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City of Douglas News

Posted on: January 16, 2024

Handyman or Contractor? Homeowners Should Choose Wisely Before Making Home Repairs

Image of house with hammer, screwdriver, and wrench with words Contractor or Handyman Choose Wisely

As the New Year is here, some residents may be thinking about home repairs, remodeling, or building a home. Before a person hires someone to work on a home, homeowners should be aware of the difference between a handyman and a contractor.

The State of Georgia Secretary of State has a State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors (see O.C.G.A. Sections 43-41-1 through 43-41-17).   In July 2008, the enforcement of the standards and licensing requirements was established. Some specialty occupations, such as roofers, painters, drywall contractors, and repair handymen, are exempt and do not have to be licensed by the state.  The scope of work must be limited to jobs that do not require a State of Georgia “Contractors” License. Examples of work that a handyman is allowed to perform include changing out a light fixture or electrical outlet, installing an appliance, and repairing or repainting a porch or deck. However, a State of Georgia-issued Contractor License is required to install electrical wires for an outlet; install plumbing, new wiring, or plumbing to connect the appliance; construct a new porch or deck; or make additions to a structure.

Other specialty occupations, such as roofers, painters, and drywall installation, do not require a state-issued license. Utility-related occupations such as electricians, plumbers, and air-conditioning contractors must be licensed with the State of Georgia. Other utility-related trades, such as plumbers, electricians, and air-conditioning contractors, are regulated by the Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board.  To determine if a tradesman needs a state license, please contact the Secretary of State’s office or visit their website:

Anyone doing business within the City of Douglas should have a City of Douglas business license.   Please check with the City of Douglas Code Enforcement Division to ensure a contractor has the proper licensing or to report someone operating without the required local license. The state does not require a contractor license as long as the value of any project undertaken as a handyman does not exceed $2,500. Georgia requires a contractor license if work projects exceed $2,500.

Homeowners should carefully review warranty information and follow the procedures as outlined for repairs if a dispute should occur with a contractor. Georgia’s Right to Repair Act (O.C.G.A. Sections 8-2-35 through 8-2-43) provides a notification process for suing a builder, subcontractor, or design professional for defective construction or remodeling of your home. Owners of new and old single-family homes, duplexes, and condominiums must follow all of the Act’s requirements(summarized in the link below) to file a lawsuit, and buyers must be given notice of these provisions in their sales contracts. Visit for the full information on the Right to Repair Act.

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