Handyman vs Contractor: What You Need to Know

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The home repair and maintenance business is scaling. Americans are spending millions on ensuring that their homes remain in good condition.

But when it comes to handling different tasks, people might get confused between hiring a handyman or a contractor.

đź“ťKey Takeaways:

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of a handyman and a general contractor.
  • Dive deep into the key differences between the two job positions and select which one is more important.

Being a small-scale business owner, you should know the difference between the roles and responsibilities of these job positions to help your clients choose the right option.

The knowledge about these technical positions in the home care service business can also help you hire the right talent for the right positions.

So without further ado, let’s understand the handyman vs contractor difference.

What is Handyman?

What is Handyman

A handyman is a professional who handles small-scale residential repair and maintenance projects. Becoming a handyman doesn’t require special certification or qualification.

Taking up a course from a vocational college or a certification from a program can help you learn to be a handyman and gain the theoretical ins and outs of managing the job with finesse.

The individual needs to have a decent experience and some form of instruction from experts in the industry.

The handyman acquires the skills by working on different repair and maintenance projects in their homes or as an assistant to a professional handyman managing different complex tasks.

You can run a successful handyman business by hiring new handyman professionals who know of completing the handyman jobs professionally. Besides, you must also know how to use handyman business invoicing software so that you can automate most not-so-important tasks and focus on attention-worthy tasks.

Roles and Responsibilities of Handyman

The roles and responsibilities of a handyman range from handling different repair and maintenance tasks that need to be performed faster.

Here are a few roles that a handyman covers:

  • Cleaning gutters
  • Light bulb replacement 
  • Painting the wall
  • Assembling furniture
  • Pressure washing
  • Mounting a TV or shelf
  • Replacing a showerhead or other bathroom essentials

The amount of work and responsibilities that a handyman handles without a contractor’s license depends upon the size or dollar value of the project requirements.

The type of handyman task also sets the responsibilities of managing the work. Different states have different rules and licensing requirements for handyman services.

For example, a Florida handyman doesn’t require a licensed specialist to handle most of the work.

Unlike a licensed contractor, a handyman doesn’t focus on acquiring expensive, large projects associated with re-structuring a home.

For example, a handyman could only replace a shower head, but a plumbing contractor can take the consignment of installing a new tub. And the general contractor oversees an entire bathroom renovation.

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What is a Contractor?

What is a Contractor

A contractor is a licensed professional with specialized skills who can perform tasks in a commercial or residential setting. The role of a contractor is not limited to performing small and quick home repair and maintenance tasks.

The contractors are focused on delivering excellent installation and technical results like electrical work, major plumbing work, and other bigger projects for the clients.

There are over 36,310 general contractors in the United States, and the number is gradually increasing. 

Roles and Responsibilities of Contractor

The contractor has the following roles:

  • Roofer
  • Mason or bricklayer
  • Gasfitter
  • Plumber
  • Carpenter
  • Electrician
  • HVAC technician

The contractor reports to the general contractor during the management of large projects and renovations that require higher supervision.

The general contractors oversee the budget, work, deadlines, and material procuration and delegate the work to different contractors.

A contractor can acquire the general contractor’s license by showing experience in the industry and passing the specialized exams. The general contractor’s license can help them handle large projects and deliver an excellent customer experience.

Regarding the responsibilities of licensed contractors, different states have different requirements that need to be checked and completed.

  • Get liability insurance
  • Complete licensing requirements (completing an apprenticeship for becoming a licensed electrician).
  • Provide company name and other business registration information.

The contractors can contact the state’s department of labor or the local contractors’ board to understand the specifics of the area.

Once the professional acquires the specialized license, they stand out from a normal handyman and can complete larger projects like a kitchen remodel.

Difference Between a Handyman & Contractor

Let’s understand the Handyman vs. general contractor key differences. Along with the difference, you must also know how to prepare a handyman business plan.

1. Permits and licensing

A few states require handyman to acquire proof of insurance and pass the exam to get a license or the required permit to work as a professional in the industry.

The licensing laws can be simple, and the professional might find it easy to acquire a handyman’s license. While other states don’t have specific licensing rules for the handyman.

But as a contractor, it’s important to acquire the license following a different set of rules and regulations. Without the license, the contractors can’t perform repairs and work for different clients.

2. Job and cost of the project

Different states don’t allow handymen to work over $500 to $2,500. The cap legally limits the handyman to handle different larger projects but has minor work exemption.

But because of intensive and strict licensing requirements, the contractors can work on large consignments. 

For example, hiring a licensed plumber can help you handle certain tasks or specialized work that involves high profits.

3. Expertise

Handyman has limited knowledge in specialty trades. They can handle small projects with low to medium costs and other odd jobs.

While a specialized contractor has experience in a single trade. They know the technical details of a specific subject and can handle basic to complex tasks related to a small business’s niche.

Which One Has More Opportunity?

Both handymen and contractors offer great opportunities for employees and businesses to earn a decent income and scale the horizon of operations.

But because contractors have professional certification and niche-specific expertise, there’s a high requirement for skilled contractors in the industry.

Many contractors hire only a specific set of experts and don’t focus on adding versatility to their workforce.

We recommend hiring both handymen and contractors to cover multiple jobs at once and scale your business operations.

But once you increase your business scale, you must ensure you can manage your financial business operations to deliver a professional customer experience to your leads and clients.

Integrate a professional software that allows you to create and manage estimates, invoices, purchase orders, and credit memo journal entries.

Use the power of advanced technology to stand out from the rest. Our team has filtered the best software you can use to manage financial document processing.


Did you just made up your mind on whom to hire?

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Is managing handyman jobs worth it?

    Yes, managing handyman jobs is worth it because it’s easy to manage small-scale jobs without having proper certifications. A handyman needs a little experience which they can acquire from working on different repair and maintenance projects.

  2. What’s the difference between an expert plumber and a handyman?

    An expert plumber is skilled in a specific skill set and can handle different complex tasks related to the plumbing industry, but a handyman only has limited knowledge of replacing the taps or repairing bathroom material.

  3. What is an expert handyman called?

    An expert handyman is also called a fixer, handyworker, or handyperson.

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Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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