Maintaining a home takes time and effort, and so does finding someone to handle maintenance tasks for you. New York-based startup Handy (www.handy.com) aims to make it easier for homeowners to find help by serving as an online platform that connects Handy customers with qualified, background-checked and insured cleaners, electricians, plumbers, and other home-service providers.
Handy operates in 30 US cities, Toronto and Vancouver, and in London. Its 4 general service categories are cleaning (including homes, offices, and vacation rentals), electrical work, plumbing, and a broad handyman services category that includes everything from window-unit air conditioner installation and painting to general errands and deliveries.
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The Handy web site and app let account holders schedule home services for as early as the next day, depending on when its contractors are available. Site visitors who enter the specs for their job along with an email address can get an instant quote for the work they need done; for house cleaning quotes, there’s also a menu of add-on services such as oven and refrigerator cleaning, laundry, and interior windows.
You don’t get to choose your service person. Handy, like ride-sharing service Uber, fills service requests based on which of its contractors is available at the time, so even if you book weekly house cleaning you may not get the same cleaner each week.
As of this writing, the Better Business Bureau’s profile on Handy in New York City notes that the company is not rated pending the resolution of customer complaints, mostly about billing and customer service response times.
Service complaints must be made within 72 hours of service in order to qualify for a refund or a replacement service. You can cancel scheduled services 24 hours or more in advance with no fee. There’s a $15 fee to cancel 2 to 24 hours before start time, and cancellations within 2 hours are charged at the full service rate. You must cancel schedule services before closing your account.
For delivery items that don’t fit or that you don’t want on arrival, Handy will return the items and refund you their cost but not the delivery fee. For unpacked items, there’s a $100 removal and return charge, and a merchandise refund only if Handy succeeds in returning the items.
Handy generates quotes based on the service you request, your location, and how often you’ll need services. For example, Handy quoted a rate of $116 per visit to clean a 3-bedroom, 3-bath house in Austin every 4 weeks, with the rate dropping to $100 for weekly cleaning. That’s in line with direct-hire rates in the area and slightly lower than many agency rates. For interior painting services in the same city, Handy quoted $240 to paint a small room, also in line with area rates (with the customer providing primer and paint).
Seniors, caregivers and family members who need household help quickly, are cost-conscious, and want someone else to run background checks and insure the professionals who come to their home; consumers who are confident that they understand the company’s billing practices and service terms.