairs and installation with one kind of machinery or material. When working with these types of trade pros, look for workers who are licensed to know that your project will be done completely and competently:

  • Plumber, pipefitter, steamfitter
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technician
  • Drywaller
  • Roofer
  • Asbestos abatement
  • Landscape designer
  • Brickmasons and stonemasons
  • Carpet and flooring installer
  • Painter

Understanding what kind of professional to hire for each job in your home will make your decision easier and be the most cost effective solution. Knowing that the professional you hire has experience with the same kind of projects will ensure that your project is done to the highest standards. Always ask about certifications, licensing, and a portfolio of work when hiring someone to work in your home.