Full Service Remodeling Company vs. Handyman Type

pixe1April 14, 2013

We are in the process of getting estimates for a major remodel of a master bathroom. We have met with a few "handyman" type individuals who have done bathroom remodels and have also had ballpark estimates from full service remodeling companies. We might be able to do some of the demo ourselves but really need someone who can get in there an gut and tackle an entire project.We are somewhat overwhelmed by this project and wonder if a full service company is necessary, advantages, disadvantages and if a handy man, remodeler type has worked for you. Any thoughts on full service remodelers vs. handyman types? I would love to hear different experiences and pros and cons.

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Sophie Wheeler

A handyman can change one faucet for another, or do a drywall patch, or change out a ceiling fan for a chandelier.Simple DIY tasks that someone doesn't really want to DIY. They have no business being involved with anything more involved or serious. Nor can they, legally. No "handyman" is licensed to do plumbing or electrical---IF he is licensed or insured to do anything.

A licensed and insured General Contractor can do basic of both, and has expert subs that he can hire if the scope of work deems it necessary.

A "handyman" also cannot pull the needed permits, nor arrange for the required inspections. He would require that you do all of that, and then YOU would be legally responsible if something were done incorrectly as your name would be on the permit as the responsible party.

If a handyman wants to do general contracting, then sitting for the contractors exam and obtaining contractors insurance is a requisite. Then they aren't a handyman anymore, but an actual contractor.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Thanks hollysprings. Maybe a General Contractor is more of what I was referring to, someone who does more than just change out ceiling fans or small projects around the home but actually does remodeling on a larger scope but not a full remodeling company per se. You bring up good points though. Very helpful.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 4:42PM
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My answer would be less emphatic that Hollysprings'. There are all levels of handypersons out there, and some would be perfectly competent to handle a full bath remodel. Mr. Weedy would be one such, with my help. We've done several bathrooms together. I also have a friend who hired a one-man-show to remodel their bathroom a few years ago, with excellent results.

We have lived in several jurisdictions where contractors (even subs) are not licensed, so the advice to make sure they're licensed doesn't always apply. If trades are locally licensed in your town/city, then by all means don't hire someone unlicensed. But that may not apply.

Do make sure that they carry insurance, and if a handyperson claims to be able to do a full bath remodel, check their references carefully. But then you should check a GC's or design-build firm's references carefully as well.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 3:29PM
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