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How to hire a handyman

A handyman may be perfect for small and occasional jobs. We explain how to find a reliable trader and how to pay them.

If you occasionally need help with odds jobs around the house, you might consider hiring a handyman or woman. But tread warily, as they are most likely to be a sole trader who is not covered by a trade association. Make sure they have some experience in the sort of work you require and ask to see examples of their recent work, if possible. Request the phone numbers of at least three recent clients to make sure their work was of a professional standard.

You can search for handymen and women online via a number of websites. A personal recommendation from friends or family can also be an excellent way to source a handyman or woman. However you find potential workers, you should always check their references. Talk to previous employers by phone or in person, rather than solely trusting written references.

How to pay your handyman

Find out straight away how they’d like to be paid - some may prefer cash, but others will accept cheques or online payment from your bank. If they do want to be paid in cash, ask for proof from past accounts that they have declared this on their annual self-assessment tax return.

“Quotes for work from handymen will most likely be based on an hourly rate, though you may prefer to negotiate a set price for a specific job.”

Make sure you establish this before any work gets underway, and if possible, find out how long your handyman thinks the job will take. 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.


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.

Check the handyman’s insurance details

Not all handymen and women will have insurance that protects their clients, but you should think twice about employing anyone who doesn’t. Even if you’re asking them to do a relatively small job of low value, there’s always the possibility that a mistake or accident could cause a problem that proves expensive to remedy. If they don’t have insurance to cover such circumstances, you may end up paying for their error.

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