When it comes to home improvement, getting your hands dirty with DIY can be a rewarding and budget friendly way to get jobs done. With research and a bit of elbow grease, many projects can be managed by someone without much training or experience.
At the other end of the spectrum are jobs that should never be attempted by someone without the right qualifications. If carried out without the proper knowledge, the work may at best look unprofessional and at worst could endanger your family and home.
Before embarking on any new project, it’s important to know when a qualified tradesperson should be hired, and if so, who to hire. Finding a skilled and reputable tradesman can be a daunting prospect at the best of times. This process is further complicated if you’re uncertain about the type of tradesman you need.
For a nation of home improvement enthusiasts, most Brits are largely ignorant about who does what in the building trades. In the absence of specialist knowledge, rather than appear like a novice, we often seek a “handyman” for all manner of jobs – from a leaky tap to a new roof.
So, what is a handyman, what type of jobs can a handyman do and when should we employ a specialist tradesman?
Handymen are usually multi-skilled tradesmen who focus on small, everyday jobs around the home. Simple repairs and maintenance jobs fall within the remit of a handyman. These projects should normally be completed within half a day to a day and are often a good candidate for the eager DIYer. Works taking longer than this could indicate that a specialist tradesman is needed.
It’s important to note that some jobs, no matter how small, must be carried out by a suitably qualified tradesman. For instance, any gas work must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Similarly, many electrical jobs must be approved by your Local Authority Building Control unless they’ve been carried out by an experienced electrician who is registered with a Competent Person Scheme. Many homeowners confidently attempt DIY projects expecting to achieve high-quality results, but not thinking about the fact that experts such as skilled tilers and painters have had years of practice to perfect their trade. If you don’t have time to invest and learn all the tricks of the trade, and you want a perfect finish, sourcing a specialist is almost always the best decision.
When DIY is not an option, there are several routes to finding the right tradesperson. For small jobs, specialist handyman companies offer flexible appointment times and tiered pricing, but coverage is often limited to major cities and charges can quickly mount up if the job takes longer than expected. For all trades, the most difficult part is knowing how to evaluate one company from the next. There are a few third-party resources helping to solve that problem, like the reputable online marketplace MyBuilder.com. The website helps homeowners connect with tradesmen across the UK, providing verified reviews left by their previous customers. Fees are often negotiable, and using the site makes it easy to get multiple competitive quotes.
Whoever you employ, always ask for a quote upfront and make sure you’re completely happy with the work before you part with your money.