There is great variation in the skills of handymen because there are no standardized state requirements for training, licensing or certification. Handymen may complete high school, but they do not receive a formal education in their field . Some states require handymen to register and to carry insurance. Most handymen are generalists who learn by doing. Many handymen develop their skills though informal, on-the-job apprenticeships. Some pursue specialized knowledge through courses given in community colleges and elsewhere.
Certain tasks, such as plumbing and electrical work, carry serious risks and should only be performed by licensed tradesmen. Other tasks, such as faux wall finishes, require experience with sophisticated technique. These tasks are usually not be performed by handymen ---although they carry no risks other than homeowner dissatisfaction! A skilled and ethical handyman knows when to refer a homeowner and where to refer a homeowner.
In the absence of formal education, training and credentials, references are especially important in assessing a handyman’s skills. Inquires about insurance coverage are appropriate. Personal interviews are helpful, particularly if you spend considerable time at home, because there will be ongoing interaction. If you hire a handyman for a specific job, request a written estimate of costs that includes the anticipated time and supplies necessary to complete the work.
Many handymen are self-employed, while others are employed by small businesses. In a home, handymen can work independently or as a part of a team. They can help tradesmen in exterior and interior home construction and remodeling. Skilled handymen have a role in building, installation, cleaning, repair, painting and re-finishing. They work on a vast variety of objects including cabinets, porches, decks, doors, counters, walls, furniture, floors, gutters, fences, awnings and windows.
Handymen can also participate in the kitchen, doorway and bathroom modifications that can be critical to the function of people with physical disabilities. A handyman who works in the home of someone with a disability should be experienced in the application of Universal Design principles. Universal Design are construction and conversion ideas. Universal Design techniques make buildings and objects suitable for people regardless of their disability status. Knowledge of Universal Design can optimize a home environment for a person with disability, and optimize the house's value at sale regardless of whether or not the next owner lives with a disability.
A good relationship with a handyman can be invaluable for a person with disability who may have simple but urgent needs. The installation of a raised toilet seat and a grab bar can be all that it takes for some people with physical disability to maintain their much desired privacy. A light bulb or a nightlight that needs replacement can be a hazard to someone who uses a walker during the night. When the weather service warns of an impending storm, a person with a physical disability can’t dash to the corner store for a flashlight/radio/ batteries. An individual who relies upon medical equipment for basic mobility may be unable to buy and install battery or charger replacements for mobility scooters, power chairs, wheel chairs, lift chairs, and vehicle lifts.
A skilled and reliable handyman is a valuable asset to a homeowner. Handymen are particularly important to people with physical disabilities who may lead complex and accomplished lives, but be at risk for injury because they can’t mop up water that has spilled on the floor. A good relationship with a skilled handyman may protect health, happiness and independence. A handyman can feel like a homeowners’ best friend---and is probably a lot more useful!
|*Service Providers who are certified by the Disability Know-It-All LLC have successfully met the requirements of our assessment process and successfully participate in our company's education program.
|If you want to know more before you get started with a referral to a handyman, here's information about: