You know you have the skills and/or the manpower to start your own handyman business. Yet, are you really ready to start your handyman business?
What’s the first step you should take in building your handyman business? What kind of skills and experience would I need? Do I need any certifications and licensing? How much profit can I expect?
Those are probably some of the questions you are having in mind as you are planning this handyman business. Fortunately, starting a handyman business is relatively simple: all you need is a little bit of time, basic knowledge about local permits and regulations, the patience to fill the pesky paperwork, and of course, business and handyman skills.
Below, we will discuss the step-by-step guide to starting a profitable handyman business. By following these steps, you can optimize the cost-efficiency of your handyman business, maximize profitability, and ensure success.
Let us begin.
Step 1: Choose Your Services
The handyman business, as we know, can consist of many different services, and it’s best to evaluate your current skills (or your employees’) and decide on just one or a select few specialty services.
It’s generally more profitable to specialize in just a limited range of services rather than being a generalist. Why? There are many reasons for this, but especially because your customers are more likely to trust a business that they perceive as an expert in a certain service.
Think about it, as a potential customer, are you more likely to hire someone that advertises himself as a “licensed hardwood flooring specialist” or another that says he can do everything?
The second reason why choosing just one or several specialties is important is licensing. Depending on your location, you might not be able to start a business without a required certification, and getting this license can be time-consuming and expensive.
Later on, you can expand your handyman business to include other services, but it’s best to start with just one service you’re really good at and grow from there.
Make a list of all the possible services you can offer right now, and do competitive research for each. This will help you get a clearer picture of which service(s) you should specialize in.
Step 2: Learn The Local Regulations
It’s very important to first figure out the local contracting laws in your state and/or location, and check which services you’d be required to get a license first before you can offer your service. Check what kinds of licenses you’ll need before you can provide the service you’ve decided in the previous step.
Certain states might also require a contractor’s license for jobs over a certain price tag (i.e. $1,000). If you live in the US, you can simply go to your state’s contractor’s board website and check its FAQs or ‘legal’ section (or similar ones).
You wouldn’t want to start planning or even starting a business only to later realize that you can’t start the business without a license.
Step 3: Define Your Target Customer
It’s very important to understand that you can’t target and please everyone.
It’s best to define which customers you’d want to target with your service and focus on this ideal audience. You shouldn’t lower your rates only to please a certain customer, instead, you should design your service and your marketing approach around a specific type of customer.
The important question to ask is: how can you help your target customer. The better you can deliver value to this ideal audience, the better you can attract them to be your loyal customers.
Figure out your target audience’s needs and preferences: some customers, indeed, just want the lowest possible price, and it’s perfectly okay if you are going to target these customers.
It’s important not to try to please everybody. This can put a significant strain on your business, both financially and emotionally.
Step 4: Invest In The Right Infrastructure
Now that you’ve decided on your target customers, it’s time to get the right infrastructure and equipment depending on the type of services you are going to provide.
Nowadays, infrastructure isn’t only limited to physical tools and equipment, but also software infrastructure that can help streamline and even automate some parts of the business. Handyman management and scheduling software like field can help you streamline and automate your workflow, create a specialized staff dispatch so you can easily manage your employees in real-time, and more.
In fact, getting the right software solution can considerably help in reducing and even eliminating the risks of missing appointments and other HR-related issues.
Step 5: Set Your Pricing
This can be the most difficult step to execute, as there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question “how much should I charge?”
There are, however, two basic ways to charge for your handyman services: by the hour or by the job, and charging by the hour is generally more preferred by many handyman businesses.
The best way to set your pricing is to first accurately calculate the cost of everything needed to start and stay in business, which typically includes the costs for:
- Your tools and infrastructure
- Licenses/certification costs
- Vehicle costs
- Your and your employee’s wage and fringe benefits
- Appropriate taxes in your area
Sum everything as your total cost, and divide this amount by 12. This is your monthly overhead cost. Divide again by the number of workdays in that month and add your target profit (or your wage), you’ll get the daily gross income you need to make as a result.
For example, if your total daily cost is $450, then you would need to make around $65 per hour and work seven hours a day (23 workdays a month) to cover this cost. You can charge around 30% to 35% in profit, or you can try to be more competitive and lower your profit instead.
Step 6: Plan Your Marketing Strategy
Just because your handyman business is ready to launch, doesn’t mean your clients will automatically reach out to your business.
You’ll need to have a comprehensive plan in place on how you are going to reach this target audience and convince them to hire your handyman service instead. Remember that you are also competing with other handyman services in your area for the same potential customers.
How you market your business should ultimately depend on your target audience’s preferences: if they are actively searching for any services they’d like to hire, then you should focus on SEO (local SEO) and social media. If your audience is more ‘conventional’, the old-age practice of newspaper advertising and brochure might still work.
Of course, you can combine all of the above, but consider your available marketing budget so you won’t break the bank. However, you’ll want to spend some time and effort on your marketing since it will have a big impact on your business’s performance.
After you’ve taken the six steps we’ve shared above, you now have a solid foundation to start and maintain your handyman business. Obviously, you might not get this all done in one go, so take your time and do your research as you are going through each step, one at a time.
Define your target audience, conduct proper competitive analysis, and tailor your handyman business and its marketing approach to help this particular target audience.