Saying a home improvement project is intimidating is like saying the ocean is wet. Between hiring a contractor and doing it yourself, there are endless ways to screw it up. So what’s the difference between hiring a handyman or a licensed contractor? And when do you need each? Let’s break it down. If the project involves simple home repairs or maintenance tasks, you need a handyman. Suppose it’s a complex multi-day project requiring specific licenses and permits. In that case, you need a general contractor—at least one, and maybe another with a particular specialization, such as electrical work.