Author Topic: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman  (Read 2019 times)

jeromedawg

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Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« on: November 02, 2017, 03:44:16 PM »
Hey all,

Was just curious but do you think it's necessary to request a quote/estimate *in writing* from a small-time handyman? I just had a handyman for 'general services' come over and he gave me a verbal quote of $1200 for repair work in my kitchen and carpet (drywall, baseboards, cabinetry, carpet padding, replacing a valve).

I got a quote from a contractor prior to this and also in the past but the contractors are obviously wider scale businesses that are handling  tons of customers.

Is it still a good idea and a necessary thing to ask him for the quote/estimate in writing? If he says "no" should I avoid going with him? I'm figuring for smaller time jobs that are no more than $100 maybe it would be more ok not to have anything written but when it's a job that is quoted more than a few hundred bucks, it seems like it would be a good idea.

doggyfizzle

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2017, 04:10:22 PM »
As a fellow CA resident, let me warn you about the CSLB rules regarding Handymen; by law, they can only do work on your property up to a total value of $500.  Check with your local city about permits for work in the kitchen.  If you have to pull permits, then your relationship with this handyman can change to "owner-builder-employer" and there are some responsibilities (woker's comp, etc) you may be responsible for when paying wages to the handyman.

I personally had a terrible experience with a carpenter who was very talented, but seemed to relapse into a bad drug habit near the end of a job and tried to extort me.  A licensed contractor might not be any better, but at least the bonding requirements give you some legal recourse in CA should the work be substandard.

jeromedawg

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 04:21:07 PM »
As a fellow CA resident, let me warn you about the CSLB rules regarding Handymen; by law, they can only do work on your property up to a total value of $500.  Check with your local city about permits for work in the kitchen.  If you have to pull permits, then your relationship with this handyman can change to "owner-builder-employer" and there are some responsibilities (woker's comp, etc) you may be responsible for when paying wages to the handyman.

I personally had a terrible experience with a carpenter who was very talented, but seemed to relapse into a bad drug habit near the end of a job and tried to extort me.  A licensed contractor might not be any better, but at least the bonding requirements give you some legal recourse in CA should the work be substandard.

Thanks! I was unaware of that - will have to look into it. The quote I received from a construction/contractor we used prior is nearly $700 more but I'm getting a couple more bids from another contractor and one more handyman. It would be good not to have to be pulling permits and what not. I just need my kitchen to be restored back to what it was... would a restoration project really require permit pulling in cases like this? This was all a result of water damage from the upstairs neighbor.

EDIT: I sent a note to the guy via Yelp (how I found him) and asked if he is licensed, has insurance and if he guarantees his work. Also asked for the written quote. I assume, if he's serious about the job and wants my business, he'll respond. He didn't seem super enthusiastic about helping and was in a rush but he wasn't really rude about it or anything either.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 04:23:34 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 06:47:36 PM »
Hm, I can't seem to find contractor license info for two of the handymen/contractors who I've been in touch with. I'm using this site:
https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/CheckLicense.aspx

What concerns me is if these guys don't have their licenses but are quoting obviously well over $500 for the work to be done. Most of it's drywall and hanging cabinets so I'm not sure if that matters either...

HipGnosis

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2017, 08:17:25 AM »
As a fellow CA resident, let me warn you about the CSLB rules regarding Handymen; by law, they can only do work on your property up to a total value of $500.  Check with your local city about permits for work in the kitchen.  If you have to pull permits, then your relationship with this handyman can change to "owner-builder-employer" and there are some responsibilities (woker's comp, etc) you may be responsible for when paying wages to the handyman.

I personally had a terrible experience with a carpenter who was very talented, but seemed to relapse into a bad drug habit near the end of a job and tried to extort me.  A licensed contractor might not be any better, but at least the bonding requirements give you some legal recourse in CA should the work be substandard.
Just curious - can a single handyman do multiple 'jobs' that are $495 each?

jeromedawg

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 09:42:38 AM »
As a fellow CA resident, let me warn you about the CSLB rules regarding Handymen; by law, they can only do work on your property up to a total value of $500.  Check with your local city about permits for work in the kitchen.  If you have to pull permits, then your relationship with this handyman can change to "owner-builder-employer" and there are some responsibilities (woker's comp, etc) you may be responsible for when paying wages to the handyman.

I personally had a terrible experience with a carpenter who was very talented, but seemed to relapse into a bad drug habit near the end of a job and tried to extort me.  A licensed contractor might not be any better, but at least the bonding requirements give you some legal recourse in CA should the work be substandard.
Just curious - can a single handyman do multiple 'jobs' that are $495 each?

I think I read somewhere that trying to intentionally circumvent things can get you in trouble too and you can't 'split' it up. Of course, that seems relatively vague in terms of the scope of a "job" - maybe I just want to have things done one at a time rather than all together. For that matter, I could individually hire 1, 2 or 3 handymen to do the job: one for carpeting/baseboard, one for the drywall, one for the cabinets and possibly a licensed plumber to cap off the supply line.

BTW: it's probably not a good idea to ask contractors/handymen, after having come out for a quote, if they'll only do one small line item of work (e.g. replace the valve) out of everything huh? Hahaha. I figure if they were willing to, they'll probably bump the price up a good amount based on a "minimum bid amount" ?

affordablehousing

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 12:29:33 PM »
You're at the typical crossroads where you need to be your own jusge for the handyman's professionalism. I had a bad one I fired, and I had a good one that I gave the keys to my house. Nothing was ever written down, most handymen don't have bank accounts "in my experience" and lots of folks have understandable reasons that they aren't more organized into businesses. The extra $700 the contractor charged sounds about right to pay for the "piece of mind" not having to trust your gut on personnel issues gets you. I found more reliable than yelp was talking to neighbors and seeing the work done in their house.

jeromedawg

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 11:32:51 PM »
You're at the typical crossroads where you need to be your own jusge for the handyman's professionalism. I had a bad one I fired, and I had a good one that I gave the keys to my house. Nothing was ever written down, most handymen don't have bank accounts "in my experience" and lots of folks have understandable reasons that they aren't more organized into businesses. The extra $700 the contractor charged sounds about right to pay for the "piece of mind" not having to trust your gut on personnel issues gets you. I found more reliable than yelp was talking to neighbors and seeing the work done in their house.

Thanks... what I may do is buy the materials myself and hire in the labor. I got ahold of a guy my investor friend uses and is happy with. He's a handyman but has no license and is uninsured.... not sure if I should be concerned in terms of lack of liability insurance, etc. If I go with him, I would probably have him do the drywall, texturing, baseboards, carpet padding and hang the cabinets and I would probably paint and just hire a licensed plumber to install the valve (which I'd also supply).

BTW: related question but I'm not sure if I should buy 5/8" drywall or 1/2" - one contractor who was giving the estimate said it looks like 5/8" - however, I see some parts where it really looks like 1/2" drywall in addition to some parts where it looks like 5/8" - is it safer just to get the thicker drywall then? Here's a picture of the mess, it's not great but hopefully it'll give an idea:
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 11:35:11 PM by jeromedawg »

Llewellyn2006

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 12:06:29 AM »
My brother runs his own handyman business and all of his quotes for any substantial work are given in writing (protects both parties). Personally I'd be wary of any tradesman that will only provide a verbal quote (I have a low opinion of most tradesmen anyway)

Fishindude

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 10:35:28 AM »
A $1200 job is peanuts.  If you trust the guy just have him do it.
If you are looking for written proposals, licenses, insurance, etc. hire a full blown contractor and prepare to pay more.

jeromedawg

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Re: Requesting an estimate/quote from handyman
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2017, 11:16:56 AM »
A $1200 job is peanuts.  If you trust the guy just have him do it.
If you are looking for written proposals, licenses, insurance, etc. hire a full blown contractor and prepare to pay more.

Another guy (unlicensed/uninsured but that my investor friend uses often and trusts) quoted me $700 if I provide materials... of course, I don't know the *full* scope of materials to provide outside of the drywall/joint compound, carpet pad, baseboard, paint, etc.  For all those materials (minus the joint compound and paint, which I have already), it would probably run $100-115. Now, if he's expecting the texturing material too, all I have is a partially used can of orange peel. I have drywall screws as well. I do not have a nail gun/nails and possibly other "gimmes" that might be assumed... 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 11:20:47 AM by jeromedawg »