How to Become a Professional Handyman 8 Easy Steps
Do friends and family always ask for your help with home repairs? Do you consistently lend a hand with DIY projects but wish there was a way to turn knowledge into income? If so, then learning how to start a handyman business might be the best decision.
Whether you’re ready for a career change or aiming to make extra money on the side, starting a handyman business provides flexibility and opportunity. Plus, it’s never too late to begin.
In this guide, you’ll discover the skills and tips you need to turn your idea into a reality. By following the eight steps found here, you can get your business started right away.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
What Does a Handyman Do?
A handyman provides a broad range of skills and services involving basic repairs, maintenance tasks, and other do-it-yourself projects. These assignments can be interior or exterior, and can include odd jobs that homeowners or property owners don’t usually handle very frequently. Some handyman businesses offer more specialized services for electrical, plumbing, and construction needs.
Handyman businesses are typically run by one or more service providers. These individuals may have a wide range of training when it comes to various maintenance or construction projects. Some knowledge may be experiential, meaning that there’s no formal training when it comes to knowing how to perform the work successfully.
Types of Handyman Businesses
If you’re looking for a field with a significant amount of flexibility, then starting a handyman business could be ideal. This is because handyman jobs often run the gamut from simple to complex, and can involve a wide range of unique tasks and skills to keep you on your toes.
Some of the most popular types of handyman projects and services include:
- Interior installation for different home products
- Drywall or painting repairs
- Power washing
- Repairs for small appliances or electrical devices
- Outdoor maintenance projects
- Replacing hardware and fixtures
- Assembly and small building projects
- Troubleshooting basic home issues
As a handyman service, you must make sure that you’re qualified to handle the types of work or projects that your customers ask you to do. Starting any of the projects on the above list without the appropriate skills or preparation could not only be unsafe, but it could also lead to further trouble for you and your clients.
Why Should You Start a Handyman Business?
Starting a handyman business is a personal decision, but it offers many positive opportunities. Some of the benefits of opening a handyman business include:
- The option to set your own hours and work environment
- The ability to use your hands and do something different each workday
- Working in a highly in-demand field that provides help to people
- Being able to specialize in a certain trade or skill to set your small business apart
8 Steps to Starting a Successful Handyman Business
When starting a handyman business, it can be easy to jump in and start work before you’ve laid the foundation. If you’re new to the administrative side of the process, don’t worry. By developing a well-researched business plan, you can start your handyman business legally and efficiently as soon as you’re ready.
In the eight sections that follow, you’ll learn the practical steps to take before you become an official business owner.
1. Choose Your Handyman Services
Even if you’re open to exploring any request that comes your way, it’s a good idea to start with a few focused efforts. Begin by recording the tasks that you know how to do well, and then narrow the list down to which jobs you actually prefer to handle on a regular basis.
Compiling a list of services will not only improve your marketing message and client acquisition strategies, but it will also help you manage your time more effectively in the early days. As you devote more time to running your small business, and as you hire additional help, you can potentially expand your list of services.
Alternatively, you can get started by identifying the “low-hanging fruit.” Which work can you easily tackle that has a high return on investment? Consider both the time it would take to complete potential projects, in addition to how much income you would earn from a specific job.
2. Decide on Your Name and Branding
As you research your local market for existing services, you might discover that there’s a lot of competition when it comes to this type of work. Instead of letting that distract or discourage you from moving forward, use that knowledge to dive deep into your own value, branding, and professional image before you get started.
This process starts by selecting a professional name that conveys who you are and what you do. It should also be unique enough to distinguish your company from any others that would appear in local searches. To seal the deal, file official business paperwork with your local city, county, or town.
Additionally, you may wish to start brainstorming options for branding. Remember that less is more, and a simplified yet professional look may appeal to a broader audience. Think about where you’ll place your branding and design, which could include attire, vehicles, online platforms, and local print materials.
3. Apply for Your Official Business License
In order to take your business to the next level, you’ll need to abide by any local regulations that dictate how small businesses operate. Check with your local clerk’s office for the necessary paperwork to secure permits and licenses, and stay up-to-date on licensing fees.
In some locations, you may need to file for a contractor’s permit if the work you plan to perform is estimated at more than a certain amount (typically around $1,000). Since you’ll be involved in some building and construction work, it’s a good idea to have this permit before signing any long-term contracts.
Additionally, don’t forget to apply for your employer identification number (EIN) directly from the IRS. This step guarantees that you’re compliant with federal income tax laws, and it helps identify your business as an official entity.
4. Separate Personal and Business Finances
The next step on your to-do list is to open a separate bank account for managing your business finances. Even before you hire employees or apply for business financing options, you should aim to separate your private and public expenses and income.
The first reason for this is a practical one. It’s often difficult to separate business-related expenses when they’re taking place alongside your own purchases. Beyond that very basic reason, however, is the idea that you should protect your personal assets from debts and losses that are assumed by the business.
Having distinct accounts also makes many financial processes easier. This includes activities related to bookkeeping, tax preparation, payroll, insurance payments, and more. Business accounts also make it easier to use digital accounting software.
5. Schedule Time for Administrative Tasks
Like many handymen starting a business, you might feel most prepared to tackle the physical aspects of your new venture. Whether that means estimating a job, performing a repair, or helping a homeowner, these might be tasks that you already feel comfortable with.
But what happens when your new business also requires that you become a skilled and knowledgeable business owner? Are you ready to handle the administrative tasks that often occur behind-the-scenes in order to keep a business running smoothly? Some of these tasks could take you by surprise, simply because you’ve never had to manage them before as someone new to starting a business.
It’s important to carve out time in your weekly schedule for the office-based tasks that you’ll need to manage for a successful company.
As a business owner, your new administrative responsibilities might involve:
- General bookkeeping
- Writing checks and handling payroll
- Paying recurring bills and overhead costs
- Keeping licenses and permits up-to-date
- Fielding customer communication
- Maintaining a website or online presence
6. Get Small Business Insurance
Small business insurance can act as a safety net that covers you, your business as a whole, and your employees. In some states or locations, possessing a small business insurance policy might even be a legal requirement for business owners.
When buying a policy, it’s always wise to shop around and compare companies. Make sure to research which items or events are covered under certain policies, what the claims process is like, and what the monthly premium cost is. These facts can help you know what level of coverage you need and help you avoid overpaying.
Once you’re insured, you can convey this to your potential customers. Many future clients feel better about working with a licensed and insured service provider, rather than hiring someone who has no coverage for accidents and unexpected claims.
7. Research Your Market
Before you officially launch, there are several important questions to answer about your target market.
The following market research questions can help you know what to expect as a new business owner:
- What is the current level of demand for the kinds of work I plan to offer?
- Who is my ideal client, and what are some of their biggest pain points or needs?
- Who are my competitors, and what are they doing to grow?
- What is the average cost or hourly rate for similar work in my area?
The more insight you have into these important questions, the more successful you can be when starting to let people know about your handyman business. Knowing more about your competitors can also equip you to price your services competitively and to offer an exceptional experience.
8. Start Networking to Find New Clients
Once you get some of the more manual tasks done, it’s time to spread the word about your handyman service! Chances are, you might have a small list of dedicated clients that you’ve already helped on the road to opening your business. Let these customers know that you’ve formalized your business and are ready to help more local clients.
Getting involved with local networking or business groups can also be beneficial. When connecting with other business owners, you can exchange contact information and extend an invite to use your services. Don’t underestimate the power of a personal connection or referral when opening up a new business venture.
Important Accounting Tips for Handyman Businesses
To boost your company’s profits, and to alleviate the stress of managing your own finances, consider investing in a mobile accounting software platform like FreshBooks.
Accounting platforms can help you navigate important financial activities in your new handyman business, such as:
- Managing overhead costs and recurring business expenses
- Providing accurate estimates and tracking the cost of materials
- Making the appropriate business tax deductions to save more money at filing time
- Saving time by using automated invoices that are sent directly to customers
Even if you don’t have much experience with formal business accounting, investing in the right tools and resources can make it easier to grow your business and your revenue.
Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Handyman Business
Occasionally, handyman businesses might get a reputation for not being as well-established as other types of services. This misconception may stem from the fact that many handymen get their start by lending a hand to friends and acquaintances who request their expertise. Once you establish yourself as an actual business, however, you’ll want to be careful to avoid errors and negligence.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes to avoid when you begin your professional handyman business.
- Committing to projects that you can’t complete: Potential customers might throw a lot of new projects your way. Although this provides business and revenue, be careful to take on any assignments for which you have little experience or training. In the end, the possible risk and damage outweigh any financial benefit.
- Failing to secure the right types of insurance: If you previously helped other people tackle their home projects without any formality, you’ll need to change your policies to become an official business. This usually requires the right insurance coverage to offset the liabilities you take on as a licensed service provider.
- Underpricing your services: In order to acquire new business when you first begin, you may wish to offer special incentives or deals. As you scale your efforts, however, remember to price your services according to industry value. Performing odd jobs that don’t support a reasonable hourly rate or cover overhead costs won’t be sustainable.
Jumpstart Your Handyman Business Today
Despite your personal motivations for wanting to start a successful handyman business, you hopefully feel more equipped to navigate the next steps. Although each entrepreneurial journey brings unique twists, having a blueprint removes some of the stress and uncertainty.
By investing time in mastering the eight steps outlined here, you can establish a business model that’s built to scale. This means that you’ll have many advantages, both personal and financial, to celebrate along the way.
Start your handyman business journey today to explore new possibilities in your career, while serving more local clients who can benefit from your skills.