Winter is a time when many families are indoors and see the need for a few home updates. But, is a contractor necessary, or is a handyman more appropriate for the job? Let’s take a look at the difference between the two. Depending on the project, an in-depth knowledge of construction or certifications may be necessary, and for these a contractor should be used. If the project is geared towards general repairs, a handyman could complete the project.

General Contractors

When hiring a contractor, it’s good to determine if a general contractor or independent contractor is the best fit for the job. General contractors should be used for large projects that require permits, special skills and training; the general contractor may hire contractors to complete certain pieces of a project, but is responsible for keeping the project organized and on time. Kitchen remodels and room additions are common projects for general contractors.


Contractors usually work independently and are ideal for small and medium-sized projects such as:

  1. Installing flooring (tiling, carpet, wood floors)
  2. Replacing windows or doors
  3. Building a fence, sunroom or deck
  4. Designing built-ins
  5. Replacing an HVAC unit or plumbing


A handyman service would be a good choice for these types of projects:

  1. Replacing a sink, faucet or toilet
  2. Repairing drywall
  3. Outdoor maintenance, including yardwork, fence and deck repair
  4. Painting
  5. Installing ceiling fans

Before hiring someone to work on any project, make sure they are properly insured, collect more than one estimate to compare services and costs, and ask for references. Also, the project should be understood by both parties with a clear understanding of expectations, the timeline and costs.