Wednesday, December 29, 2010

" Hiring A Handy Man " " Hiring A Handy Man "

" Hiring A Handy Man " " Hiring A Handy Man "Hiring A Handy Man " " Hiring A Handy Man "
Hi Jill,

I will add a few notes about insurance for those who may read in future. This is just basic info,. The more work you have done the more information and experience you may need to look for.

Yes, it is important that they are bonded and insured so that you can get damages from them if they mess up. If they are doing any renovations or work from heights it is important to be even more diligent. Do NOT take the word of a contractor at face value no matter how 'nice' they are. Ask to SEE every document and make some notes/license number to verify should you be having estimates done. You want a truthful, experienced contractor, NOT a 'nice guy,' and a good contractor/worker will be happy to show you the documentation.

You want to make sure they are
-Licensed, experienced and willing to get the proper permits and ask to see each one prior to the work being done and ask to see their license. Phone your city to make sure inspections are being done as planned so you do not have to rip down walls...yes this happened to me, as we had the permits but they didn't wait for the inspector...

-insured and bonded so that they will cover any losses/theft/damage to yourself as well as themselves. Ask for a copy. Remain diligent. The roofers had their 10 year old son up there helping take off the old roof. I said unless you have a special provision for him to be insured as well (of course they didn't ) get him off the worksite Even though they were insured, having him up there would have negated their insurance and given me heartache for a lifetime if he had been hurt.

-make sure the Insurance is up to date and valid. Use the copy of the Insurance to call their provider and see if the general insurance covers losses and injury and more importantly how much coverage they have.

Make sure the the contractor/handyman/vendor offers a guarantee. Make sure you have the guarantees in writing and get them as soon as each job is complete.

If you hire someone to work on your home who does not have insurance you remain liable for any damages/injuries which may incur on your property as well as those of neighbours.

If you are having major work done on your home it is also wise to speak to your Insurance agent to see what coverage you should look for in their liabilities. There may also be provisions needed for interim insurance if you are expanding your home or adding levels.

I added all of the provisions above to my contract as well so that it would be a reminder to the contractor that I was diligent and serious and wanted to see documentation before work.

One last comment... not all handymen are perfectly handy. Some did shoddier work then I would have done..EG the fence gate that fell apart 2 days later and a fence panel was not fixed, plus he hit the neighbours fence with his earth mover, so he had to come back several times and replace a main fence post for the neighbour. Inspect their work and the area they worked in to ensure they did the job to the specifications of your contract and left no damage to your or your neighbour's property. You will pay a little more for an insured worker but it is a wise move.


  1. If the handyman brings any helpers with him, he must have those people covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). He may also have this coverage on himself in case he in injured. If he had this coverage he could claim benefits from them and be less likley to try and come after you if injured A legitimate business should be able to provide you with a Certificate of Clearance which confirms he is in good standing with the WSIB. These are always asked for by businesses who hire contractors but there is no reason you can not ask for one. It will be just one more confirmation that he is operating on the up and up.

  2. Pardon me for asking, but how does a poor, uneducated senior evaluate the handyman's documentation?

    In my experience, private citizens get a royal runaround when they ask for information from their provincial governments, e.g, what does a Certificate of Clearance look like, who issues it, what is its form number, what is it called in the various provinces, and whom do you call for information?

  3. I am only familiar with Ontario. In Ontario you simply tell the handyman that you want to see a WSIB Certificate if Clearance. He then obtains it from the WSIB. The Certificate of Clearance is called exactly that. It is about letter size, and states that the WSIB waives all rights to come after the principal (you) for any premiums due by the contractor (Handyman). Before you get alarmed, in the 29 years I was involved in this process the WSIB never once went after a private homeowner, only other businesses that hired the contractor if premiums were not paid. However, what it will tell you as a homeowner is that the handyman is operating as a proper business and is not a fly by night type of guy. In Ontario or any other provinces you can get information by simply calling your closest office of the WSIB or Workers Compensation Board in your Province.