Chicago Handyman Tip: Hiring the Best Handyman/Remodeler

Hiring the Best Handyman/Remodeler

Allow me to offer some time-honored advice when choosing a handyman service provider.


  • Develop a Project Specification Plan* – define the project requirements in detail. Create a budget which covers demolition, materials, labor and/or a timeline.
  • Permits – when applicable, check with the city or village to determine if a permit is necessary.  If so, discuss this with each company to determine who’s responsible for pulling the permit.
  • Estimates – send the project specifications along with photos showing the current condition of your project area to three service companies.
  • References – ask for photos and/or detailed information specific to your project as well as a current reference list. You can also check with the BBB.
  • Insurance – ask for proof of insurance to be certain it is current and that it covers the work you’re requesting.
  • Contract – ensure the contract spells out exactly what is to be accomplished, what specific materials are to be used, the timeline and any warranty.

Also be sure that each company asked relevant question’s, gave you a Free Estimate and provided the most comfortable and honest assessment of what it’s going to take to achieve a successful working relationship.  After all, this is your project and it’s your vision which must be realized.

Creating a Good Project Specification Plan:

Let’s use a bathroom remodel as a sample project. Start by taking several photos of your current bathroom, you will share them later. On a piece of paper, draw the room as it is and add the measurement of each wall and the width of doors and windows as well as the placement of the toilet, sink and bath/shower stall. Don’t worry about it looking perfect; simply scratch it out and set it aside.

Design Ideas: If a friend has a bath you like, ask for photos. You should also go to the Design Magazines for new ideas. When you see something you like write down the manufacturer’s name and model numbers to share with us.

The design process is fun and something I truly enjoy. Here are a few of my favorite bathroom manufacturer links and if you want more, please give me a call:

Now grab another piece of paper and rough out the placement of products as you would like them in your new bath.  Are you getting rid of that old cast iron tub and installing a walk-in shower? Will the shower also have a seat or will the space become a whirlpool tub? Will the floor be tile and if so, do you have a sample picture or measurement to share? Are we closing up that window and installing an exhaust fan? What about lighting?

Perhaps this seems a bit daunting but the point here is to keep it simple by understanding the installation process. Every contractor simply wants to know what your vision for the space is and if you have a budget for the project.

Here comes the obligatory sales pitch!

Yes! Ask Lon can assist with any project you desire and even help (as we have here) with the “homework” but the more time you spend researching the needs of your project, the more you will understand its scope.