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Whether to hire a handyman or contractor depends on the size of the project

  • Published Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at 4:28 p.m.

Which should you hire: handyman or general contractor?

The answer largely depends on the scope of the work.

In general, the handyman focuses on smaller jobs that can be done in a few hours, a day or a couple of days. A contractor typically manages larger projects that require significant coordination over weeks or months.

Specialized trades, such as plumber or electrician, require specific training and, in most states, a license. If you hire someone who isn’t appropriately licensed or trained and experienced, you could end up with problems, including eventually having to pay to have work redone.

Someone with a general contractor’s license may be your best bet to manage a project that requires extensive time, specialized machinery and multiple workers with varying levels of expertise and licensure requirements, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition.

Before hiring a handyman or contractor, get multiple bids and confirm that the person you hire is appropriately licensed, insured and bonded.

Be wary of anyone who seeks full payment before starting work. Ask for a written agreement that details the job, cost and payment schedule, and get guarantees in writing.

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