To learn the skills needed to work as a handy person requires time and hands on experience. There are many levels of occupation’s that fall under “Handyman”.
I’ve known many girls, mothers, grandmothers and women that had handyman skills in different fields of maintenance and repair. Several where painters, landscapers, roofers, and even iron workers. As long as you’re handy at the skill, and enjoy the work, you can be a handy-person.
If you don’t currently have handy skills, but would be willing to learn. I suggest you work with a handyman as a labor and or apprentice. Working knowledge for any blue collar skill, is 20% book learning and 110% hands on in the field. Experience is the key to knowing a skill well enough to charge money for the task in a professional manner.
A Handyman Business
A handyman business can be a simple trade or skill, up to the more elaborate. And, if you are a multi skilled craftsman, the possibilities are endless.
Job requirements might be as easy as re-hanging a door, or making a window open and close again. Simple plumbing issues, unplugging a drain, add a new O ring to a leaky faucet.
Paint a house, either inside or out are a steady money maker. A panting career does not need a license or special training. But, for interior work, it requires care and proper preparations to give a quality job to the client.
Higher skilled jobs as in, total remodels, or electrical wiring jobs might need a license and or permits. Always know your limitations when taking on work you have no experience in doing.
If you’re sure you can complete the work and satisfy the client, then study the needed techniques for specific work. We learn by doing, prepare for the procedure by searching the most current tools and processes for the new craft.
Higher skilled jobs about, hazmat cleanup, asbestos disposal, or contaminated soil disposal, will need training, proper licensing, and high level permits.
How to start out your handyman business?
You should consider it as with any other business venture. Why will they, “customers” call you when they need the work done?
• What services you offer to possible clients?
• What tools, equipment you own now?
• What you must buy to for your chosen trade?
Will you try working around your neighborhood, or will you work in a 50-mile radius from your home base, or more. Will your main vehicle offer the ability and service you need? Do you need to buy a van, truck, or a trailer?
Will you invest your capital to get started? Do you have enough money to start? What options are available if extra money is needed?
You can get started with minimal equipment and funds, but this might limit the types of work you seek. Always try to reinvest a part of your profits so you can offer quality work for any job that might come along in the future.
Always plan for rainy days and stretches of no work. This will happen while you’re between jobs. Put your effort into maintenance of your tools and other working related utility’s.
Advertising Your Business
Advertisement, is the greatest used method to get attention for your offerings and services. Do not allow yourself to think it’s not,
advertise your company in every from you can. Friends and neighbors will help in finding jobs, but don’t depend on that alone.
If you get more work than you can handle, bid higher, make your time worth as much as possible. But never start a job and leave it unfinished, this can become a real company reputation killer. “It takes 5 good references to offset 1 offensive reference.”
Business cards and low or no coat websites. Flyers and small ads in your local paper. Using these outlets, newspapers/ shoppers, are the largest expenses. Try a weekend ad, or 3 days a week to save in the beginning.
Create a Plan of Action
Make a list of your needs and make a plan for the items you must buy. Are you going to specialize in a specific trade or service? Or, are you capable, and ready, to do any task the client needs?
A crescent wrench is a tool used in many trades. A concrete power screed, is not. If you will need a special tool for your chosen trade, either buy them, so there on-hand, or rent if money is tight.
I started in construction as an apprentice carpenter in 1971. I am a firm believer; that he who dies with the most toys wins! But don’t break your bank buying tools that might produce profit once or twice. Tools should make you money, or maybe you should consider renting as needed.
As simple as it might seem, running a small handyman business might be the hardest part. People begin with the right frame of mind, then splurged profits unwisely. You need sock money setback for the unforeseen and odd ball payments or breakdowns. Plan for times when there’s no work, or you are waiting on bids to complete.
I’ve watched handyman/ contractor startup’s trying to get on top before they had a good client base. They’d rent offices, buy new trucks, and then, not find enough work to cover the incoming bills. But the bills came in, and they rolled over like a rubber ball.
A rule of thumb for clients, look for the guy with the old truck, he isn’t adding a new truck payment to the bid. Earn your way into a prosperous handyman business, then put a new coat of paint on it. You will need a low overhead buffer at startup to undercut the competition. The client will sense they got a good bargain also.
A license might not always be required for smaller scale jobs or handyman services. You should check with your local state building departments. If a state/ county, or town can find a way to charge you, they will.
Most licensing refers to the profit margin you might receive yearly. If you continue small and work on a cash basis, you can save the added hassle of paper work and regulation requirements.
There will be times when it’s mandatory to have a license and prove that you are a professional handyman. Confirming you are a licensed handyman/ contractor caries trust and weight when bidding for new work.
Offer your clients on call service. This is a major bonus for getting callbacks and more work. Customers love knowing they can receive action quick when needed.
Create your own handyman quote template using paper and pen or a word processor. Consider the main items you come across that effect your finial bidding price and cost. Build on this as you learn what to watch for and gain new experience’s.
Here you can download a free quote/ estimating guide to track and estimate cost. Use this as a guide and customize your own personal copy for the work you will be doing.
Handyman Business Estimate Form from Samplewords
This tracking of the jobs you do can pay you back later. Track the outcome of earlier work for the hours and materials used to complete a job. Tracking past work will let you build better estimates for new clients.
Don’t be the low bidder and lose profits or material cost. Be on top of the game and know ahead of time, then you will not lose money if you win a bidding contract. Many customers will consider the bid in a reality condition. If it looks too low, why take a chance on sub-par work.
Respond to questions from the buyer/ customer. If changes come up be ready to make bid adjustments in a timely manner. The customers could make final judgment at a moment’s notice for the first to respond contractor. This is where tracking can play a winning role.
Possible sources for work:
• Microwave has blown a fuse.
• Heat coil on electric clothes dryer.
• Furnace squirrel cage fan replacement.
• Replace furnace filters and clean furnace and ductwork.
• Hot water heater has burned out the heating elements.
• Hot water heater thermocouple has broken and needs replaced.
• Heat element in electric stove had burned out.
• Plumbing drains have plugged up and need cleaned.
• Replace/ remodel faucets, tubs and sinks.
• Leaky pipes or faucets.
• Caulk around tubs and sinks.
• Fix holes or cracks in drywall and plaster repairs.
• Repair door hinges or trim doors to make them fit.
• Fix or replace broken windows and glass.
• Clean out gutters and seal leaks.
• Paint walls, ceilings and add texture coatings.
• Pressure wash and paint exterior of house/ apartment or business.
• Spray interior and exterior of homes for insects and other pest.
• Trim trees away from the house and roof.
• Remove dead trees and shrubs.
• Handyman or handywoman for small jobs
• Furnace annual maintenance, vacuum and replace filters.
• Blow out dust from the clothes dryer discharge pipe.
• Dripping water faucets and drain lines.
• Clean out the refrigerator coils and condenser.
A leaking roof can be a harmful and expensive condition for a homeowner or commercial/ business property. The longer the leak continues added damage to the interior is probable. The customers are not waiting until the next sunny day to get the leak stopped.
Be ready to react and at least stop the incoming water as quick as possible, the repair can come later. There are many materials that can stop rain from entering a roof even when wet. Tarps and plywood can cover a large damaged surface and protect interior materials and finishes.
This speedy response and patch can lead to the other repair work on the interior of the damaged property. Ceiling finishes cannot stand much water without creating added work, no matter what finish the home or business had in place. Be ready with known estimates for repairs to offer the client.
This might be an open ended conjecture. How hungry are you when work comes? Have you determined a smallest cost per hour for jobs to make a profit for leaving the house?
Tools and daily material cost need to be figured into the overall hourly wage. An increase to your hourly cost can be related to the challenges each job might present. Will you need more labor? Will you need more tools or equipment to complete the work? How many hours of phone calls and running around?
You should have an educated guess for the local repair and labor rates for your working local. If other contractors are busy, you can charge more. If times are tight and jobs are far and in-between, charge less.
Watch the video for more ideas on a handyman business. There are many opportunity’s for a handyman or handywoman business on many different scales. Work from your own home as a husband and wife team is also a great income producer.