June 03, 2022 9 min read
A guide to help you start that handyman business that you have always dreamed of while becoming profitable at it
If you consider starting a handyman business, you presumably already have experience in some form of trade work. This might be because you specialize in HVAC, electrical, or plumbing. Maybe you have worked for a handyman business before this point, and you have now decided to venture out independently. Whatever the reason, in this article, we will guide you on how to go from dreaming of owning your own business to owning that same profitable business.
What does a handyman do?
One of the best parts of being a handyman is that you will do new tasks almost every day. A handyman service will cover practically any home maintenance task as long as you do not need a license; some home projects that require licensing are electrical, HVAC, and some plumbing work. However, these things are typical things that a handyman would expect to do regularly.
This is in no way a comprehensive list. There will be a far wider variety of projects that an average handyman will deal with. A handyman may be called upon to handle any home maintenance task that a homeowner does not want to do themselves or is unable to do themselves but still needs to be done.
Decide what you will be doing.
Although you may think you will be a handyman who does everything possible, takes on any job, and can build a home from scratch, this may not be the best approach. You need to focus on the things that you are good at. Just because you know how to install an HVAC unit, it does not mean that you should offer it as part of your handyman services if you do not have the proper tools or the licensing to do it.
You will need to focus on the general idea of what you are good at and what you want to do. For example, if you have worked as a framer or enjoy working with wood, offer deck building in your services. Your talent and passion for building with lumber will take your work above and beyond the average person. If you apprenticed as an electrician before you began your own business, you could offer to do minor electrical jobs such as switch and plug-in changeouts.
The idea is to be the best at what you are good at and enjoy doing. This will help you to be the best in your chosen fields. Being great at a small list of things will get you as much business or more than being mediocre at a vast inventory of services.
Find out what the handyman laws are like in your state.
Every state will be different, so there is no set rule for this one. But, after you have decided which types of jobs you are comfortable with taking on, you will want to look into what your state requires for you to perform those jobs. For example, in some states, if you complete a job with a cost of over $1000, you will have to have a contractor's license. In some states, you cannot do any HVAC, electrical, or plumbing without the proper permit.
You need to have a quality insurance plan in place from the beginning. You need the proper insurance, but you will also need to discuss your coverage with your agent and an accountant semi-regularly to ensure that you are appropriately covered and that nothing will slip through the cracks. An accountant will be able to guide you in a way that keeps your business and financials from any future lawsuits.
Insurance will help protect you and your business if anything happens on a customer's property, but only if you are covered correctly. It is always too easy to say that nothing will happen until something does happen. Accidents happen every day, so it is crucial to have proper insurance so that you do not suffer the consequences of being without.
You will also need to make sure that your business is adequately licensed and set up with the state to pay your taxes. There will be a lot of factors here, tax exemption paperwork, retail sales tax paperwork, business license, bonds, and more. Whether your company will be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, you must ensure that the paperwork is done correctly and that no one has made a mistake.
Identify your target market.
This is a crucial step, as it gives you a clear direction of who you are marketing to, their price range, and their expectations.
When starting your handyman business, you will have low prices and will be willing to take on almost any customer that comes your way. This is common and can be used to your advantage. As you experience these customers, it will give you a crystal-clear image of who you would like your customers to be.
You can decide if you want to market towards the high end of town with large houses and well-established homeowners. But have to be extremely careful with everything you do, and if something happens, have to pay to fix an expensive home? Or would you rather market towards the average homeowner with an average home? But you still have to be careful working on their home and avoid accidents, but it may not be as expensive to repair an accident.
Targeting the correct market has the potential to make or break your business. Marketing towards the homeowners who want to pay someone to fix their home correctly will win out over those who merely want someone to do the job for as cheap as possible every time. This is an excellent way to help your business succeed. Market yourself as a priority, not as the cheapest handyman in town
How much will you need to start
The start-up cost will largely depend on what tools you need to buy. If you have worked as a handyman before, you may already have most of the tools. But if you have never worked professionally as a handyman or in the trades, you may have to buy more tools. Here is a shortlist of tools that you will need.
You may not need all of these tools right away, depending on what type of work you are mostly doing initially. You may also have to buy specialty tools as you go. For those tools, you will be able to pick them up later as you need them.
How much does a handyman make?
This is an extensive range, the average salary of a handyman is around 40,000 dollars a year, but there are reports that some handymen business owners make up to 3000 dollars a week. Although these numbers are very far apart, it would be more reasonable to assume that you will make closer to the 40,000 dollars a year mark.
Depending on how you charge your customers, you can expect to make 50 to 125 dollars an hour. However, this does not account for your overhead. It is estimated that the average handyman job will cost about 390 dollars in labor. Materials are not part of that figure. Generally, materials are added to the total after the hourly rate has been figured.
If you are doing remedial jobs that are pretty common, you will be able to set flat rates for those. Things such as unclogging a drain or hanging a ceiling fan could fall into this category.
Other things will play into how much you make as a handyman. Things like your work ethic, professionalism, marketing abilities, and sales skills will be tested.
Here is a sales tip to help your business become profitable. You should never lower your rates to attract or retain clients. This signifies that you are willing to work for less and are not confident in your work. If a person is unhappy with the price of your work, then you can first try to offer more service for the same price.
For example, if they say that your flat rate for unclogging a toilet is too expensive, you could offer to caulk their bathroom fixtures while you're there. Giving a customer a bonus will keep you from undermining your pricing scale while making them feel like they are getting a great deal.
Now it's time to start getting customers.
One of the most significant benefits of starting your own business is your freedom. The freedom allows you to work a typical job while getting your business off the ground or jumping feet first and hoping you make it. If you choose to perform a regular job while your company is getting off of the ground, it will ensure that you will have a steady pay check while still pursuing your dream of owning your own business.
Now it is time to focus on developing a marketing strategy. Most people working in the handyman trade tend to be pretty bad at marketing. Traditional marketing is more word of mouth. This would be similar to when you do some work for friends or family for referrals. This is an excellent way to help your business grow, but it is not the best way. You can offer discounts or bonus work for people who refer you to friends to support the word of mouth spread.
Running promotions such as offering a maintenance rebate club and giving your customers a discount for the year if they buy a membership. You can start putting your name out there in the way of signage. Yard signs and electronic billboards are excellent ways to get people's attention.
Since handymen are stereotypically bad marketers, this is where you will need to take the initiative. Find out what type of marketing works best in your area and utilize it well.
Some people will tell you to follow the same market strategies that everyone else is doing, but how will yours stand out if you do that. You don't have to go to extreme lengths to be different, but you can do little things like saying different things in your advertisements or other marketing aspects that no one else is trying.
This is not true when people tell you that word of mouth is good enough for a marketing strategy. This is because most people tend to spread the word about poor service as quickly as possible. After all, they felt slighted. But when you give your customer excellent service, almost no one will brag about you or post your name or phone number because you delivered them what you promised, excellent service and a fantastic, finished product.
It is no secret that software has been integrating into our lives at a phenomenal pace. You could look down upon and cling to the old business style of paperwork and office personnel teams, or you could use it to your advantage and allow it to help you run your business while cutting overhead.
There are apps for almost every aspect of today's world. You will be able to find apps that will help you with the invoicing of your clients. There will be apps for directions and note-taking and invoicing your customers. You will need to find the right ones that work for you and your business.
Depending on how big your company is getting, there is also software that will let you schedule directly and plan your days as you go. Some of the software will allow customers to organize their calls. This will leave you plenty of time to get the rest of the company figured out.
Now complete some jobs.
Now it is time to get those jobs started. You are venturing out on your own, taking the first steps with your business, and you need to have some assuredness that you will have a pay check at the end of the week. That will only happen once you start completing some jobs and ensuring they are done right the first time.
Depending on your state's licensing fees and how you approach that part of the business, you will have an excellent opportunity to make a liveable wage up to an incredible income while owning your own handyman business. It will depend on you whether you are willing to go the extra mile to make sure the jobs are perfect or be ready to work all of these extra-long hours after you have already been home.
When you work for your own business, there will be a lot of different roles that you have to play. This is especially true in the first few months as you're trying to get your business off the ground and get everything moving in the right direction. But this is the beginning of your future company. Take those steps with pride because many other people are too afraid to chase their dreams.