May 13, 2024

Handyman vs. General Contractor: Which One to Choose for Your Tacoma Project

Handyman vs. General Contractor: Which One to Choose for Your Tacoma Project

House projects have a habit of piling up.

You’ve got work, kids’ events, chores, and everything else jostling for your time. Then on top of that you need to figure out who you would even call to get all your minor home repairs done.

Will a handyman do a good job?

Would a contractor be too expensive?

What licensing do they need for the projects you want done?

You have hundreds of people around Tacoma of every different skill level, who all say they can fix and build and install what you need. Trying to sort through them all is overwhelming.

We put together this guide to help you make the best decision for you.

The Key Differences Between a Handyman and General Contractor

In Washington State, both handymen and general contractors are supposed to be licensed, bonded, and insured. Here’s how it breaks down:

Handymen can only take “minor and casual work” doing maintenance and repairs on existing residential properties. The total value of a handyman job in labor and materials can’t exceed $2,000. And they have to do all the work themselves—they can’t hire subcontractors.

General Contractors, on the other hand, can take larger jobs like remodels, renovations, and new construction. They can hire subcontractors in various specialties to complete the work. And they’re required to carry a larger bond so if they’re unable to finish the job you hired them for, you have a higher level of safeguarding.

At least, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.

But in practice lots of handymen work under the radar, often without a bond or even insurance. Which could leave you unprotected if anything goes wrong at your home.

So here’s how to choose the professional you need to make routine home repairs without putting yourself or your house at risk:

How to Choose the Right Professional for Your Job

The most important thing to get clear about when choosing someone to work on your home is what your needs are.

Here are the key factors to consider:

How Big the Job Really Is

When you’re looking for a professional to do a project for you, it’s common for people to minimize the size of the home repair in their minds. After all, smaller jobs cost less.

But in order to choose the right person, you need to get clear about exactly what’s entailed. Specifically you can consider:

Where on your property is it? Is it an outdoor shed, or a mission-critical place like your kitchen?

Does the work involve any specialist areas like electrical or plumbing?

What’s directly around the work you need done that might be changed or damaged by the work?

What kind of materials will be needed? Are they expensive, custom, or speciality materials, or just things you can pick up at the local hardware store?

Right-sizing the job for yourself will help you decide what skill-level you need.

What Your Quality Standards Are

You’ve probably heard the old adage that we all want our work done good, cheap, and fast—but only two at a time.

It’s important to decide up front how important quality is to you for this project. Use these questions as a guide:

How long do you want this repair, build, or installation to last?

How important is it to you that the finished product looks clean and professionally done, vs. it being operational but looking a bit rough?

How important is your peace of mind for this project? How much might you worry about it if you’re not sure it’s done right?

Knowing whether quality is top priority or if a quick hack is sufficient will help you get clear which way to go.

How Risk Tolerant You Are

Some people love to roll the dice. They’re more than willing to gamble on untested people and experiences if there’s a potential upside.

But other people just want to feel confident that things will get done right the first time, with no surprises.

Knowing where you fall on that spectrum for this project in particular will help you decide. Here are a few questions to help you figure it out:

If the first person you called failed to do the job or even made it worse, how disruptive would that be for you?

If someone is working in or around your house, how confident do you want to feel that you can trust them?

Gauging your own risk tolerance for the project is a great way to see who you should pick.

Handyman Plus General Contractor: How to Get the Benefits of Both

Chances are you want to work with someone who has a long track record of trust, like a seasoned general contractor. But your small projects don’t need a whole team of subcontractors to knock them out.

What most people don’t realize is that you can get the best of both worlds.

York Enterprises, for instance, has 40 years of experience delivering quality work for Tacoma homeowners. But we also offer handyman services. Which means you can get your smaller projects finished quickly, but with York’s full commitment to quality standing behind them.

When you use our handyman services we send you one of our trained and vetted craftspeople for your projects. So instead of hiring an unknown, lone-wolf operator with no accountability, you get total peace of mind that your job will get done efficiently with no headaches.

If you’re ready to finally knock out all those little home projects that have piled up, click here to get a free quote on our handyman services.

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