1. How much experience do you have?
Handymen are hired to do many various home improvement tasks. Some are general tradesmen, who have a variety of experiences. Others have licenses and training in electrical work or plumbing. The key is asking what their level of experience is for the type of work you need to be done. Before you call a handyman, know what you need to be done along with any important details. You'll want an in-home consultation so that you can walk through the project.
2. Can I verify your license, insurance, and bonding?
Handyman licensing varies from state to state however it's a good question to ask your handyman. You'll also want to verify the dollar amounts for their surety bond (a third party that can cover payments in case the handyman doesn't pay subcontractors or employees) as well as insurance (in case they damage your property or injure themselves).
3. How much will this project cost?
After the handyman has had a chance to walk through the project, have him or her outline the scope of work. The details of the project, including labor, materials, supplies, rental equipment, or subcontractors, should be listed as separate line items. If you are on a tight budget or timeline, this is the time to discuss options or alternatives for your project. If the project is small, like hauling debris or performing minor repair work, the handyman should request payment when the job is complete. For larger projects that require ordering of materials or multiple subcontractors, it's more common to pay a deposit.
4. Do I need a permit for this project?
Obtaining proper permits for home improvement is the responsibility of the homeowner. But very often professional file the permits on behalf of the homeowner and should have a good understanding of the process. When the structure of the home is altered, or when changes are made to the electrical system or gas lines, you may need to file a permit. Discuss your particular project with your handyman and ask if a permit is required.
5. May I have several references?
A good handyman should be happy to share references. Anywhere from three to five past clients should be able to give you a good idea about the handyman's work style, the ability to get the job done, and the satisfaction when the job is complete. If a homeowner wasn't satisfied with the handyman, be sure you ask specifically why. Sometimes miscommunication can contribute to unsatisfied customers.