• Living
  • advice

How to Get the Most From Your Handyman’s Visit

3 minute read

Most handyman services charge by the hour, and some have a minimum amount of time you must pay for, in addition to any material costs. Planning ahead can save you money.

Here are a few ideas that can help you respect the time of your contractor and keep your costs as low as possible.

Wait a Bit

If possible, try not to call a handyman service every time you have a small job. If the service has a minimum amount of time it bills, you might end up paying for two hours of time for a job that takes only 30 minutes.

Create a Punch List

Out of respect for your handyman and your pocketbook, consider creating a punch list and then calling when you have about several hours’ worth of work to do.

A punch list is essentially a to-do list of tasks that you need to have completed. If no task is an emergency, keeping a punch list is an easy way to consolidate what you need to have done. Put your list in an easily accessible place so you can quickly write down items when you notice them.

Before your handyman arrives, organize the tasks by room. This will give your contractor a concise overview of what you need done and where.

Check with the Handyman Service

While you’re compiling your list, consult with a recommended and experienced handyman service about what small improvement projects employees can do. Sometimes, you may need a contractor.

A handyman can likely hang pictures, complete simple plumbing and do more advanced jobs. It’s good to be sure, especially if you have an unusual task on the list. Keep this information in mind as you update your list.

Once your list has, say, four to eight hours’ worth of work, make an appointment.

Buy, organize materials

Also, consider purchasing materials before work begins. Tell your service that you will provide the materials, which will save your handyman time. It also can save you money, as many services mark up the price of material to cover the cost of the employee’s time and transportation to get and deliver the materials.

Make sure the purchased items are laid out neatly and easily accessible. Taking this step will help you make sure you have all the materials for each project and can avoid last-minute runs to the hardware store.

Organized materials also help your handyman be more efficient while working. The less time he or she spends looking for materials means more time spent on completing your punch list.

This article originally appeared on Angie’s List

More from Angie’s List:

  • Hire a Handyman to Complete Your Honey-Do List
  • Fall Lawn Care: Weeding, Seeding and Fertilizing
  • Do I Need a Handyman or Contractor?
  • More Must-Reads from TIME

    Contact us at letters@time.com