June 17, 2021
A Blueprint for California Facility Managers: Commercial Handyman Repairs, Maintenance, and Services
As a facility manager, you have a long list of responsibilities. To complete all of them to the highest standards, you naturally have to delegate or hire others to take over some of these tasks for you. You will likely want to include a commercial handyman in your list of people to hire. We will discuss everything you need to know about using commercial handymen’s services for repair and maintenance.
Why Should Facility Managers Hire a Commercial Handyman?
There are plenty of reasons that you should strongly consider hiring a commercial handyman to help you with your facilities management duties.
You Don’t Have to Do Any DIY Work
The biggest reason to hire a commercial handyman is that it eliminates the need to take care of the tasks yourself. From changing filters to painting walls, you won’t have to take time out of your busy schedule to do this yourself.
You Can Focus on Other Tasks
One of the most important of those benefits of not having to DIY projects is that you get more free time. This way, you can focus your time and energy on the other tasks that are most important to managing facilities. You can focus on organizational tasks, the budget, or anything else that is pressing. You won’t have to worry about pushing back an important task or a repair because you can’t be in two places at once. The handyman will take care of one of those tasks for you.
You Don’t Have to Learn New Skills – Or Worry About the Quality of those Skills
The other benefit from the lack of DIY work is that you don’t have to learn and practice new skills. On one hand, you can use the time that you would have spent honing those skills on other facilities management tasks.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your skills not being good enough. You won’t make poor-quality repairs that don’t last if you don’t have to make any repairs at all. This is very important, as low-quality repairs frequently cost more to fix than it would have cost if you had done the task correctly the first time.
Handymen Can Handle Tasks From Several Contractors
Another great thing about hiring a commercial handyman is that they can typically offer a wide variety of services. In most cases, if you did not choose to hire a handyman, you would have to hire several different contractors. Few other professionals have such a variety of skills.
A single commercial handyman can easily replace a carpenter, painter, plumber, and more, depending on who you hire. This saves you the hassle, time, and effort of finding those other professionals. It also makes it much easier to coordinate maintenance and repairs, as you only have to work with one person. On top of that, if you have a handyman you trust, you don’t have to worry about other contractors overcharging you, as you will not use them often.
Just keep in mind that handymen cannot typically take care of major projects or those over a certain value, so you will still have to occasionally hire those other professionals.
Fewer Security Concerns
Yet another bonus of just having to hire a single commercial handyman instead of several contractors is that you have to give fewer people access to your property and building. This can help minimize the security risk, making the property owners and anyone who uses the facilities feel more at ease.
Handymen Can Spot Potential Issues
Because of their experience, handymen can do more than repair and maintain a building. As they perform those tasks, they are likely to also notice other minor problems that could escalate. For example, maybe they notice a drain is close to clogging but not clogged yet.
Having a handyman spot these issues early offers multiple benefits. Most importantly, you get the chance to resolve the issue earlier. That typically prevents major issues from happening, including those that could potentially shut down the building. On top of that, smaller issues are usually quicker and more affordable to repair than larger ones.
Handyman Services Are Customizable
Yet another reason to hire a commercial handyman is that their services tend to be highly customizable. Handymen know that every building is different, so they can adapt their services to meet your needs.
This lets you pay for the services you need without having to pay extra for those that you do not. The result is the ability to get the most out of your budget while maintaining the property.
You Maintain a Great-looking Building
One of your ultimate goals as a facilities manager is to ensure that the buildings you manage always look their best. Working with a commercial handyman is a great way to achieve this goal, as he will take care of the building for you.
At the most basic level, a fresh coat of paint can make your building look a lot better. Other tasks, such as fixing wiring issues so lights illuminate the space well, can contribute to an even higher degree.
This is important, as most people assume that if a building looks good, then you do a good job maintaining it. This reflects well on your abilities as a facilities manager. You could even potentially use it to negotiate a raise.
Help (Nearly) On-demand
On top of all of the other advantages of hiring a commercial handyman, you will typically get very prompt service from these professionals. They are just a phone call away so they can respond quickly. This minimizes the time you have to put up with a minor issue.
The Difference Between a Handyman and Commercial Contractors
When most people talk about commercial contractors, they are referring to commercial trade experts such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. There are some important differences between the two, including the types of tasks they are legally allowed to perform.
Some tasks, including certain electrical and plumbing work, will require specific licensing to complete, depending on where you live. A commercial handyman is less likely to have this licensing than a trade expert. You never want to hire a handyman without the proper licensing for a task that requires it, as you could be held liable for unlicensed work.
Generally speaking, a project is more likely to require a special license and therefore a commercial trade expert if it is larger or more time intensive.
A good rule of thumb is that you will need to hire commercial trade experts for larger projects but can hire a handyman for smaller projects. You can also think of a handyman as being a “jack of all trades” while a contractor typically focuses on a specific area, such as plumbing, electric, or carpentry.
It is also worth mentioning that contractors are more likely to hire sub-contractors and work as a team, while handymen frequently work alone. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but the types of projects you will hire a contractor for are more likely to require several workers or more, while tasks for handymen typically only need one or two people. In many cases, the contractor you hire does not even do any physical work themselves. They frequently hire sub-contractors who they oversee.
The other important distinction between the two is that handymen frequently cost less. This comes down to the scope of their work and the differences in requirements. Obviously, paying a handyman to complete a small project will cost less than paying a contractor to complete a large project; bigger projects are more expensive. The licensing requirements also make a significant difference, as contractors will charge you extra for the training and examinations they took to receive that licensing.
In addition to that, some states, including California, have a financial limit to how much work a handyman can do. In California, this limit is $500, and that includes both parts and labor. This means that you will never have to pay a handyman more than $500 to complete a project. At the same time, it means that if you have a project that will cost more than this, then you cannot hire a handyman. That will typically result in the hourly rate for the project increasing.
Can Using a Facility Management Company Help You Hire a Professional Handyman?
Even if you are working as the facilities manager for a building or set of buildings, you can definitely hire a professional handyman. This is a great way to reduce your responsibilities and ensure that all necessary repairs are completed properly.
If you are not sure which commercial handyman to hire, you could consider talking to other facility managers or facility management companies. They will likely have suggestions of reputable handymen they have hired who performed up to their standards.
Should Your Handyman Perform Regularly Scheduled Building Maintenance?
Yes! Your handyman should perform regularly scheduled building maintenance.
Benefits of Building Maintenance
As a facilities manager, you hopefully understand the importance of building maintenance, no matter who performs it. Maintaining various systems and structures in the building dramatically reduces the risk that they will malfunction and require repairs in the future. Maintenance can also extend their lifespan, allowing you to delay a replacement and save money in the long term.
There is also the fact that building maintenance gives you the chance to spot any potential issues. If you have a commercial handyman take care of the maintenance instead of doing it yourself, their professional experience makes them more likely to spot these problems. As mentioned earlier, spotting a potential issue makes it easier, quicker, and more affordable to resolve.
Recognize What Falls Outside of Your Handyman’s Skills
While your commercial handyman can perform most of your regularly scheduled building maintenance, you should always recognize that he likely has limitations. You should only count on him to perform maintenance for systems that he is familiar with. Otherwise, his lack of expertise may mean that he will miss an issue that someone else would spot.
While it may cost more to hire a professional contractor for some of these maintenance tasks, it will save you money in the long run. Remember, you don’t want your handyman to miss something due to inexperience only for the problem to snowball and require expensive repairs.
What Services Do Experienced Commercial Handymen Offer?
Experienced commercial handymen tend to offer a vast range of services, and the specific ones offered will depend on the handyman and his experience. Expect services in categories like home repair, plumbing, gardening, and general building improvement.
Just some of the specific services you can expect include:
- Painting (both interior and exterior)
- Repairing or installing drywall
- Installing crown molding or wainscoting
- Unclogging drains and toilets
- Repairing plumbing, including leaks
- Weatherproofing decks and roofs
- Repairing decks
- Inspecting roofs
- Cleaning gutters
- Making basic exterior repairs, including to roofing, shingles, gutters, and siding
- Pressure washing
- Mowing lawns
- Performing yard work
- Fixing fences
- Installing tiles (including ceiling tiles and floor tiles)
- Repairing or installing flooring
- Cleaning carpets
- Cleaning up after construction
- Caulking gaps between windows and doors
- Repairing and installing doors (including door closers and automatic doors)
- Replacing ballast
- Fixing wiring problems
- Replacing light bulbs
- Installing fixtures
- Mounting TVs
- Installing ceiling fans
- Installing washing machines or other appliances, including smart appliances
- Hanging signage
- Hanging artwork
- Assembling furniture (including for offices, retail spaces, restaurants, etc.)
- Reconfiguring workspaces
- Creating and installing custom carpentry
- Repairing carpentry
- Maintaining and providing preventative maintenance for HVAC systems
- Performing general maintenance
- Inspecting buildings
- Emergency repairs 24/7
Are There Different Requirements for a California Handyman?
As mentioned earlier, in California, a handyman cannot perform services that cost more than $500. This is a lower limit than some states, as Arizona only requires licensing for jobs valued at more than $750, and Arizona has the limit at $1,000. Louisiana has a much higher limit of $7,500.
Keep in mind that your handyman cannot split up a large project into smaller pieces to get around the $500 limit. If they try to do so, find another handyman to work with in the future and hire a licensed contractor to take care of the current project.
However, it is also important to note that California does not require handymen to have any type of licensing. This also varies by state. Texas, for example, requires a handyman license. In California, your handyman only needs a license if he performs work worth more than $500.
If you plan on hiring a handyman in California for projects worth more than $500, then they must be licensed and registered. This requires them to have at least four years of experience, general liability insurance, a surety bond, and to pass exams in law, business, and trade.
Knowing Who You Hire
There is good news if you are concerned about accidentally hiring an unlicensed handyman in California when you want a licensed worker. California requires all handymen to mention that they are unlicensed on all of their promotional materials. This makes it easy to tell that you are hiring an unlicensed handyman and not a licensed contractor.
Similarly, California requires licensed contractors to list their license numbers on business cards. This is an easy way for you to confirm that you are hiring a licensed contractor to handle a task.
You will not always face penalties if you accidentally hire an unlicensed handyman when you should have hired a licensed contractor. The handyman may face up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $15,000. Your biggest concern will simply be the quality of the work. That being said, you may run into issues in the case of work that required licensing and permits to complete. In this case, your building improvement projects may not be up to code. That could require you to hire a contractor to redo everything, which can be expensive.
A Note on Certifications
It is worth mentioning that for a handyman to become a licensed contractor, they will need four years of experience. Even without becoming licensed, a handyman can get several certifications. These include an EPA RRP Lead Safety Certification and certificates for mold remediation, reading blueprints, performing professional home inspections, removing hazardous substances, and lead abatement.
Every facilities manager should have a commercial handyman that they can trust. Hiring a handyman tends to be more affordable than hiring a contractor, and they also have a wider range of skills. This allows you to hire a single person to take care of multiple tasks, including repairs and installation.
Compared to completing building repairs and maintenance yourself, hiring a handyman saves you time. It can also save you money by ensuring the job is done right the first time and by spotting potential issues you would not have noticed before they get worse.
Just remember that if you need to complete a project that is worth more than $500, then California requires you to use a licensed contractor for it. Commercial handymen in California can only offer services valued at less than $500, including materials and labor.