If you come home one afternoon to find a part of your fence down or the railing on you front stairs completely off, you don’t have a lot of choice as far as whom to hire or how much to pay. And handymen know this. They don’t necessarily take advantage of your situation, but let’s face it – we have learned that we need to pay for convenience and anything we need done in a hurry whether it’s putting the fence back up so Fido can’t escape, again, or even sending an overnight package – you pay for convenience and speed. So, when it comes to hiring a handyman, how much should you really expect to pay if you need something done quickly – or not?
Because some jobs are more difficult than others, and rife with “surprises”, there’s not much flexibility when discussing some basic charges. Even though many handymen will gladly come out and give you an estimate – for the ones you can prepare for in advance – pricing won’t really change much from city to city. Of course, a job in Boston will be priced higher than the exact same job in Burlington, VT, but other than this type of fluctuation, you can expect pretty static estimates.
When you do get some bids, you should be looking at things start dates, project length, overages (what if it’s not done on time?), and what kind of options do you have if he don’t show up on schedule.
Even though the fees are fairly standard, there is plenty of room to negotiate the extras or add-ons, or default strategies. For instance, anyone who has ever watched or heard about large “house repair” or even “house flipping” projects, even on reality TV, knows that nothing happens according to plan. You need to be able to work into the contract that if the project falls behind schedule or over budget, through no fault of yours (for example, you may need to go away on business or perhaps your child comes down with the flu and you feel more comfortable not exposing any outsiders to possible exposure), then the handyman will start paying a penalty, for instance, every day that the project runs late they need to deduct a specific amount, usually a percentage, off the project total.
If, on the other hand, your project isn’t quite so involved and can probably be done in a few hours one afternoon, at everyone’s convenience – perhaps he just needs to hang a few new closet doors – there could be room for some negotiating the price here.