General Contractors and handymen sometimes perform similar services, so what’s the difference between handyman projects and projects that you should hire a general contractor for? Which one is right for you? That depends on the size and scope of your project, and the permitting requirements in your city. Whether you’re working on a large remodel project or a small home improvement project, it’s important to know the differences.
What are Handyman Services?
Handyman services tend to take on small projects and minor repairs that may not require a permit and are generally smaller in terms of the overall cost and time to complete. For these projects (i.e. non-structural work), you should look for someone with handyman insurance. Professional handymen are usually sole proprietors who are doing all of the work themselves, and they generally work for an hourly rate. A skilled handyman is usually a multi-skilled tradesman, but may not be licensed in some specialty skilled trades.
Make sure that anyone you hire to work on your home has liability insurance coverage, as well as the qualifications to do the work safely, and to proper building codes. Examples of projects and simple repairs that handymen may take on are: minor carpentry jobs, small bathroom remodels, countertop upgrades, leaky faucets, small tile projects, drywall repairs, single door or window replacements or repairs, and other minor home repair jobs.
In most cases if your project’s scope of work requires a building permit, (check your city’s website for requirements) or if it’s a larger project that has multiple phases, you’ll want to hire a licensed contractor that has the experience and resources to complete the job efficiently and to code. Most municipalities post a list of their licensed contractors on their website.
Colorado does not have a statewide general contractor license, but each municipality requires its own license to perform work above a certain skill level and dollar amount within its jurisdiction. This is governed by the city and /or the county, depending on the area.
General contractors in most municipalities of Colorado are required to carry a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees. They also must be certified by the International Code Council (ICC) to obtain a license.
General contractors take on larger projects that require permitting and large amounts of coordination between multiple different trades to complete the job correctly and efficiently. Some examples of projects that will require a contractor are remodels with and without structural changes, major renovations, basement finishing, and new construction of homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Along with their skilled crew of carpenters, they often utilize specialty subcontractors for jobs that involve plumbing, electrical, or HVAC work. Projects generally range from several weeks to several months to complete.
Begin by evaluating your scope of work and your potential expenses, then check with your city for an understanding on permitting requirements, and reach out to the appropriate people to partner with you to get your project done.