Handyman vs. Contractor

What is the difference between a handyman and a contractor?

The Handyman – is someone with light to moderate skills across many platforms in order to perform various types of repairs and small home improvement projects.  Most are self-trained, sometimes with years of experience in specific fields of the construction industry.  Some have registered companies, others do not.  

Florida does not have any regulations or licensing requirements to become a handyman, so it can be difficult to verify one’s level of expertise in any given area.

Normally, a handyman charges an hourly rate plus material.  Clients will give them a list of things they want done, and the handyman will work to complete the list at the time of the visit.

The Contractor – is someone with proven years of experience in the construction industry.  Normally this person has held many positions from the ground up, generally topping out as a Superintendent or Project Supervisor before testing to obtain a Contractor’s License from the Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board, where you can easily verify a license.

The Contractor’s License must be renewed every 2 years with at least 14 hours of required continuing education credits.  In addition to Florida building codes, these CE hours cover areas in workplace safety, business practices and laws.

Contractors normally charge a contracted fee based upon a specific scope of work that would include both time and material.  Any deviation to the original scope of work will be priced out separately and agreed upon as a Change Order.

Which is the better person for the job?

Rule of thumb… if it is a task you could probably do yourself if you had the time, then a handyman could be fine.

If the level of skill needed for the job would require specialty trade knowledge, such as plumbing, air conditioning or electrical, even if you think that work is minor, you should hire a contractor.

If the work requires a permit, you should hire a contractor.

If the complexity of the project requires the coordination of various trades over a period of time, such as a remodeling or renovation project, you should hire a contractor.

About the Author

At LotzCo Inc., you get the best of both words.  We are a licensed contractors, with the level of experience and skill required for complex projects, and the unique core value of being there for all our client’s needs and not just the one-time project.