Handyman or Carpenter?

Handyman or carpenter? Which do I need for my job?

I recently heard the phrase ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ used to describe someone who calls himself a handyman.  The context was a friend enquiring as to whether I thought they would be best employing a carpenter or a handyman to complete an IKEA kitchen installation.

At about the same time, I noticed a number of posts from homeowners on sites like gumtree and airtasker headed ‘carpenter or handyman’ required.  The two are very different.  Here is the Mr Right take on handymen and carpenters.


The Handyman

The assumption is that a handyman is someone who can undertake a wide range of repairs around the home, which I think is generally the case.  However, bear in mind that with a handyman there is no guarantee as far as skill levels are concerned.

The type of tasks they would usually be able to undertake would probably come under the headings of ‘odd jobs’ or ‘fix up tasks’.

If you are thinking of engaging a handyman, you need to do a bit of research on their qualifications, experience and track record.  And here is why…

A handyman could be a skilled ‘DIYer’ who has decided to supplement their main income or embark on a midlife career change; they could be a skilled tradesperson who has decided to expand their repertoire, or; they could be someone with little or no experience who thinks they can earn a bit of extra cash.

I would say you are likely to be OK with the middle one, probably (dependent on the scale of the job) with the first one, and avoid the final one like the plague!

The Carpenter

CarpenterA carpenter or ‘chippy’ is a skilled tradesperson, specifically in the use of wood to construct items as large as buildings or as small as a chest of draws.

The key here is that a ‘chippy’ is a qualified tradesperson who has undertaken training and a four-year apprenticeship training in either construction carpentry or cabinet making.

Carpenters in Australia generally undertake and are experienced in structural work.  Also bear in mind that the construction of walls with metal studs, and concrete formwork with reusable metal forms, is a carpentry skill.  So their skills are wide-ranging.

In our experience, a decent carpenter makes an exceptional handyman…

So where does that leave you with your next home repair, renovation or building project?

I would err on the side of the carpenter, particularly if they have structural work experience.  However I would say they often do better with professional guidance or some form of project management.

For very small jobs, ones that you think you could tackle yourself if only you had the time, a handyman will probably do, as long as you’ve done your homework.

And if you are installing a kitchen, whether it arrives flat packed or not, definitely a carpenter!


All the best, Martin

Categories: Home Repairs and Maintenance, Leak Repairs

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