Should I Hire a Contractor or a Handyman to Finish My Basement?

Building Drywall Ceiling

It is impossible to ignore the benefits a finished basement offers to homeowners. If done right, your basement can become one of your favorite parts of the house. The question is still up in the air, though: who can do it better—a general contractor or a handyman?

Selecting one of these professionals to take on the basement job depends on a lot of factors.

However, the scales tip in the favor of general contractors, as these professionals are licensed and offer a broader scope of services and do them more professionally because of their experience in the field. Let’s understand in a little more detail why hiring a general contractor is the smarter choice to redo your basement.

Difference Between General Contractors and Handymen

The major difference between a handyman and a general contractor is that the latter is a licensed professional and can professionally take up the work of your basement, and be legally responsible for it.

On the other hand, handymen do have the skills to perform such jobs around the house, but they aren’t licensed and may not have a very technical insight into executing a full-fledged basement revamp. Additionally, some states require handymen to be licensed based on the
scope of work they would be handling.

This is one of the major reasons why general contractors are preferred over handymen for expensive and involved projects like overhauling the look of a basement.


A large project like basement rework requires not just plumbing or electrical work, but flooring, tiling, and other civil work as well. It requires a high level of coordination between various contractors and professionals, which a general contractor is capable of handling—since they have the experience. Handymen, on the other hand, can do the job well but may need assistance. In fact, the larger the scope of work, the better it is to hire a general contractor.

Nature of the Job

People usually prefer calling handymen when a lot of repair work around the house accumulates—for example, pipe and plumbing repairs, electrical repairs, lights, and fixtures, etc. A lot of small-scale jobs are better handled by handymen. On the contrary, where a single big project is involved, general contractors are more likely to perform better.


The experience of working on diversified projects and with different professionals makes general contractors better positioned to handle a basement project. Additionally, they have access to building codes, real estate laws, and regulations of the latest order and are better capable of adhering to these regulations than handymen. You don’t want to end up with jobs around your basement that aren’t approved by the law in your state.

The key takeaway that we want to leave you with is that general contractors are the better choice for specialized and high-level, large-scoped jobs as compared to handymen. On the other hand, for minor renovations or repair work, handymen are your go-to.

Thinking of renovating your basement? Leave it to the experts at ElkStone Basements for professional advice, and beautiful results. Visit ElkStone Basements today to get your free quote.