When you need help with general tasks around the home, your best option is to hire a handyman. A handyman (or handywoman) is a jack-of-all-trades whose skills cover a wide variety of tasks. The cost of handyman services can vary depending on multiple factors. Read on to find out how much you can expect to pay your handyman.
Services and Cost Factors
How much a handyman will cost depends on several factors. Take these into consideration when you start looking for quotes.
Size of Handyman Jobs
In general, the larger the job, the more time it will take and the more it will cost. Handymen who are more experienced can usually estimate how long a job will take before they start and will have a better idea of the cost. There are some jobs that certain handymen will charge a flat fee for. You will need to discuss your project in detail with your handyman before they begin to establish the price of the project.
- Small Jobs
Examples of small jobs you could hire a handyman for include replacing light switches and outlets, repairing a leaky faucet or replacing a broken garbage disposal. The general rule of thumb is that if it requires simple hand tools and takes less than 1 to 2 hours, it’s a small job.
Average cost: $100-200
- Medium Jobs
Medium jobs typically are a little more involved and take more time and can require more expertise. These jobs usually take between 2 and 4 hours to complete. Drywall repair is a good example of a medium-sized job for a handyman. This will require using spackle, a putty knife and attaching support material if the damage is large enough. Hanging shelves is also considered a medium sized job as shelves must be properly anchored into studs in the wall.
Average cost: $200-401
- Large Jobs
Larger handyman jobs are the most involved and require more time and specific skills. If you’re wondering if you need a handyman or a contractor for a particular job, it’s likely this will be a large job. Large jobs usually take anywhere from over 4 hours to a couple of days to complete. Some examples include wiring for a home theatre, installing heating and cooling registers, or installing a kitchen sink with all its elements.
Average cost: $401 and up
Hourly Handyman Costs
The average hourly rate for a handyman is between $78 and $84. Keep in mind that there are some professional handyman services that may charger higher, sometimes up to $162 per hour. While the cost is higher, you also get a degree of assurance that the handyman is a competent professional and can provide a certain quality of work. The national average for an hourly handyman rate is about $100 an hour.
While an experienced handyman may charge a higher rate, they will be able to complete the job in half the time that a less experienced pro would take. A handyman’s rate will be based on their level of expertise.
Complexity of the Job
The more complicated the job, the longer it will take and the more it will end up costing you. A good handyman should be able to tell you from the beginning if there are aspects of the job that are beyond their skill set. If this happens, you will need to hire a contractor or licensed specialist. If you’re unsure of the complexity of the job, be sure to ask the handyman you’re considering to hire about the complexity of the job before you agree to hire them.
How Does a Handyman Charge
It is common for handymen to charge by the hour, but some projects may cost a flat fee. Some may charge for travel time and others may charge a markup on parts they buy for your job. When getting quotes, be sure to ask about these factors.
Handyman Cost Per Hour
An independent handyman will charge an average of $78 and $84 per hour. Of course, this cost can differ depending on where you live for an independent handyman. If you hire a handyman who is a part of $162 an hour or more. The advantage of hiring a handyman who is part of a large business is that they are expected to have more expertise and meet a certain standard of quality of work.
Handyman Cost Per Job
Some jobs are best charged at a flat rate. Typically these are larger jobs such as hanging chandeliers, mounting wall TVs and installing a toilet. Consult with your handyman to find out if your project will cost a flat rate or be billed hourly.
Keep in mind that the more complex a job is, the more likely it is to have complications. Sometimes billing by the job can end up costing you more because you are paying higher per hour if your handyman works quickly. However, some jobs will take longer and you will end up paying less by the hour. It all depends on the project and how complex it is.
An experienced handyman knows how long a job should take and may give you a flat rate based on that. If they know a particular job will take about an hour, they may present their hourly rate as a flat rate. If they know it will take two hours, they may give you the rate for two hours as a flat rate.
Job Lengths and Prices
The following are common handyman jobs broken down by those that are better charged by the hour and those better charged by the task.
Common Examples – Charged By the Hour Charge
|Task||Length of Time|
Hang a heavy picture
Repair Leaking pipe
Replace a torn screen
|1 – 2 hours|
|Drywall repair (small section)
|2 – 3 hours|
Hang a new door
|3 – 4 hours|
|Repair a wall
Install heating and air registers
Install carpet (small room)
Common Examples – Charged by Task
|Hall light installation||$85|
|Change toilet valve||$98|
|Bathroom faucet installation||$118|
|Hang ceiling fan (normal height)||$131|
|Hang ceiling fan (second story height)||$327|
|Install garbage disposal||$196|
|Install toilet bowl||$196|
|Install toilet bowl||$196|
|Install kitchen sink||$327|
A handyman and a contractor share a lot of the same skills so it can be confusing as to which you should hire for your specific job.
A simple way to figure out whether you need a handyman or a contractor is to consider the price and complexity of the project. If your project is going to cost over $500 a day and take more than two days to complete, a contractor is a better option. This is because a sizeable project will often require permits and inspections, plus a crew of workers to accomplish.
If your project requires any of the following, you should hire a contractor:
- New plumbing
- Modifying existing plumbing such as replacing lines
- New electrical work
- Any HVAC work beyond routine maintenance
- Major remodelling
- Anything that affects the structure of your house
You should hire a handyman for projects that you may not have the time or ability to do yourself. Certain projects may seem straightforward, but once you get started you may be in over your head. Avoid costly mistakes by reaching out to a handyman to do these for you. They have a wide variety of skills that can help with a range of projects.
Ask yourself these questions when considering a handyman over a contractor:
- Could I do it myself if I only had the time?
- Could I do it myself if I only had the knowledge or ability?
- Should this take less than a day?
- Should this cost less than $500?
- Can this be done by only one or two people?
- Can this be done without a permit?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you should move forward with hiring a handyman. Be sure to give as much detail as possible to your potential handyman so they know the scope of the project. They will know for sure if they can handle the project or not.
Contractor vs. Handyman
A contractor is a specialist in their field, think electricians and plumbers. Contractors also often oversee a team that may consist of subcontractors who handle specialised jobs within larger projects. They are expected to be knowledgeable about permits.
Handymen specialize in odd jobs that cover a wide variety of projects. From replacing a broken cabinet hinge to stopping a leaky faucet, a handyman is a trained generalist who can take on your smaller projects.
If you have a list of To-Do’s you need help with, hire a handyman to help you check off those items. You can even save money by having a handyman complete multiple projects in one day. No job is too small for a handyman which makes them a great option to help you around the house.