How do if find a good handyman?

I just bought both sides of a duplex and I need a little paint work and a little plumbing work. Can anyone tell me how to find a good handyman to work on my property? Thank you for your time.


When I was a newcomer in town and had just bought my first property I just went to the local want ads.

I hired that first over-priced, under-skilled guy and I just went on from there. I learned to get it in writing, i.e. “Bob, The Handyman, will paint living room, and do the following small repairs for dollars and get the work done by.” Then you can both sign or initial.

Soon you will have a small list of people who are good (or not) for your jobs. You will cross off the no-shows, chronically late, sketchy and unskilled in favor of the ones who do show up, have some tools, a pickup truck, and actually have done handyman work before.

The really good guys don’t advertise in the newspaper anymore. They don’t need to. They can pick their jobs. They are doing higher priced stuff.

A warning about excessively gaunt wanna-be workers with bad teeth. Those are signs of meth/speed addiction. Maybe you don’t want to go there.

You will make hiring mistakes. Expect it. Count on it. Just limit your damage exposure by hiring for one little job at first. If that gets messed up, say, “Thank you. Here’s your check. I’ll call if I need you again.” You won’t. Just don’t get angry, or stuff could show up missing or sabotaged.

Now I’ve got my older, reliable, Spanish-speaking handy guy who I can count on. My SWAT plumber. A list of budget, moonlighting electricians. A pretty good painter.

Good luck on your list!


“Good Handyman” might just be an oxymoron. A typical handyman can do it all, but not well.

However, to find a painter, go to the paint store (the one that only sells paint) and ask them to recommend a painter. They will have business cards from the painters who purchase from them and they know who has had complaints from the consumers.

Plumbers are a bit more difficult. If you have a plumbing supply place, ask there.

The best place to ask is at the local landlords association. Another place to ask is at real estate offices. The agents know who they can call to do last minute emergency repairs that are needed before escrow closes.

One last option, put an ad on Craigslist that says, “help, I need a painter. Can anybody recommend one?” I got a great painter that way. My luck with the request for a handyman wasn’t so successful.

My partner and I do a lot of our own repairs. That way it is done right the first time and for a heck of a lot cheaper.

If you’re new to the real estate investing business and don’t have much experience hiring a handyman, here’s a tip for you.

Start a new worker out with a small project and see how he handles it.

If he does a good job you pay him and give him something bigger down the road.

You don’t ever want to make an agreement for a big renovation project with a complete stranger.

If he’s not qualified to do the job, you’ll have a mess on your hands.

It sounds like you have a small project on your hands - very straight forward.

You really don’t want a good handyman. What you want is a really good investment real estate grade handyman. I have had neighbors pay very good handymen thousands of dollars to do very good work at their homes while I have had the same work done at my rentals for hundreds of dollars. There is a difference. I would find the handymen that advertise at your local real estate investor’s club and ask the members for references.

Remember everything that we do is different than what the world does. Out CPAs, lawyers, mortgage brokers, and yes handymen are different than what is found in the world.