Owning a home and having somewhere to call your own is a wonderful thing, and it’s an investment in an asset that will increase in value over time. It’s all pretty great – except when it comes to maintenance and repairs.
Many homeowners don’t consider themselves to have the skills to do more than the basics, and even if they do, with work, family, socializing, and hobbies, there’s very little time left to tackle these kinds of tasks. This is why so many people consider scheduling preventative maintenance handyman services.
Handyman services are a great way to get the help you need with home maintenance without the hassle, but they’re not all created equal. And in our post-pandemic era where all industries have seen struggles, it can be hard to find high quality experts to help you at a reasonable price. Here’s what you should look for in any home handyman service before you commit to anything.
An Inspection of the Problem
Sometimes, your handyman can complete repairs or maintenance on the spot, but at other times they will need to order parts or do complex repairs. There’s often no way to tell what the situation is until they visit your home and inspect the problem.
Your handyman service should include site visits and comprehensive quotes (if necessary) for service if they encounter complex problems that can’t be fixed on the spot. There’s only so much that your handyman can find out over the phone, so there’s a good chance they’ll need to take a look before they can make a plan for the maintenance or repair.
Detailed Quotes and Upfront, Transparent Pricing
There’s nothing worse than fine print and hidden costs, and unfortunately, both are very common in the construction world.
When you are looking for a handyman service for repairs or maintenance around your home, look for a service that is upfront and clear about its pricing.
If you can’t find any pricing on their website and no one can give you any pricing information when you email or call, that’s a big red flag. At the very least, they should be able to tell you what their minimum labor charges and call-out rates are (if applicable) and what you might expect to pay for a typical call-out.
If they need to do more complex repairs or maintenance, they should also be able to give you a detailed quote that states precisely what is included and what is not so that you know what to budget for the work.
Keep in mind that if you’re hiring a preventative maintenance service on a subscription basis, your costs will be determined ahead of time and you’ll know exactly what to expect.
The Right Certifications
Some of the problems around your home can be fixed by anyone with the technical knowledge and experience to do the repair or maintenance. However, some things should only be done by people who are certified and licensed in your area.
This includes things like electrical and plumbing. Your handyman service should always provide a handyman who is licensed and certified to do the kind of work you need to have completed.
In the construction world, there’s a lot of insurance that contractors and service providers need to carry. They need to have insurance for their own equipment and vehicles, they need to have worker’s compensation insurance, and they usually need to have public liability insurance, among other potential insurance requirements.
While you might not think this matters to you as the homeowner and client, under some conditions, damage or injuries on your property could land you in legal hot water. So always make sure that any handyman service you use is fully insured for everything that is required in your area.
Pulling Permits and Getting Inspections
It’s not common that routine maintenance and repairs around your home will need special permits or inspections, but it’s also not unheard of.
Getting the proper permits to do complex work is a tricky process and best handled by someone who knows how to navigate the system. Likewise, if the work needs to be inspected and signed off, it’s a good idea if the person who did it is present to answer questions, listen to feedback, and address any concerns.
Be sure to ask your prospective handyman services whether they offer assistance with these things.
Great Customer Service
The worst thing when you’re dealing with a maintenance problem or breakdown of something at your home is to call someone and get no response.
Whether it’s by online chat, email or phone, you should at the very least be able to reach someone during business hours and get a response by the next business day. This is a simple but important sign of great customer service, which often suggests higher quality work as well.
Excellent customer service also means that when you do reach someone, they take the time to understand your problem and refer you to the right person to fix it as soon as possible.
Knowledgable Answers to Your Questions
Sometimes, speaking with someone who works in a technical field and asking questions leaves you with the impression that talking to you is a hassle. The home maintenance and repair industry is no different. Sometimes workers in this field forget that homeowners might not know everything there is to know about the process.
That said, as a homeowner, the handyman you hire for the job is going to be responsible for protecting your most significant investment. Look for a service that understands this and shows it by answering your questions in a friendly and knowledgeable manner.
When you’re having work done in your home – even if it’s just routine maintenance and repairs – there’s going to be some mess.
Good handyman service providers will have processes in place to ensure that your property and belongings are not damaged during the course of their work.
Sometimes, this means protecting your floors from damage during work, or it could mean covering furniture with plastic or moving it out of the work area. Whatever is needed to prevent damage, it should be included in the service you get.
Multiple Options If They Exist
Occasionally you’ll run into issues that can be solved in multiple ways. For example, when your 17-year-old furnace breaks down and an expensive part is needed to take care of the problem, it may make more sense to either spend the money fixing the issue or invest in a new furnace.
This will depend on multiple factors, and you’ll want to be able to rely on your handyman to fully explain your options in a friendly, knowledgable way, and then leave the decision to you.
Related: Preventative Maintenance
The Right Tools for the Job
One of the reasons many of us don’t take on tasks around the house these days is that we don’t have the right tools or equipment to do them ourselves.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, for instance, you can’t really clean your own roof. Likewise, if you don’t have the right tools to unblock your plumbing, there’s no way to do the job yourself.
Buying all the tools you could possibly use to fix everything in your house would be very expensive and take up a lot of storage space. This is why you might want to consider using a handyman service for the things you can’t or don’t choose to do yourself.
Any good handyman service will have all the tools and equipment they need to get the job done quickly, correctly, and efficiently.
Quality Materials and Parts
Handyman services are partly about the skill and expertise of the person doing the work and partly about the quality of the materials and parts they use.
When you’re looking for a handyman service, ask them about the materials and parts they use to do their jobs. They should be using well-known brands that meet local quality standards or brands that are approved by manufacturers of equipment that is being repaired.
Using off-brand or low-quality materials and parts to do repairs and maintenance usually means that you will need to do more work sooner than you should.
Once your handyman has finished the job, they should clean up any mess that was made and remove any protective material they used in your home.
In fact, after a good handyman service has been in your home, there should be no sign that they were there at all. Except, of course, that whatever they had to fix or replace is working perfectly again.
Most people don’t like the idea of having people they don’t know in their homes – even if they’re doing necessary work. However, they might also not be able to get time off work to be present during ordinary office hours.
If you have this problem, look for a handyman service that has flexible hours. Some might work a few hours later on weekdays, and others might have a crew available on weekends. They should also be able to give you a fixed appointment time and let you know if there will be any delays.
A Professional Looking Team
While not necessarily at the top of this list, a good handyman service will take pride in how their business presents itself to the world. Their vehicles will be clean, clearly marked, and well maintained. Their people will be professional, well-spoken, and well dressed.
A Great Reputation
Next on the list of handyman service must-haves is an excellent reputation in the industry.
Companies that go above and beyond will have lots of reviews and references from happy clients. They might even have done work for people you know. Before you commit to any handyman service, be sure to do a little digging into their reputation, and if you find anything problematic, don’t be afraid to ask.
Reviews are a great way to get a feel for a company, and if they’re mostly positive, it’s always a good idea to ask about anything negative you find before you make a decision.
Easy to Access After Service
Have you ever worked with a company that was great at communication until the job was done, and the check cleared, and then they just disappeared?
That’s the last thing you want when you work with a handyman or maintenance service.
Even when repairs and maintenance are done correctly, with the right materials, there’s always a chance something was missed. Maybe something wasn’t tightened correctly, and now there’s a rattle. Or maybe something wasn’t turned back on.
Whatever the problem, when you discover it, it should be easy to contact your handyman service. They should be able to walk you through correcting the problem or send someone out to do it for you.
Related: What Is a Home Manager?
Find a Reliable Service That Does It All
The right handyman maintenance service for you should put the customer first. It should be professional, have highly trained people, and always go above and beyond to get the job done right.
PreFix offers a service that is so comprehensive that once our clients are matched to a home manager, they’ll always have someone available to help them with their home maintenance needs. We offer routine preventative maintenance, repairs, replacement, and more. Whether it’s your roof, your water heater or an appliance, we’ve got the right people for the job.
PreFix offers an easy-to-use subscription-based service, so when you need someone to inspect, repair, or replace something in your home, it’s easy to get the service you need. Contact us to find out more about how you can take the hassle out of home maintenance.