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The GigWorker Guide to Handy

Last updated: June 25, 2019
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With the burgeoning gig economy growing more and more every day, it’s no wonder that everyone wants to get in on the action.

Independent on-demand jobs have become increasingly popular over the past few years. You can thank Uber and Lyft for the frenzy, but the fact is that transportation is not the only way to make money on your own terms.

Handy is another company that has been around for several years that is trying to capitalize on the freelance economy. And whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a full-time freelance gig, it might be the ideal job for you.

But what’s it all about?

Handy is a service that connects handymen, house cleaners, and other “professionals” with the customers who need them. Whether you can hang a shelf, make customer support phone calls, build an Ikea table, or hook up a surround sound system, there are always people looking for specialized expertise.

This article will give an in-depth walkthrough of Handy, the jobs it offers, the sign-up process and the potential red flags we’ve seen in our research.


What is Handy?

Handy is an app-based service that connects customers with “professionals” to do everyday tasks around the house.

Customers can use the Handy app to book services and schedule a time. Professionals can view the available tasks and show up at the customer’s door to complete the task at hand.

For Handy purposes, we use the term “professional” loosely. You don’t have to be a licensed contractor. You don’t have to be the number one expert in your field. You just need to be able to complete the job at hand and have previous experience getting paid in that field. This is a pretty lax requirement which requires no actual proof from Handy.

Handy is available in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and Canada. Before you can work for Handy, you must be background-checked and screened. Once you work for the platform, you’ll need to maintain your stats and prove that you can do the jobs properly.

From cleaning to painting to plumbing, Handy professionals provide all sorts of home services, which we’ll cover in just a bit. Keep in mind that every service comes with the Handy guarantee. The company strives to connect the right pros with the right jobs. So your experience in doing certain tasks matters.

If a customer isn’t happy with their service, Handy will send another pro out to do (or fix) the job. So it’s in your best interest to only do tasks that you can handle.


What Services Does Handy Offer?

A person mopping a hardwood floor

Handy offers a variety of different services, most of which involve household tasks. There are 12 main services that they provide, some of which involve skilled knowledge and some of which almost anyone can do.

1. Cleaning

If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, cleaning services are quite sought after on Handy. It’s basically like having a professional maid come to your home. This service is very popular among those who have rental properties or rent their homes on Airbnb. Professional home cleaners are also hired to clean offices and commercial properties.

2. TV and Electronics

There are lots of people who don’t know the difference between an HDMI cable and a USB plug. Handy is always looking for people that can install TVs, set up surround sound systems, hide wires, and mount TVs.

3. Assembly

Believe it or not, some people don’t enjoy building furniture from Ikea or Target. If you do, Handy is a great way to use your furniture-assembly expertise.

4. General Handyman

Handyman services are always needed to do things like change locks, hang pictures, hang shelves, and install air conditioners.

5. Plumbing

This one is best left for a plumbing expert. But if you can unclog drains, fix toilets, stop leaks, assess garbage disposals, and repair faucets, you can be sure to get some work on Handy.

6. Electrical

Electrical projects are the one thing that no homeowner wants to tackle. Handy can always use your services if you know how to install light fixtures, install security cameras, or fix thermostats.

7. Painting

Anyone can paint – but if you want to take on painting tasks through Handy, you better be neat. Customers are always looking for people to do interior painting or touch-up work on baseboards and molding.

8. Moving

Moving is stressful. Packing up an entire house or apartment is even more grueling. Handy can always use people to pack, move, and secure items in storage.

9. Smart Home

If you know what you’re doing when it comes to technology, you can find Handy work as a smart home expert. You need to be able to set up various forms of technology, smart light bulbs, or digital locks and doorbells.

10. Window Treatments

You don’t have to be an expert to hang window treatments. As long as you can properly install hardware and hang blinds, curtains, and shades, you’re sure to be able to find work on Handy.

11. Outdoor

Outdoor jobs are often available on Handy – you need to be willing to mow lawns, rake leaves, and clean up yards.

12. Storage

If you’re an organizational expert, you’ll love Handy. There are lots of customers looking for “experts” that can declutter, pack, and organize household items.


Signing Up to Be a Handy Professional

You can’t just sign up for Handy and think you can do any job that you like. In order to be considered a “professional,” you need to have previous experience getting paid for the work that you’re applying to do.

If you have some of the skills that Handy is looking for, head to this page. Fill out your information, start the sign-up process, and submit your application to become a new cleaner or contractor.

a screenshot of the handy signup screen

The first page of the application will ask you for some basic info. Fill that out honestly and include your relevant work experience. If you’re a handyman, they’ll also ask where you received training. They will also ask you what tools you have.

Submit your application and be prepared to provide your social security number and date of birth. Handy conducts a background check for every applicant, so be ready to provide some personal information.

According to this professional review on Indeed, Handy charges $20 for the background check, which is taken out of your first paycheck. Before you can complete anything, you need to agree to the terms. Based on the reviews that we’ve read, we recommend reading every word of the terms so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to.

Once you jump through a few hoops and pass the background check, you’ll be able to apply for Handy jobs.


Working as a Handy Professional

When you work for Handy, you work entirely through the smartphone app. As part of the signup process you have the option to check off the boxes of all sorts of jobs that you’re qualified for. Then, you can check the app to see if there are any jobs available in those categories. When you find a job that interests you, claim it as your own, and it will be added to your schedule. Jobs are usually scheduled several days in advance.

At that scheduled time you’ll have to head to the job destination. Be on time – if you’re late Handy charges you a fee. Do the job, and once the client is satisfied, leave the location and go back into the app to mark the job as complete.

It’s important to stick to the schedule you create for yourself. If you cancel a job within 24 hours of the scheduled time, Handy will charge you a $15 cancellation fee. That fee will be deducted from your next job.

Cleaning professionals also have the option to buy a Handy Bag. It costs $150, and it’s full of home cleaning supplies for all sorts of dirty tasks. This seems convenient, but professionals are probably better off spending half that amount at a local department store or bringing supplies from home.


How Much Can You Make Working For Handy?

Everyone who’s interested in working for Handy wants to know one thing – how much can I make?

The rates vary from job to job – more complex jobs cost the customer more money, which means more money in your pocket. And of course Handy keeps some of that for themselves. But just how much do they profit from your hard work?

According to one Handy review, one customer paid $243 to have a storage shed assembled. The professional was paid $80 for that job, so in that case, Handy kept about 67% of the total.

However, in 2015, Handy claimed that the percentage they keep is closer to 20% (we recommend reading this article for the inside scoop from current employees at the cleaning startup).

If you’re lucky enough to earn tips, you’ll get to keep 100% of those.

All jobs have a flat rate. So whether it takes you 10 minutes or 10 hours to complete the job, you’ll earn one flat, pre-established rate. The amount you make per hour depends on how many hours it takes you to do the task at hand.

Keep in mind that Handy workers aren’t actually employed by the company – they work as independent contractors. That means it’s up to you to pay for and provide all the necessary supplies. The cost of supplies can seriously eat into your earnings. But you will get to deduct those costs as business expenses at tax time.

To take advantage of tax deductions, keep good receipts. You’ll need to have those to prove that your business expenses total what you claim they total.


Real Handy Professional Reviews

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re looking for a flexible new gig. So we’ll be completely honest – the reviews for Handy are not great. That goes for customers and professionals doing the work.

Yes, people love the option to work flexible hours and make their own schedule. But the reviews are overwhelmingly negative for a service that sounds like such a great idea.

Just read what employees are saying on Indeed and you’ll get a good idea of what people think and feel about the job. This positive review says:

“I like working for Handy. Handy is great for someone who wants to make their own schedule. It has allowed me to work on other areas in my life. The hours are flexible and the clients are great.”

In another 4 star review, this professional writes:

“if you like/love working independently, this is the job for you!”

Those reviews sound positive and might make you feel optimistic about the service. But there are lots and lots of negative reviews as well.

One worker gave a 1-star rating, saying:

“worst job ever RUN!!!!”

Another writes:

“…I left because I couldn’t deal with the customers not being honest, the company not having a human for the contractors to contract and the unsteady income it provided.”

And it gets worse. In another 1 star review, this contractor writes:

“Worst company in the history of time. The worst customer and employee service I’ve ever had. Horrible pay, hours, and application.”

For more feedback from current and past employees, check out additional reviews on Glassdoor, where Handy has only a 2.3-star rating.

In general, customers and professionals seem quite displeased. They complain of unreliable service, low pay, and terrible customer service when there is a problem. Professionals complain about jobs taking much longer than expected and having to bring your own supplies. For the most part, most professionals seem to like the clients, but they hate the lack of customer service and support.


We love how many options there are for gigworkers looking to work independently and make money on their own schedule. Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, Doordash…there are big companies out there where gigworkers can make some real money. But if you don’t want to deliver food or drive around all day, Handy is an alternative option.

The concept is great but, unfortunately, the reviews are not. If you think you want to give Handy a try, we recommend that you exercise some caution.

Decide if this is the type of workplace you want. Read through the reviews of current and former employees to get a better sense of what problems you may have to face. And remember, there’s no customer service number to call when a problem arises.

Any job is what you make of it. If this is the type of work you want to do, go for it. Just go in with your eyes open. The biggest perk is getting to work when you want to work. And if that’s all you’re looking for, Handy might be a viable option for you.

Have more questions? Here are the best ways to contact Handy customer service.

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