Manchester, NH
How To Maintain Vacation Homes
April 27, 2021
a carpet being steam cleaned
Is Carpet Steam Cleaning Better Than Shampooing?
June 28, 2021

What’s The Difference between General Contractors & a Handyman

a close up of a handyman's toolbelt

A handyman is a jack of all trades, and unlike a contractor, they can a variety of different tasks in different fields. Contractors specialize and get certified for specific work. You may need a professional plumber or electrician to perform work in your home. But a handyman may be able to help you fix smaller things for less cost because they do not specialize in specific work. So, what’s the difference between general contractors and a handyman?

What Can a Handyman Do?

A handyman can take care of repairs that may not need a license. They are best to get jobs done like fixing kitchen cabinet shelves, paint touch up, drainage clearance, small electric repair without interfering with main power or supply lines. 

But there is a certain limit to what a handyman can perform, beyond that, a contractor should be hired since they must follow state or federal laws. Licensed contractors have approval from their state or municipality to perform certain jobs in an approved fashion. These licenses include but are not limited to construction, structural improvement, fencing, and Govt. permissions plus other gray-works. 

Generally, a handyman may help you with:

  • Outside house washing
  • Outdoor mold removal
  • Appliance repairs
  • Minor repairs or cleaning of HVAC
  • General, but a small area of painting
  • Minor pluming like changing a water tap or replace it with a new set
  • Repair drywall, or tiles, etc.

What Can General Contractors Do?

A General Contractor (GC) holds a professional license and has a team of workers. The GC will organize your repairs and manage it in a professional manner and follow local state guidelines.

You should know always make sure the following is true before hiring a GC.

  • They are experienced
  • They are insured
  • They are licensed in your area, for the job you are hiring them for

Do I Need a Handyman or a General Contractor?

You can often save money by hiring a handyman instead of a GC. In order to identify whether or not your project requires a GC please consider the following:

Define the project

The size, duration, and nature of the job will determine whether to go for GC or a handyman. Small repair jobs like kitchen repainting or a basic light installation can be handled by a handyman. Removing lead paint, rewiring a home, or replacing an entire plumbing system would require a contractor that specializes in that type of project.

Keeping Your Building Up To Code

Construction projects and remodeling projects often require building permits and licensed workers. If you are planning any project that requires construction/demolition or remodeling you should consider working with a licensed contractor.


Although a handyman may be cheaper in the short term you should be aware of what projects are best left to licensed professionals. You don’t want to pay a handyman to fix something only to have to pay a general contractor to fix it again if the job is done wrong. To avoid needing to purchase services twice, make sure to only trust companies that are reputable and can be held accountable for their projects. Additionally, do not hire a handyman for a complex or large project that requires professional services.


There are overlaps between what a handyman and what a general contractor can do. If you have a smaller project, like repainting an office, cleaning up mold, or light carpentry, our team at ECS Carpet Cleaners would be happy to help. To find out what our capabilities are, please visit our services pages, or contact our team.

Fill Out This Form Or Text Us To Get Started!