Got a shelf to put up? What about a pot rack? Well, you could spend your weekend at your local home improvement shop.

Or like a growing number of Americans, you could call someone to do the job for you. In every major metro area, including Chicago, there are dozens, if not hundreds of men and women who are doing the odd jobs around the house that we don’t have the time or skills to tackle ourselves.

“I had a leak in the sink. I needed a new faucet put in, we have lighting fixtures we wanted to change out,” says Debra Drake, a homeowner.

With time at a premium, an increasing number of Americans are hiring one of an estimated 30,000 handymen to tackle small jobs around the house that never seem to get done.

“I’m busy with my business. We have four children, three under the age of three. My wife is busy with the kids. Number one, we don’t have the time and number two, I don’t have quite the expertise on some of these things,” says Armand D’Andrea.

If you live in a house, it seems like there’s always something breaking or something needing to be fixed. The question is, how much are you willing to pay to get these projects taken care of?

for many homeowners, the answer is plenty. While some handymen charge as much as $50 to $100 per house to tackle less complicated projects, others will quote a project fee.

“Most of our jobs last 2 to 3 hours and for $200, people can get a lot done in that time frame,” says Nick DiNardo, House Doctors.

DiNardo says the typical client often has a list of things they need to get done on each visit from building out a closet to hanging a shelf.

“We usually like to wait until we have at least medium size projects for them to do,” D’Andrea says.

But small projects have a way of growing into big projects, like the basement refinishing project House Doctors tackled for the Drakes. But the real growth in the handyman business is in the so-called do-it-yourself projects that seem too complicated for the average homeowner.

“You don’t want to spend all weekend running around the home improvement store shopping for tools. What House Doctors can do in two hours, a lot of people would take them all weekend,” DiNardo says.

Sine handymen aren’t licensed in the state of Illinois, make sure the one you hire at least is bonded and insured and has complied with any local registration requirements.

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April 24, 2004.