Everything You Need to Know in 2022
Photo: istockphoto.com Life gets busy quickly, and the small tasks around the house that don’t…
Life gets busy quickly, and the small tasks around the house that don’t seem worth hiring someone to take care of because “I’ll get to it” can pile up even more quickly. And a busy household can go from “a little messy” to unmanageably messy in a moment. Hiring a professional to finally hang the TV on the wall, or hiring a cleaner to come deep clean the kitchen, may seem like an unnecessary luxury, which can be further compounded by the difficulty of pinning down the cost of these smaller services from larger home improvement or maintenance companies. The Handy online platform and app have a solution: A brigade of handy professionals skilled at house cleaning, repair, maintenance, and improvement stands at the ready to be matched with customers who need their services, and Handy lets the customers define the scheduling of the service so it’s convenient for them, rather then losing an entire afternoon to a professional who promised service between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and shows up at the last minute.
But how does Handy work? Is Handy legit? The company began as a small start-up that was then acquired by a massive home services powerhouse. It works through a clean, simple interface by connecting professional contractors with customers who need their services.
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Our Verdict: For smaller household tasks such as furniture assembly, cleaning, and TV mounting, Handy is an excellent platform. Its streamlined one-step process of booking a professional and getting a quote is convenient for those who need last-minute services, as well as for clients who are simply too busy to invest more time in researching who to hire for the job.
- Service area: Select cities across the U.S.
- Services categories: Cleaning, furniture assembly, general handyman services, electrical, plumbing, moving, home improvement projects, and more
- Scheduling: Online, mobile app
- Cancellation policy: Free cancellation up until 24 hours before appointment; $25 fee for cancellation 2 to 24 hours before appointment; full cost for cancellations within 2 hours of appointment
- Simple and streamlined one-step booking process
- Vetted and screened professionals
- Special deals available through popular retailers such as Costco, Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Walmart, and Mr. Clean
- Relatively short complaint-filing window of 72 hours after the service was provided
- Insurance information for hired individuals not readily available
- Reports of quotes being significantly lower than actual cost incurred
The Handy company began as Handybook in 2012 as a service to help customers find outstanding professionals who could handle tasks around the home. Motivated by his work renovating a series of properties in Budapest, founder Oisin Hanrahan discovered how difficult it was to find a handyman who could get work done well and on time. He and his business school classmate Umang Dua found that the same problem existed in the United States and developed the platform that now exists as Handy.
In 2018, Handy was acquired by home services giant Angi, which had formed from the merger of Angi’s List and its chief competitor, HomeAdvisor. At that time, Handy founder Oisin Hanrahan became the chief product officer of Angi, and 3 years later took over as CEO. Umang Dua took on the role of chief revenue officer. Their commitment to connecting outstanding service providers with customers who want quality work done in their homes leapt to a much larger scale. Handy’s roots remain in the handyman and house-cleaning realm, but backed by the power of the Angi, it can offer niche services with less risk.
Handy’s landing page is bright, clean, and well organized. A top banner advertises Handy’s Safety Standard, designed to protect home environments, customers, and pros alike. Face coverings are required during bookings to protect both parties from illnesses, and pros must certify each day that they’re healthy. Handy provides its pros with high-grade cleaning supplies so they can leave jobsites sanitized when the job is done.
Quick links to Services, the Handy Shop, the Handy Blog, Help, and a login page are strung across the top of the page, followed by vibrant graphic icons directing customers to links for Home Cleaning services, All Services, and The Home Shop. More links are below, this time with photos of Handy professionals working on tasks that a customer might need completed. There’s a lot of overlap, but the different presentations of the same links mean that a wide range of customers are likely to find something that catches their eye. Clicking the links brings customers directly to a callout box which offers to get a price, along with a clickable link to customer reviews of that particular service. Below the callout box is a quick infographic about how Handy works, and then a series of job options and a list of frequently asked questions about that specific service.
The Handy Blog offers a raft of tips, deep-dive articles about various home projects, details about DIY projects, and other relevant information for customers and pros in a bright, appealing layout that feels like flipping through a magazine: No two pages are laid out exactly alike, and it’s a pleasure to skim through—plus it’s full of useful information, whether the reader is planning to hire a professional or not.
The bottom of each page includes links to all of the salient menu pages, customer service, popular services, and Handy office locations. In addition, a link is posted for professionals who would like to become service providers for Handy, highlighting the excellent pay scale, flexible schedule, and direct deposit payments, along with the beginning of an application.
Customers in need of basic handyman services around the house—furniture assembly; installations of smart-home devices, appliances, and televisions; electrical and plumbing work; house painting; and home repairs, among other tasks—are sure to find a professional through Handy who can handle the job. In addition, Handy offers connections with remodelers, tech helpers, and movers for small jobs. Handy’s other primary service offering is cleaning: weekly, biweekly, or monthly home cleaning; move-in or move-out Handy house cleaning; and one-time cleaning, along with office cleaning and vacation rental cleaning and home/office sanitizing services.
Handy’s website indicates that it’s reasonable to expect scheduling within a day or two for most services—and for customers who are in dire need of a last-minute cleaning job, Handy offers same-day scheduling for cleaning services in most areas.
Booking on Handy
One of the most unique aspects of Handy’s service is that while most home service companies provide a window (sometimes an hours-long window) during which the service provider is expected to arrive, Handy offers customers the option to select the specific time—to the half hour—that they would like the service performed. A drop-down box in the booking request permits the customer to select the date and time they’d like the service performed and the option to increase or decrease the number of hours allotted to the job. Handy’s website will offer the “Book with Handy” option, where it locates a professional among its members who can perform the service at that time and confirm the price, and the customer can simply enter their street address, choose whether or not they’d like to join Handy as a member, and proceed to payment via credit card. Alternatively, customers can select an individual Handy contractor themselves and submit a request for a quote, then book through Handy the same way once the quote is received. At the end of the booking process, customers will be asked to create a password so that they can log into Handy securely to check, reschedule, or cancel their bookings.
For cleaning services, the process is the same, except once the quote has been generated, there are additional options to select before the booking is complete. Customers can select their cleaner, then choose add-on services for extra fees, such as interior window cleaning, interior fridge cleaning, or deep cleaning of specific areas. In addition, customers can decide if they’d like a one-time cleaning or if they’d like to set up a regular cleaning schedule; setting a regular cleaning time and day, whether weekly, biweekly, or monthly, can result in overall savings through a package discount. The booking then proceeds through payment.
The booking process is extremely streamlined; from first search through payment confirmation, the entire process can take less than a few minutes.
Getting a Quote
Something many homeowners and renters find frustrating when shopping for home services is the difficulty in pinning down an actual job-specific cost estimate, because so much depends on the specifics of the job. For cleaning services on Handy, customers will input a few basic details (number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms) and their ZIP code, and Handy will do the math to calculate how many hours the cleaning will take and generate a cost. For same-day cleaning or other services, customers answer a series of quick questions and can input some details about the job, add an email address and ZIP code, and receive a quote for the service within minutes—and proceed to booking directly from the quote email or app. For straightforward services, there’s no need to schedule appointments for estimates and then schedule more appointments to complete the job; however, other services such as bathroom remodeling may require more discussion and measurements prior to getting a specific quote.
If customers want to choose a specific professional for non-cleaning jobs, the Handy website or app will facilitate the quote request from the professional based on the same questions.
Cost and Fees
Handy’s professionals don’t pay to join Handy, and they don’t pay per lead or per booking as some competitors require. Instead, Handy makes its money from the customers. Many customer reviews cite a disparity between the amount they paid and the amount their contractor claimed to have received. Basically, Handy pays the contractors an agreed-upon price per hour or per job, and charges the customers a slightly higher cost per hour or per job. It’s a business, after all. In addition, Handy adds a “Trust & Support Fee,” which is noted up front in the cost breakdown before booking. This fee, according to the explanation provided on the checkout page, supports the Handy platform and elements such as insurance, provider screening, and the 24/7 customer service.
To protect the time and schedules of its service providers, Handy also charges what it calls a “Customer No-Show Fee.” Should a professional arrive at a home at the appointed time and find nobody home, or should they be unable to gain access to the jobsite using instructions provided by the customer, they will first try to contact the customer. If unable to do so, the customer will be charged a fee to compensate the provider for costs of transportation and lost work. This fee varies by job but is specified on the booking page.
Handy’s platform makes it easy to reschedule or cancel bookings, but cancellations and reschedules that occur between 24 and 2 hours prior to the appointment time will incur a $25 fee—again, to protect the time and anticipated income for the provider. Bookings cannot be canceled less than 2 hours prior to the appointment time; there’s no extra fee, but the full cost of the booking will be charged to the customer’s credit card.
What kind of professionals book jobs through Handy? Handy itself is not an employer—it’s a facilitator. It matches professionals with appropriate skills to customers who need work done and streamlines the quoting, booking, and billing process. As a result, Handy’s professionals range from contractors who fill their schedules entirely through Handy connections to professionals employed full-time elsewhere who use Handy to pick up a few jobs on the side when they have time. All of Handy’s pros must have appropriate licensing for the work they perform, demonstrated paid experience with the services they’ll be providing, and authorization to work in the country where they’ll operate.
Handy values its professionals: While it does not employ the professionals directly, Handy pro reviews suggest that the contractors Handy connects to customers enjoy the prompt, streamlined payments from Handy and the fact that they don’t have to chase customers down for payment—they can work when they choose and get paid promptly. The Handy Professional Portal app allows pros to manage their bookings, charges, and payments efficiently on the go and between jobs.
Background Checks and Insurance Information
Handy promises to take care of screening and validating the professionals that customers hire through its service. Potential contractors must provide evidence of their experience, personal or corporate experience and connections, and proof that they’re credentialed for the service they’re being hired to provide. In addition, all Handy pros registering as individuals must pass a third-party background check to ensure they haven’t committed offenses that would disqualify them from being accepted into Handy’s platform. Small businesses, franchisees, and individual contractors of larger companies who wish to register as Handy providers must provide corporate information to verify that they’re a company in good standing, and the owners of the companies must pass a Handy background check, also through a third party; the individual workers at these companies will not be verified or background-checked by Handy.
While insurance information for hired individuals is not readily available, Handy insures customers against any damage caused by Handy-booked professionals.
The Handy Shop
While Handy’s primary focus is connecting homeowners and renters with professionals who can take care of cleaning or handyman jobs around the home, the company also recognizes the value of streamlining the shopping and installation process into one purchase. The Handy Shop offers a wide range of furniture, lighting, smart-home devices, small appliances, and components such as TV wall mounts and electric fireplace inserts for purchase on its site (available through special relationships with popular retailers such as Costco, Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Walmart, and Mr. Clean) that are bundled with expert Handy assembly or installation that can be scheduled through the Handy platform.
The Handy pricing, which is paid at the time of purchase, includes the cost of assembly or installation (with some exceptions where the cost might vary based on the installation in a customer’s specific home, such as a gas insert where a gas line is not already present). When the item arrives at the customer’s home, the company will send a confirmation email through which the customer can schedule a prompt Handy installation within a few days.
Handy’s claim is that the service aims to match each customer with the right pro for the job every time. To that end, it promises that customers who hire recurring cleaning services will see the same professional cleaners each time to ensure consistent and personalized service. Handy provides insurance for every booking made through its platform, so customers are protected against any damage that happens to their home as a direct result of the work being done via a Handy booking, as long as the customer can provide basic documentation. Customers who are unhappy with the workmanship can receive a credit toward a future booking or have the job redone. The Happiness Guarantee does require that the work be booked through the Handy platform (it does not apply if customers have rehired a professional they originally met through Handy outside of the platform), and that Handy complaints be made within 72 hours of the unsatisfactory service, which is a relatively short period. In addition, the customer must have an account free of unpaid or late balances. The Handy Happiness Guarantee page provides multiple options for reporting the problem.
Handy has both iOS and Android apps for quick and easy access to the platform. The app is colorful, intuitive, and seamlessly follows the same workflow paths as the online version of the platform. While the browser-based platform does offer the same services, some aspects, such as clicking into the profiles of the service providers and reading customer reviews of potential professionals, are easier and more accessible on the app.
Help is available to Handy customers 24 hours a day. Access to help is presented in several forms: Every page has a Help button in the top banner, in the bottom-of-the-page material, and, on most pages, called out in a blue box mid-page.The Help button delivers customers to a Knowledge center, with answers to frequently asked questions and a well-organized database of subheadings in areas where customers might want more information. Telephone assistance is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time and can be accessed by clicking the clearly marked question “What is Handy’s phone number?” on the contact information page. Handy offers an email link for questions and indicates that responses can be expected in just a few minutes, and a recent addition to the Customer Service page is the live-chat window that pops up as soon as the page finishes opening, where customers can type directly to a representative.
Handy Reviews by Customers
Handy provides plenty of customer reviews on its own platform, but more objective reviews on sites such as ConsumerAffairs, TrustPilot, and SiteJabber are somewhat mixed. Many customers note that the service is easy to use and navigate, and point out great customer service options. Like many handyman app reviews, however, it’s notable that in many cases the negative Handy furniture assembly reviews and Handy cleaning reviews aren’t actually reviews of the Handy platform; they’re negative reviews of individual contractors and professionals who failed to show up promptly or completed work in an unsatisfactory way. While it’s a little troubling to see so many negative reviews of this kind, which suggests that perhaps there’s a problem in the screening process, it’s also important to remember that Handy operates in hundreds of markets across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, so while some customers may have had negative experiences with individual contractors, there are many more customers who had positive experiences. Handy cleaning services reviews indicate the range of options available and the pleasure most customers take in complimenting their cleaners. Many were surprised to find that cleaning services were so affordable, as they’d never made it all the way through the more complicated systems of other cleaning companies (where rates are more tightly guarded) to get precise quotes.
Despite some of the negative Handy app reviews, the Better Business Bureau has awarded Handy an A+ rating. A perusal of the Better Business Bureau page reveals that a Handy employee reviews all complaints and responds promptly with apologies and offers of support and resolution, suggesting that the company isn’t just looking out for its image but values customer support as well.
How Handy Stacks Up to the Competition
Prior to Handy’s acquisition by Angi, Angi itself and HomeAdvisor would have stood as the most significant competitors. Now that those three companies are all on the same team, TaskRabbit is Handy’s largest direct competitor. TaskRabbit and Handy provide the same niche service: cleaning and handyman services on demand, prepriced, with convenient and easy booking and payment. Until the recent addition of the live-chat customer service function, Handy was lagging a bit behind TaskRabbit, but that feature has balanced out the customer service options on the two platforms. There are some minor differences in booking and fee structures, and TaskRabbit is slightly more friendly to contractors. The most significant difference is the Handy Shop—the convenience of purchasing fixtures, furniture, and appliances and bundling the cost and convenience of assembly and installation together is a great feature that neither TaskRabbit nor other competitors offers.
Should You Use Handy?
Want to hire a housecleaner or handyman with a minimum amount of fuss, an up-front price, and options to choose the precise time when the service will be performed? Handy is a great service to start with. The clear outline of cost; ability to change the services requested to adjust the cost; and simple scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellation of service visits makes Handy an ideal option for busy families and older adults who need a pre-vetted helper for small or large household tasks. Customers who are looking to schedule larger-scale renovations and remodels would do better to look at larger services where contractors who handle significant renovation work or general contracting services would be likely to advertise. For the day-to-day tasks that many homeowners or renters could use a hand with—if only so they don’t have to go out and buy the tools or worry about accidentally shorting out all of the home’s electrical service by accident—Handy will help find the right pro for the job.
We independently reviewed this service by weighing the company’s claims against first-hand experience with its professionals. However, due to factors such as franchising, human error, and more, please note that individual experiences with this company may vary.