A handyman is someone who can handle small painting and carpentry jobs that can be completed quickly. He typically works alone, charges by the hour plus materials, and in some states is required to be licensed and carry insurance.
If you think you’re going to more extensive work, you should consider a contractor. A contractor differs from a handyman by taking larger jobs that require going behind walls, or tearing out and rebuilding areas. Contractors supervise specialized tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, and craftsmen.