A handyman business can be quite profitable if you consider yourself to be a “jack-of-all-trades”! Those lucky enough to have a broad range of maintenance and repair skills are able to offer more services. Not every handyman is a skilled gardener, electrician, plumber and appliance repairer. Many handymen offer limited services but specialise in one or two fields. You don’t need to be able to do everything. And anything you might not be able to do yourself, you can keep a black book of your own contacts and even take on a commission for any work you can pass off.
There’s a growing demand for handymen due to increasingly busy lifestyles where people may be able to do the job themselves but, between work and family, simply do not have the time. Then there are the jobs that most people just are not capable of doing themselves, as they lack the experience and knowledge.
One of the advantages of starting a handyman business is that the start-up costs can be reasonably affordable. Many handymen already having the majority of the tools needed available to them, and only need to get a few more supplies and pay for initial business start-up and promotion.
How do I get started in running my own handyman business?
The first thing to do if you’re seriously considering starting your own handyman business is to write up a business plan. This doesn’t have to be an official document, but it helps to plan a clear and concise direction including the range of services you will offer (everything from the small jobs like putting up a shelf, to the larger jobs that will take several days). Be as specific as you can when listing these services, and include the estimated time that it will take to complete these jobs and a base price to charge for each. It makes a lot more sense to charge by the job than charge by the hour. As your efficiency increases with each job, it will take less time to complete without affecting how much you are charging for the job completion. Do some local market research and see how other handymen in your area price their services.
Each service will obviously require its own set of tools too. So you may also want to list in your business plan what you will need for each service you offer, whether you own the necessary tools already and how much it will cost to buy or replace. Don’t forget to keep records of all businesses purchases you make!
You will also need to think about the sorts of customers you will be targeting and whether they will be private individuals or businesses. Additionally, you will also need to register a business name, so think of a unique but memorable business name to represent and promote your business.
What kind of insurance does a handyman need?
Customers may ask you whether you’re insured before you start any work. If you had to tell them that unfortunately you do not, not only are you risking business from one job but any jobs that this customer may have had for you in future, including for others via recommendation. If you’re insured, you can also state that on any promotional materials so that potential customers will see that you’re an insured professional.
Handyman insurance can financially protect your business if any unexpected incidents were to occur. As someone who works in other people’s homes or business premises, there is always a risk that you may accidentally cause damage to a customer’s property or even injure someone while you are working. For instance, you may accidentally damage a customer’s wall or splash paint onto their carpets or belongings. Or maybe you’re repairing the roof and a tool falls and injures a passer-by. Leaving yourself uninsured means that a single accident could potentially bring your entire business to its knees financially.
You may also be interested in Tools Cover as an extension to your public liability insurance, which will protect against the loss, damage or theft of your tools of the trade.
If you have a work van or vehicle that houses your tools and you use it to get around from job to job, you will need vehicle insurance to cover the business use of the vehicle.
How do I promote my handyman business?
Since the jobs you’ll be doing are going to be in your local area, think local when you’re planning your business marketing. Flyers and business cards in local shops and bulletin boards, ads in local newspapers, local Facebook groups… Branch out your business advertising across as many platforms as you can. Especially when those platforms are free.
Social media can be a great, free tool to promote your new business. It gives potential customers an easy way to contact you online with any questions about your services, and you immediately have large local communities to engage with and advertise yourself to. If you set up a Facebook business page, you can also ask for reviews from previous customers to help legitimise your business publicly and assure any potential customers that you are reliable and trustworthy for the job.
You may think a general handyman business isn’t a flashy enough business to warrant a fancy website, but a basic one-page website can be extremely cheap (or even free!) and easy to set up. On your website, you can list all your contact details and a full list of the services you offer. This will help people to find your business when they’re searching online for a handyman or a specific service in your area.
Does a handyman eventually need staff?
If business is doing very well and you find yourself having to turn down work, you may eventually want to consider hiring employees. To start off with, you may just have one or two people who you can call for a hand every now and again if you need to do some heavy lifting or what have you. But if you decide to expand the business, employing a couple of people may be a good idea. Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement for every employer, but you will additionally need to consider the cost of salaries too.
The best thing about hiring employees is that you can spread the skill set and offer more services that you previously couldn’t offer alone. Two people may be jacks of all trades, but one may be a qualified plumber, whereas the other may be a qualified electrician. If the business becomes large enough, you may even want to hire an office worker to take calls, attract more work online and handle the paperwork. This frees you up to focus on other areas of the business.