Q: I need to take care of some home repairs, but I don’t know a good handyman, and the Yellow Pages are too random. Is there a better way to find a contractor?
A: One way of getting a better sense of who you’re hiring is through a Website called ServiceMagic (servicemagic.com). Here’s how it works: First, select the type of work you need done, from handyman services to decorators and designers (the site even offers feng shui experts). Then check a series of boxes indicating your time frame and other specifics, and add further details with a written description. Finally, leave contact information (which will also be used to create your account). Your job will immediately be posted to ServiceMagic’s network of registered professionals, and interested parties will e-mail or call you to bid. (You can calculate a ballpark figure by using the Project Estimator function, which estimates prices by Zip Code—New York numbers are authentically high.) And here’s the nifty part: You can research potential contractors by looking up what other ServiceMagic users have said about them and post your own comments once your work is completed. This time, that guy who vanished without finishing the job won’t get away with it.