Thinking of Hiring a Contractor or Handyman? Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Home Project Started.

handymanThe fall can be a great time for home improvement projects. Just after the heat (and bugs) of summer leave and right before the snows and cold temperatures of winter arrive, you have a couple of optimal months to check household items off your to-do list. Depending on the size and scope of your projects, you might consider hiring a contractor or handyman to help you out. Here’s what you need to know to get your projects started ASAP.

What’s the Difference Between a Contractor and a Handyman?

This may sound like the setup for a killer joke, but knowing the difference between a contractor and a handyman is really important. It can ensure you hire the right person for the job; saving you time, money, and frustration.


A contractor is a licensed individual who manages the tasks of a large project to ensure deadlines are met. For example, let’s say you want to add an addition to your home. You don’t want to manage all the workers. Heck, you wouldn’t even know who to call to do this sort of work anyway! 


Think of your contractor as your project manager. He or she knows all the steps to accomplish your big project and all the right people to hire to do the work. Plus, your contractor will be mindful of your budget when choosing the people and products to help make your dream a reality.


A handyman is a person who can perform various tasks around the house. From trimming hedges to fixing a hole in the roof, from pressure washing your house to fixing your garbage disposal; a handyman is who you want to call when you need one or two household chores done. By contrast, this would NOT be a person who would be qualified to build an addition to your house.

How to Hire a Contractor or Handyman

Now that you know the difference between a contractor and handyman, you probably know which one of these individuals you want to hire. Even though these people do different jobs, the steps to hire a helper are really similar.

1. Define your project. 

The more specific you can be about what exactly you need done, the more likely it is for the project to be completed to your standards. For example, if you want a contractor to put an addition on your home, know exactly what you want that addition for. Decide whether it will have a bathroom, be an open space, have skylights—everything. Get the clearest picture possible about how you expect this space to look and feel once it’s completed.


Similarly, when you hire a handyman, have a complete list of the jobs and tasks that need to be done. Often, handymen would rather come out and spend a day completing many projects instead of coming back one day at a time to complete a long list of tasks. By spending a little bit of time organizing your thoughts right now, you can save time and confusion in the future.

2. Shop around. contractor

No matter where you live, there are plenty of contractors and handymen to choose from. Although you may not personally know anyone who can help you out right now, your friends probably do. Start telling people that you’re looking for help, and ask them if they have any suggestions. 


If your friends can’t help you out, Google can. Just a quick Google search (handyman in St. Joseph, MO) can lead to a list of individuals and businesses that can help you find the right person for your job.

3. Conduct face-to-face interviews.

You want to interview at least three people for the job. When you are interviewing candidates, ask for referrals and a bid for the job. You should also ask whether the person carries their own insurance policy and whether their work has a guarantee.

painter4. Eliminate anyone you don’t feel good about.

Remember, you are opening your house up to strangers. You want to be certain you can trust the person or company you hire. If you have any sort of bad feelings about a person or company, you should automatically exclude them from your list of potential candidates. And, if you get a bad feeling about all three of the people you interview, make a new list of people and keep trying. The right person for your project is out there!

5. Get it in writing.

Once you’ve selected your contractor or handyman, you want to make sure to get the details of your project in writing. Make sure to include the project(s) and the estimated time and cost to complete the project(s). You also want to include information about what will happen if the work is not completed to your standards—just in case.


Then, after your project is complete, make sure to inspect the work that has been done before you pay your contractor or handyman. When you pay the final invoice, it’s the equivalent of saying that you agree the work was fully completed to your standards.

Or, Maybe You’d Like a Completely Different House.

Home projects big or small can feel a little overwhelming. If, after you’ve created your to-do list, you start to think that maybe you just need a completely different house, the team at Ramseier Realty Group is ready to help. We would be happy to speak with you about what’s currently on the market (and what’s getting ready to be available). Give us a call today at 816.262.8077 to speak with one of our experienced realtors or contact us through our website to schedule an appointment.