What does a handyman do?
Handymen – or handywomen, for that matter – are useful when you’ve got a list of small jobs that need doing around the house, and it would be expensive and time-consuming to hire specialist traders for each one.
Jobs they are capable of doing may include:
- hanging curtains, pictures, mirrors and shelves
- painting and decorating
- assembling flat-pack furniture
- fixing cupboards and drawers
- basic gardening jobs such as mowing lawns and trimming hedges.
You can either hire a sole trader or go through a larger, property maintenance company who will subcontract someone out.
Find a trusted handyman near you by searching for ‘handyman and home maintenance services’. Only handymen who have passed an assessment by our trading standards professionals, and who follow our Code of Conduct can become Trusted Traders.
Handyman hourly rate
Quotes for work from handymen will most likely be based on an hourly rate - around £20 to £30 - and prices will vary depending on where in the UK you live.
Hiring someone through a property maintence company is likely to be more expensive. You might also be charged more for the first hour, especially if the trader has had to travel further afield.
You may prefer to negotiate a set price for a specific job, which some traders will do. Make sure you establish whether your handyman will charge per job or per hour before any work gets underway. It’s not unreasonable to ask for an estimate of how long the job will take – particularly if they’re charging an hourly rate.
Materials will almost always cost extra, so you may prefer to source these yourself in order to be confident you’re getting the best possible price for them. Below we have listed the costs of common jobs in our guide to handyman costs and completion times.
Handyman rates and completion times
Our figures are only a guide to average costs, and will vary according to factors such as the specifics of your job, where you live and the condition of your property.
Unless otherwise specified, prices include labour and materials but exclude VAT.
How to hire a handyman
Look for recommendations and endorsements
Recommendations from friends and family are a good first port of call when you’re looking for any type of trader. If you do get a recommendation, it’s still worth asking your prospective handyman about what experience they have in the particular field you need. If you want someone to fix your guttering, then it’s no good finding someone who specialises in decoration and putting up shelves.
All our endorsed Which? Trusted traders have successfully made it through our assessment process. We check every business, with a trading standards professional meeting the trader at their business premises, to ensure they operate to the highest standards. If you need a handyman you can find a Which? Trusted trader in your local area.
Check reviews and references
You should always check a trader’s references. It’s a good idea to ask for phone numbers of at least three recent clients to make sure the trader’s work was of a professional standard. Talk to previous employers by phone or in person, rather than solely trusting written references.
Many people want to see reviews of a trader’s previous work. At Which? Trusted Traders all our endorsed traders have their own business profile page, where you can read reviews from previous customers. We encourage all customers to leave a review to help others who are looking for traders in the future. We moderate all reviews on the site to ensure they come from genuine customers.
Many handymen and women do an excellent job and prove to be highly trustworthy. Nevertheless, take precautions to protect yourself if you are let down. Make sure you have a home number for your handyman and an address too, so your trader can’t just disappear if things go wrong. Find out how many clients they have already, and whether they will be able to fit you in easily or if you will be waiting weeks for their services.
If you’re employing a handyman to do work as part of a larger project, you will need to schedule in their time in order to suit the other tradespeople you are employing, as these smaller tasks can be built in around the more major electrical, plumbing, flooring and tiling jobs.
How to pay your handyman
Find out straight away how your trader would like to be paid - some may prefer cash, but others will accept cheques or online payment from your bank. In case you're concerned, it’s perfectly legal to pay traders in cash.
Find a Which? endorsed handyman near you with Which?Trusted Traders by searching for ‘handyman and home maintenance services'.
When to hire a specialist instead of a handyman
A handyman might have the knowledge and experience to do very minor plumbing jobs, such as replacing washers, or small electrical jobs that don’t legally require a qualified electrician, such as like-for-like replacement of sockets. But more technical jobs are best left to qualified electricians or plumbers.
Also, keep in mind that many property maintenance generalists are sole traders and are typically not covered by a trade association.
For any work related to boilers or gas appliances, you should always hire a registered Gas Safe Engineer.
More on this
¹Costs were checked and updated in 2018.