Handyman vs. General Contractor: What’s the Difference? | Lewis and Tibbitts, Inc.

Handyman vs. General Contractor: What’s the Difference?

When you own a home, regular repairs and upgrades are simply a fact of life that you need to anticipate. Most people don’t have the skills, knowledge or equipment to tackle everything that could possibly go wrong in a house, like problems with plumbing, HVAC, roofing and more.

If you find yourself in need of repairs around the house, should you hire a handyman or a general contractor? Read on to learn how to choose between hiring a handyman vs. a general contractor.

What tasks can a handyman handle?

The main difference between a general contractor and a handyman is that a handyman can perform a variety of tasks around the house, but they aren’t licensed, and anyone can technically call himself or herself a “handyman.” Usually, a handyman specializes in a particular skill or specific area of repairs. For example, some handymen specialize in painting, while others may take on a variety of outdoor tasks, like landscaping or hardscaping. Typical tasks a handyman can tackle include but aren’t limited to:

  • Pressure washing outdoor areas
  • Removing landscape debris
  • Handling minor HVAC repairs
  • Painting
  • Installing and repairing drywall
  • Repairing tile

How is a contractor different from a handyman?

A contractor is usually a professional in some form of home maintenance or repair. You need a license to call yourself a contractor. While a general contractor is a manager of a project, whether a remodel or a new build, there are specialty trade contractors that focus on specific areas like HVAC, roofing, paving and more. These contractors have an in-depth level of knowledge regarding the materials and methods of their chosen skill.

How do you know whether to hire a handyman or contractor for a project around the house?

There can be a variation in price when it comes to hiring a handyman vs. a general contractor, mainly because general contractors have additional certifications and specialty skills. If you find yourself wondering whether you should hire a handyman or a general contractor, keep the following criteria in mind as you start your search:

  • Scope of the project: Small repair jobs are something a handyman can usually complete with ease, while larger projects that involve specialty trades typically require the help of a general contractor. Get a good idea of the extent and planned expense of your project and choose accordingly.
  • Building permits: If your project requires a building permit or authorization from a government entity to perform construction work, you’ll need the help of a licensed contractor. Check your local codes, since each municipality has different requirements that determine when permits are needed.
  • Specialty tasks: Projects that involve specialized tasks, like repairing plumbing or installing a driveway, usually require the help that only a licensed contractor can offer. Simple tasks like installing a light fixture or painting can be completed by a handyman.

Now that you understand the difference between a general contractor and a handyman, you can make the best decision for who to select to perform important tasks around the house. For intensive jobs like paving and sealing, choose the professionals at Lewis and Tibbitts, Inc. for best results.