Although there might be some crossover in the services and roles offered by General Contractors and handymen, they still are very different jobs with different regulations and rules. So, you should definitely know the difference between an individual handyman and a general contractor because the difference affects the various projects you’re legally permitted to do. You should also be familiar with the differences between the general contractor and handyman because that knowledge could come in handy should you ever find yourself in one position or the other. Here’s a look at the key differences:
General Contractor. A general contractor is someone who can perform work on a large scale. He does not necessarily have to be licensed but he certainly should have some sort of professional license. The state will typically require an individual to become licensed if he wants to secure a certain level of authority over his business. To qualify for licensing, a contractor would have to have a specific number of working experience and he would also have to demonstrate that he has the skills and ability to carry out the job.
General Contractor also makes up a large percentage of the population of handymen. A general contractor can perform a wide range of tasks and he may require some expertise from a variety of other people. A general contractor might have a specific client list, so that he will be familiar with their needs and the type of work that they require. He may require building permits, for instance, so he can give those building permits to his customers.
Handyman. While general contractors don’t usually require licensing, many handymen do. In fact, some jurisdictions require their handymen to be licensed, in order to ensure that they are qualified to perform the work of a certain level of quality.
A general contractor can hire an assistant. Whether or not you call your assistant a handyman or not, it is important for your remodeling project to involve some degree of handiwork. A good contractor will hire an assistant who has the necessary skill set to accomplish the tasks that need to be done. You will find that your contractor may even hire two assistants, who will work together to complete various tasks, including those that are required of remodeling professionals. You may even find that one of your tasks is outsourced to a handyman.
A word of caution about hiring subcontractors. It is imperative to hire only those subcontractors who will be allowed by your general contractor to use his tools and equipment. You should not hire sub-contractors who do not have a permit to use these tools and equipment. In addition, when hiring sub-contractors, make sure that you double check their permits and their licenses to make sure that they are legal entities. Some of the best general contractors will not only have a license to use certain tools and equipment but will also have a copy of their license in their files so that if a dispute arises, they will have it to prove.
When you are working with a general contractor on a remodeling job, there are some other things that you should watch for. It is imperative interview the subcontractor and, depending on how closely you know them, you may decide to hire them or not. Ask questions about the way they conduct their business and talk to references. References can tell you whether the subcontractor follows through on their promises and whether they perform according to their contracts.
General contractors may require drywall, brick, and woodworking tape. As the general contractor works with your remodeling crew, you may require these items as well. The quality of work that is performed may require you to pay a little more for them, so be sure to keep track of what each of the subcontractors are charging. It is better to be safe than sorry when you hire a general contractor and the type of work that you want done.