Get Quotes from Top Handymen in Los Angeles, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Handyman in Los Angeles

At $22.77 per hour, a handyman's average hourly pay in Los Angeles is about half of the average hourly charges for a general contractor in the city. While it is enticing to give your work to any handyman that knocks at your door in the city, do not forget that one in three Californians has fallen victim to a home improvement scam. To ensure that the handyman you intend to hire in Los Angeles is legitimate, ask the following questions:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Handyman in Los Angeles?

The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) oversees the licensing and regulation of all building, construction, and home improvement-related professionals who provide their services to residents of Los Angeles. Per this agency's regulations, handymen are not required to possess an occupational license as long as they provide services that are worth less than $500, inclusive of labor and materials costs.

Any handyman who wishes to work on or bid for a project or contract that is worth $500 or more in Los Angeles will have to obtain an appropriate contractor license from the CSLB before doing so. Failure to do this can result in misdemeanor charges, which carry statutory penalties of up to six months of jail time, $5,000 in fines, or a combination of both. The CSLB is also empowered to issue administrative fines of anywhere between $200 and $15,000 to handymen who work outside the scope of its licensing exemption.

Note that even though handymen are not required to possess state-issued professional licenses, they must obtain a Business Tax Registration Certificate from the Los Angeles Office of Finance before they can legally conduct business within the city. Violations of this registration requirement can result in infractions or misdemeanor charges and are punishable by up to $1,000 in fines, six months in county jail, or a combination of both per violation. The city's business registration process can be done online or in person at any of the following Los Angeles Office of Finance service locations:

Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
Room 101
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Van Nuys Civic Center
6262 Van Nuys Boulevard
Suite 110
Van Nuys, CA 91401
West Los Angeles
1828 Sawtelle Boulevard
Room 102
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Queries related to handyman business registration requirements can be directed to the Los Angeles Office of Finance either via email or by calling its Customer Service Center at (844) 663-4411. Likewise, you can get additional information on Los Angeles handyman licensing exemptions by contacting the California Contractors State License Board via phone number (800) 321-2752.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Handymen in Los Angeles?

The average cost of hiring a handyman in Los Angeles is usually influenced by certain factors. These include the nature of the job at hand, the type and cost of materials that the job will require, and how labor-intensive the job is expected to be. A good way to get a proper estimate of handyman charges in the city is by getting quotes from at least two or three different handymen within your area of residence before making your decision on the best one to hire. This is equally a good way to ensure that you do not end up hiring a handyman who overcharges for their services.

Los Angeles handymen earn an average wage of $47,360 annually. The table below compares and contrasts the average hourly wages of handymen and other general maintenance and repair workers in Los Angeles with those of workers in this industry across the State of California and major American cities:

Los Angeles Handyman Average Hourly Wage
California Handyman Average Hourly Wage
San Diego Handyman Average Hourly Wage
New York City Handyman Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Handyman Average Hourly Wage
Houston Handyman Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Handyman Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Require a Permit to Complete This Work in Los Angeles?

As a homeowner, It is your responsibility to ensure that your handyman complies with any building and construction regulations that may apply to your home repair task. Per Section 91.106 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, permits issued by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) are typically required before construction, alteration, or repair work can be done on private property in the city. These include relatively minor home repair work, such as:

  • Applying approved coatings to existing exterior balconies or decks
  • Replacing existing siding with new stucco or replacing drywall without adding new walls for single-family dwellings and duplexes
  • Replacing AC units with the same size and type or relocating AC units within the same building
  • Adding or replacing plumbing fixtures
  • Non-engineered electrical wiring work
  • Changing out windows and doors with the same size and type
  • Chimney repairs

Permits for these minor home repair works typically do not require plan checks, and they can be obtained online via the LADBS's Express Permit portal or in person at any of the following LADBS permit counters:

Metro (Downtown) Office
201 and 221 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Van Nuys Office
6262 Van Nuys Boulevard
2nd Floor
Room 251
Van Nuys, CA 91401
West LA Office
1828 Sawtelle Boulevard
West Los Angeles, CA 90025
South LA Office
8475 S. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044
San Pedro Office
638 S. Beacon Street
San Pedro, CA 90731

Depending on the nature or scope of the repair work, the LADBS may determine that plan checks and reviews will be required before the requested permits can be issued. These plan checks can be submitted at the abovementioned office locations or online via the department's ePlanLA portal. Applicants also generally have to pay permit fees and meet any other requirements that the LADBS may deem necessary at the time of the permit application before obtaining these permits.

It should also be noted that all permitted work in Los Angeles is subject to inspections by designated officials of the LADBS to ensure compliance with applicable local building regulations. You can get information on the LADBS's permitting and inspection process by calling 311 or (213) 473-3231 from outside Los Angeles.

What Works Can You Do Legally as a Handyman in Los Angeles?

The major difference between handymen and general building and construction contractors in Los Angeles is the monetary limit placed on the types of services that they offer. To this end, handymen can legally perform any type of home repair work without possessing a CSLB-issued license, provided that the total cost of the job does not exceed $500. This includes jobs like repairing or replacing faulty electrical and plumbing fixtures, mounting televisions, patching holes in walls, and painting patios and decks.

On the other hand, building and construction contractors are typically required to possess a valid CSLB-issued license that empowers them to perform jobs worth $500 or more, usually in a specified area of specialization.

While handymen in the city are not required to possess occupational licenses, it is always in your best interest to make sure that the handyman you hire is aptly experienced and equipped to perform the required job. Another advantage to working with professional handymen is that they are more likely to recognize tasks that require a specialized skill set and duly inform you of this.

Listed below are cost estimates for some of the services that handymen in Los Angeles offer:

Artwork hanging
$50 - $150
Cabinet repair
$100 - $420
Drain unclogging
$70 - $150
Driveway sealing
$80 - $220
Drywall repair
$100 - $400
Electrical appliance installation
$120 - $180
Faulty fixture repair/replacement
$85 - $200
Gutter cleaning
$100 - $350
Home childproofing
$150 - $400
Lawn care/landscaping maintenance
$50 - $300
Patio/deck painting
$200 - $450
Snow removal
$50 - $200
TV mounting
$50 - $200
Residential handyman services (per hour)
$75 - $105
Commercial handyman services (per hour)
$85 - $100

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Handymen in Los Angeles?

Ensuring that your handyman is duly insured protects you from possible financial and legal liabilities if any deleterious event occurs during your home repair work. These events include damage to your property by the handyman and injuries to the handyman or other third parties caused by the repair work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 70 fatal work-related injuries and 23,400 nonfatal work-related injuries occurred amongst general maintenance and repair workers in several locations across the country, including Los Angeles, in 2020 alone.

Therefore, even though handymen who operate in Los Angeles are not legally mandated to carry general liability insurance, it is always in your best interest to ensure that your intended handyman does so. Request proof of this insurance and contact the relevant insurance provider to verify its authenticity.

Note that, per Section 3700 of the California Labor Code, any handyman who has employees is legally mandated to maintain workers' compensation insurance for these employees. As such, if your handyman works with an assistant or apprentice, you should also request proof of this insurance. Information on California workers' compensation requirements can be obtained by contacting the Division of Workers' Compensation of the California Department of Industrial Relations at:

320 W 4th Street
9th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1954
Phone: (213) 576-7389

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Handyman in Los Angeles

In April 2019, it was reported that the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, in collaboration with the CSLB, had identified and arrested twelve allegedly unlicensed contractors that were operating in the Los Angeles County area. These individuals had illegally advertised and bid for projects worth more than $500 despite not having the appropriate CSLB-issued licenses to provide the required services.

When searching for handymen in Los Angeles, it is important to make sure that you end up with one that works within the confines of the law to avoid falling victim to home repair scams. These scams typically involve handymen and other unlicensed contractors bidding for jobs they are not qualified to provide and absconding after receiving payment for these jobs without providing satisfactory service. You can determine that your handyman is legit and also protect yourself against possible home repair scams in Los Angeles by doing the following:

  • Always be cautious of individuals who show up unsolicited at your home and offer home repair services for cheap.
  • Always do your due diligence on any handyman that you wish to hire. You can do this by perusing the CSLB's Most Wanted List to make sure that the handyman is not listed here or by looking up reviews and testimonials on the handyman via online platforms like the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make sure that the total value of the home repair job is not up to $500. Jobs of this value or above should always be handled by an appropriately licensed contractor
  • Be wary of handymen who downplay the importance of a written contract or insist on complete upfront payment for the job.
  • Always request references from the handymen that you intend to hire. Failure or hesitance to provide references from past clients is usually an indication that the handyman is shady or does not perform quality work.

Home repair scams in Los Angeles can be reported to the LA City Attorney's Office by calling (213) 978-8070 or (877) 522-2737 or via an online consumer complaint portal. These scams can also be reported to the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs via phone number (800) 593-8222 or by contacting the Consumer Protection Division of the LA County District Attorney's Office at:

211 West Temple Street
Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 257-2450

It is important to note that none of these offices can guarantee monetary compensation when you file consumer complaints. Nonetheless, you can take steps to get this compensation by filing a lawsuit against the handyman at a Los Angeles Small Claims Court. Note that this court has limited jurisdiction and can only hear civil matters where the amount in contention does not exceed $10,000. You can use this court's resources and assistance webpage to get information on filing a small claims case. Alternatively, you can consult a qualified Los Angeles attorney to find out other appropriate available legal options for getting compensation for the actions of fraudulent handymen in the city.