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Reliable Handy-man

How to Tell the Difference Between a Reliable Handy-man and a Phoney

We´ve all been there. Anxiously waiting for a responsible repairman to arrive only to see a battered, dusty van pulling up to the curb. These labor cowboys promise two things. An expensive call-out and a slow workaround time. Often, they´ll sigh heavily, shake their heads or mumble about extra parts before disappearing for a few days with a handful of your hard earned cash.

In a home emergency you´re stressed and you want the problem fixed fast. So it´s only natural to opt for the first option you find in the phone book or Google. More often than not, taking the time to choose the right option will save you heaps of time, and money, in the long run. We´re going to run through a few of tell-tale signs of a good handy-man and a bad one.


A lot of people take recommendations from friends or family when choosing a handy man. But, making sure a handy-man is fully qualified should always be the first port of call. I mean, you wouldn´t let someone perform open-heart surgery based solely on the recommendation of a friend would you? You´d make sure they were fully qualified. The same is true of a reliable handy-man.

When making first contact with a handy-man feel free to tell them that you expect to see their certification on arrival. If the job is related to your boiler, or your plumbing, workers are required by law to have safety certificates. This means that they are authorized to carry out repairs on dangerous substances like gas. A company, or individual, that is reluctant to provide qualifications, or certifications, on demand is likely to be under qualified. It´s not worth taking the risk with an unskilled laborer, even if the price is low.


The home repairs industry is a competitive one. That means there will be lots of discounts, deals and giveaways when searching online. Take a little time to find what an estimate would be for repairs. You can do this by looking online, or by phoning a few companies and asking what they would quote. Most companies will offer a similar price. If a price seems too good to be true, the chances are that it is. Spending less always feels like a good idea. But, if a job is done badly, you´ll have to call out a professional to fix the problem. Search for a bargain by all means, but don´t try to cut corners in search of wonder deal.


A company, or individual, that is confident in their ability to get the job done will offer guarantees. These protect you from bad service. It´s always worth investing a little more to get a guarantee on any expensive work you need done.

Their Brand

It´s true that looks aren´t everything, but they are a good indicator of the type of service you´ll receive. A good, reliable handy-man will market themselves well. That doesn´t mean a calling card, or a printed A4 sheet stuck outside the local bus station. If a company, or individual, has returning customers they will be able to afford to spend money on professional quality marketing.

In terms of their brand there´s a few things to look for and a few things to avoid. A proper website is a must. Not a single page online with a few 5 out 5 ´real´ customer testimonials. A professionally designed webpage with multiple links alongside services and offers. Something like this: An https address is actually a must have because it means that the domain is secure and paid for. To really be sure, cross check their website with the phone-book or newspaper advert to see if the offers are the same across the board.

Customer Service

Once that van pulls into your drive, it´s already too late. Remember when I said home-repairs is a competitive industry? Well, good handy-men make themselves stand out from the pack through good customer service. A top company will offer a 24 hour service. They should be easy to reach by phone as well as offering some guarantee as to service. That could be in the form of a clean-up after promise, or arrival times. You should be able to gauge the quality of a company through how well funded, and helpful, their customer service team is.


All you need to operate as a handy man is a van and a few tools. To find out if a handyman, or company, is legitimate there´s a few tests you can do. The first is a quote. All companies should be able to give you an approximate quote over the phone. This helps you to gauge how much you´ll be spending but also prevents a handy-man from ripping you off once the work has started. A quote will help you to hold a service to account.

The other way to see if a company, or individual, is legitimate is by pulling together all the information into a picture. The contact number, is it a landline or a mobile? The first point of contact, a call center or direct to the repairman? Have they been in business for a long time, or just a few months? You should be looking for the former in all of the above.

Good service will keep companies in business. A company with a long history in carrying out repairs is more reliable than a new starter. The minimum requirement for a long-standing company should be, at the very least, a landline number manned by a customer service team. These are indicators that a company has money to invest. If a company has money to invest you can trust they will also be investing in the right equipment, professionals and experience.

So that just about covers it

Above, there are six separate tests to weed out the phoneys from the professionals. Always remember to take your time in a crisis. Taking the time to make the right decision might just save you a few hundred dollars.