Growth Trends for Related Jobs
A handyman is knowledgeable in a variety of techniques for fixing many parts of buildings or residences, inside and out. He's learned his trade through years of hands-on work, often in many types of environments. He has an eye for assessing a problem quickly and determining the most efficient way to solve it. He may work for a large apartment or condo complex, a hotel, a repair company or for himself. A handyman can also be a woman, though the term handyman is generally still used to describe her job.
Repairs and Remodels
A handyman performs general repairs and remodeling tasks such as rough and finish carpentry, drywall patching, installing windows and doors, yard maintenance or cleaning, and painting. He generally doesn't do intricate specialty work such as an entire kitchen remodel, but he could be called upon to install new cabinet doors, for example. He's often hired to do several jobs on one visit -- hang pictures, replace a rotted piece of wood, shave a small amount of wood from a door so it closes properly. When working for an apartment community or other rental complex, he's often given a checklist of items to complete.
Schedules and Prioritizes
The handyman works with the customer or tenant to schedule a convenient time for him to perform the work. It could be while the residents are at home, or in between when former tenants move out and new tenants move in. He must prioritize jobs according to urgency and allow time to view the work to be done and create an estimate, buy parts and supplies if necessary, and reschedule a time to come back to finish the work. He may supervise subcontractors or assistants, teaching them skills and checking their work.
It's important that a handyman keeps accurate records of each job completed to refer to if needed, and as proof that the work was done. He completes a work order or an estimate -- perhaps both -- depending on his employer's procedures or, if he's self-employed, what methods work best for him. Tenants don't normally pay for repairs, so they wouldn't need a written estimate, but the residents who hire him independently would expect one. It's his responsibility to keep receipts for items purchased for jobs and return unused items promptly for refunds.
Skills and Experience
The job of handyman doesn't require any specific education or formal training, but requires experience in a lot of different areas. He has typically learned on the job, or from working several different jobs through the years. Often, he started out by shadowing or assisting someone else in his job -- or he learned handy skills from a talented family member. A handyman must be able to work independently, take pride in his work and have the drive to serve his customers well. He should have the ability to climb ladders, crawl into tight spaces, bend down, kneel for extended periods and lift heavy objects. If he'll be driving a company vehicle, he'll need a valid driver's license and a good driving record.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in the Washington, DC area. She writes nationally for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including careers, education, women, marketing, advertising and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images