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What Is a Handyman / Handyperson?

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A Handyperson (or handyman / handywoman) is a person that is competent in, and hired to perform, a wide variety of trade skills and can perform repairs and maintenance jobs around the home.  A good handyperson should be able to perform tasks that are as easy as changing a light bulb and as difficult as a full bathroom remodel.  Most handyperson services are set up to perform small to medium sized projects.  Some try to stick to the small jobs like changing a door knob or replacing a damaged piece of baseboard trim. Some only do the larger, higher paying jobs like a full kitchen remodel or building a deck. And others focus mainly on commercial maintenance and repairs.

The term ‘handyman’ used to refer to the retired gentleman down the street that enjoyed tinkering and could be talked into doing a few minor repairs for a plate of warm cookies.  In most places today a handyperson is required to be licensed, bonded, and insured.  These requirements are good because they help protect the customer when there is an accident caused by the handyperson. They also help protect the handyperson when the customer does not keep their end of the contract.

There is a downside to these requirements though, and that is the cost. Most handyperson services in my area charge around $50.00 per hour for their services and many have a minimum charge for small jobs. This may seem like a high price but a handyperson does not get to keep all of that like an employee does. A handyperson service has to pay all the overhead costs of owning a business, for a wide range of tools necessary to perform a wide range of jobs, for their own vehicle and fuel, and for all the time spent looking at jobs that they may not get.

A handyperson also has a higher percentage of time spent traveling to and from jobs when the jobs are small. For example, if a handyperson has three jobs scheduled for two hours each they may spend one hour or more in travel time for each job. That means for every two hours of work time he is spending one hour in travel time that he doesn't get paid for. Their unpaid travel time equals fifty percent of their paid work time. A contractor doing a larger job may spend one hour of travel time but if they work eight hours then their unpaid travel time is only one eighth of the paid work time. A handyperson may have a lot of time during their day that they can't bill for. They have to make that up during the time that they can bill for to make it worth working as a handyperson.

I don't think a handyperson can charge in cookies anymore but I can tell you that I have never turned down a plate of cookies.

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