How Are Virginia General Contractors Different From a Local Handyman?

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsWhen you are planning a home improvement project it is very important to hire the right contractor. Not just the best company in your area, but the proper type of firm. Many homeowners are not clear on the differences between Virginia general contractors and a local handyman. They wonder whether hiring the handyman will save them money and what kind of specialized service they can expect from an experienced general contractor.

Let’s clear up the confusion.

The Basic Difference

Although there may be exceptions to the rule, most often a general contracting firm has a licensed tradesperson on staff. Sometimes there is more than one and several disciplines are covered. You may find a contracting firm with licensed plumbers and electricians on staff, or engineers, planning consultants and architects.

A handyman is most often a highly skilled individual who can handle many different projects, but cannot offer you the value of papers, certifications or designations. It may seem to be a trivial difference, but those credentials come with some very serious specifications and deliver immense value to homeowners.

Look at What Those Certifications Offer

When you are tackling a major Virginia home improvement project, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition, the skills of Virginia general contractors are essential. They will help you with the design stage and have the knowledge of building codes and permits that you need to get the project off of the ground. Without a well planned renovation you are not going to get approval from the municipality or state to begin the project. And that plan needs to be drawn up by a certified professional.

You are also covered under the general contractors liability, from start to finish. The plans must be written to follow building code, which will be the engineer’s responsibility and not the homeowner’s. Liability on the jobsite in case of accident or injury is also covered by the company, which is standard practice for a general contracting firm. You may find that a handyman company offers worker’s compensation or liability coverage, but most often that is not the case.

What About Small Projects?

You may feel more inclined to hire a handyman for those smaller projects around your home. Do you need your siding painted? Or a new bathroom put in? A handyman can look after that for you without the need for all of those designation and certifications, right? Possibly. But are you willing to trust their experience or would you rather know that a third party has licensed the contractor based on proper work practices and current industry standards?

The choice is yours.

It may be true that a handyman can complete these projects for less money. Since budgeting is a big part of renovations, that is a major factor. But if the handyman isn’t able to do the work properly or needs to bring in a licensed professional for inspections, planning and other stages, are you sure that you will save money in the end?

Compare the prices quoted by each type of company based on the value and services offered. Hiring Virginia general contractors will be the right choice in many cases, but a skilled and familiar local handyman may also do the trick for others.


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