If you want to find a good handyman, you have to learn how to look through convincing disguises. Many people portray themselves as perfect contractors — only to bail halfway through a sloppy job. Putting your trust into the wrong hands could hurt your home’s value.
We put together three critical questions to ask your next contractor. They will help you weed out unsuitable workers and hone in on the perfect match. We’ll also share a red flag you should look out for (and when you see it, run).
Hiring a contractor for a home renovation project can be a great way to boost your home’s value — as long as you pick the right project, that is. Tap or click here for three proven ways to increase your home’s value. Now that you have a project in mind, here’s how to find the right talent for the job.
Question No. 1: “What skills do you have?”
It’s easy to be dazzled by a smooth talker. Maybe the first contractor you meet spins a fantastic tale of how they’ll improve your home. Don’t fall for a silver tongue alone — make sure the contractor has the skills to back up their boasts.
Ask potential contractors to flesh out their abilities. You can better visualize how they will fit into your home improvement plans. For example, say you need to renovate a bathroom. You meet up with a contractor and ask them about their skills. If they say they’re skilled in stovetops and kitchenware, you know they aren’t the perfect fit.
Try to find someone whose skills align with your project. Ask them to explain their qualifications and tell you what they’re good at. Even if you don’t hire them for your current job, you can remember them if you ever have a project that matches their skillset later on.
If you want to find a good handyman, you should also ask, “What’s not in your wheelhouse?” This way, you can find out immediately whether they’re qualified to take on your specific task. For example, if they’ve never set up bathroom tiles, you should pass on them if that’s the job you’re looking to complete.
Question No. 2: “Are you licensed, bonded and insured?”
To find a good handyperson, ask them about their paperwork. If they’re insured, this lets you know you have recourse if something goes wrong. If they’re licensed and bonded, you know they’re the real deal. After all, a lazy contractor likely won’t go through the extra effort of getting a license or bond.
These papers are green flags that let you know you’re probably dealing with a talented, serious contractor. But before you sign the deal, make sure to ask this last important question.
Question No. 3: “Do you have any references?”
One of the first things you should look for is a glowing recommendation from someone who was previously in your shoes. Ask the contractor for reviews or references. This way, you’ll get a good idea of how they operate.
References can reveal how quickly a contractor works, how well they follow instructions and more. They can help you form realistic expectations. Glowing reviews can put your mind at ease — while a lack of references should set off alarm bells.
If a contractor doesn’t have any references, you’re taking a huge gamble. Sure, they might offer low rates — and you might want to take a chance on a newcomer who hasn’t had any time to rack up references. But when they answer “No” to this question, be careful since you’re treading through dangerous territory.
Of course, these aren’t the only questions you should whip out. Here are six more questions to ask a contractor before taking on a home renovation project.
Look out for this red flag once the important stuff is out of the way. (It could be potentially disastrous!)
Red flag: No written contract
A contract is a sign of professionalism. It sets up expectations for you and the contractor. Without a written agreement, you’re taking a considerable risk. You won’t be able to sue if they make dangerous mistakes.
Say you hire someone to help you with plumbing. Then, they start tinkering with an unrelated part of your home, causing problems. You could sue them for violating a contract.
However, without any contract, you have virtually no protection. So make sure you’re working with someone experienced enough to have a written agreement. It’s one of the best signs that you found a reliable contractor.
The mere presence of a contract is a good sign, but don’t let your guard down just yet. Look through it to make sure it lists each party’s duties and rights. Here are 19 things every construction contract should have.
More ways to find a good handyman
Completing all of your home projects can be overwhelming. Luckily, there’s an easy way to connect with qualified contractors. Our sponsor, Angi. This app puts everything you need right in the palm of your hand.
When you download the Angi app, you can find a professional to fix an emergency leak in minutes. Planning a renovation? Angi will match you with the best contractor for the job.
You can schedule seasonal jobs, like an AC tuneup, or routine maintenance, like lawn care. Angi even lets you pay securely through its app once your home project is done. How easy is that?
Taking care of your home has never been this straightforward. Get Angi, your home for everything home. Download the free app today at Angi.com!