Starting a handyman business can be a great way to make some money, assuming you have the necessary skills. Local service-based business opportunities often don’t get as much attention or love from blogs as online businesses do, but there are plenty of reasons to consider a handyman (or woman) business.
There will always be demand for the services of a handyman, thanks to never-ending projects for homeowners and rental property owners.
In this article, we’ll cover all the details of why starting a handyman business is a great option, the startup costs, and the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a handyman is $33,000. Payscale reports the median rate at $20 per hour, which would be more like $40,000 per year. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to make more.
What Does a Handyman Do?
“Handyman” can be used as a catchall title that covers many different services or “odd jobs“. Some handymen will do just about anything, and others specialize in specific types of services. Just a few examples of the types of jobs that can be done by a handyman are:
- Wallpaper removal
- Light plumbing (fixing a leaky toilet)
- Light electrical work (changing light fixtures)
- Flooring installation
- Deck installation or repair
- Gutter cleaning
- Lawn care
- Pressing washing
- Other types of maintenance, repairs, and light construction
Pros of Working as a Handyman
There are a lot of reasons to consider becoming a handyman, handyperson, or handywoman. Here is a look at some of the most important reasons.
Work Part-Time or Full-Time
You could start your own handyman business as a side hustle to make some extra money outside of your job, or you could pursue it as a full-time business. It’s very flexible work, you can put in as many or as few hours as you want, and it’s also one of the best weekend jobs.
Plenty of Work Available
There is no shortage of work available for handymen. Homeowners will always have things that need to be done, and many homeowners won’t feel comfortable doing the work themselves, or they simply don’t have the time.
Rental property owners can also be a great source of work. If you establish a connection with someone who owns a number of properties, you may get work from them on a consistent basis.
Another reason why there is so much work available is because the typical handyman does several different things. Instead of offering just one service, most handymen have a lot that they can offer. So if you do a good job for your clients, they’re probably going to have something else for you to do in the near future.
Good Income Potential
You can make a decent hourly rate as a handyman. This makes it an excellent side hustle, but you can even turn it into a good income for a full-time job. Generally, the highest-paid handymen tend to specialize and focus on a few types of jobs that they do really well.
Specializing will narrow the number of potential jobs, but you’ll generally be able to charge more for your time. If you’re able to build up the business and stay busy, you can make a good income.
Start Making Money Quickly
One of the reasons I love service-based businesses, regardless of whether we’re talking about side hustles or full-time businesses, is because you can start earning money almost right away. As soon as you have your first paying client you’ll be making money. This makes it a great option if you need to find out how to make a $1,000 per month quickly.
Because you can offer many different services as a handyman, finding your first few clients can be pretty easy. We all know people who have odd jobs inside their home or outside their home that need to be completed. You can probably start with just your existing personal network and pick up a few clients. Most projects are fairly small, so you can complete them and get paid quickly.
Relatively Low Startup Costs
The startup costs can really vary depending on several different factors, but it’s possible to get started without making a significant investment. We’ll look at startup costs in more detail later in the article.
Cons of Working as a Handyman
Like anything else, there are also some cons to go along with the pros. However, for the right person, these cons may not be much of an issue at all.
You’ll Need Some Skills
In order to be a successful handyman, you’ll need the skills to be able to do a great job for your clients. You don’t need to be able to do anything and everything, but you’ll need to be able to handle the services that you offer. Some people already have the skills. If you have no skills at working with your hands, a handyman business is probably not the right fit for you.
The Work Can Be Seasonal
Depending on the types of services that you offer (also depending on where you live) the work can be seasonal. In most cases, you won’t be completely out of work in the offseason, but you’re likely to have some busy times throughout the year, as well as some slower times.
For example, if you specialize in services like deck repair, lawn care, and pressure washing, you won’t have a lot of jobs in the winter unless you live in a warmer climate. However, this is something that you can think about when you are deciding on the services that you want to offer so you can have something to do in every season.
You’ll Need Tools
As a handyman, you will need some tools to be able to do your work. The tools that you need will depend on the services that you offer. It’s possible that you already have the tools you need to get started, but it’s also possible that you’ll need to invest some money.
Potential Legal and Liability Issues
When you are doing work for clients, you’ll need to consider the bigger picture of your legal responsibilities. We’ll get into this a little bit later, but your state may have some requirements that you need to follow. There’s also the possibility of being liable to damages as a result of your work.
Although these issues can be daunting at first, it’s certainly nothing that should prevent you from following the opportunity if it’s what you want to do. Information is readily available that will help you to form your business legally, and insurance can be purchased at reasonable prices.
How to Start a Handyman Business
If you’ve read this far and you think this may be the right opportunity for you, here are the steps that you can follow to move forward and start making money.
Step 1: Determine the Services That You’ll Offer
As a first step, think about the existing skills that you have and specifically what you can offer. Specializing is a great approach if you are able to specialize in something with high demand that will allow you to make enough money. When you’re first getting started, you probably won’t want to get too specialized or else it can make it harder for you to land clients at the beginning.
Even if you’re going to take a general approach and offer just about any type of service, it’s a good idea to have some specific services that you want to promote. For example, if you create an ad on Craigslist you’re going to want to list some specific services in your ad because it will be more likely to be found when someone is searching. If someone needs to have their deck repaired, they may search for “deck repair” instead of searching for “handyman”. So be sure to list a bunch of different services in your ad to get more exposure.
Step 2: Establish Your Business Legally
This is an important step and the specifics can vary depending on what state you live in. Generally, you’ll need to register your business with the state and you’ll need to get a business license with your city. As far as forming the business is concerned, you can form an LLC if you want to, but that’s not 100% necessary.
Your state may also have restrictions related to the types of jobs you can do without needing to be licensed. For example, you may need to be licensed in order to do electrical work. You may also need to be a licensed contractor to accept jobs over $1,000.
These are the things that you’ll need to research based on your state, but fortunately, it’s not that difficult. Do a Google search for “contractor licensing pennsylavnia” (obviously, use your own state instead of Pennsylvania). You should find a page on a government website that lists the requirements.
You can also do a Google search to find how to get a business license in your city.
The legal aspects of starting the business are not complicated, but you will need to put in a little bit of effort to make sure you are compliant. This page can also be really helpful, but keep in mind, you’ll need to verify what you’ve found here to make sure that it is accurate.
→ Related reading: How to Make $1,000 Fast
Step 3: Get Insurance
There are several different types of insurance that you could get as a handyman, but general liability insurance is the most significant and is really the only type of policy that is necessary. If your state does not require you to be a licensed contractor, you probably are not legally required to carry insurance. However, of course, that means that you would be taking on more risk. Some part-time handymen do not have insurance when they are first getting started. Getting liability insurance is definitely recommended, and it will typically cost around $500 – $1,000 per year. You can find many more details about insurance in this article.
Step 4: Set Your Rates
Before you start marketing your services, it’s important to think about how much you want to charge. You may have some jobs where you bill the client per hour, but in many cases, you will be asked by the client to provide a quote or estimate for the job.
When you are charging per project instead of per hour, you should get all of the information you need about what the customer wants, estimate the number of hours that it will take, and determine your price based on your hourly rate.
As mentioned in the intro, the median rate for a handyman is about $20 per hour. Of course, there are a lot of factors that can influence this like where you live, the specific services you’re offering, and your experience.
One common mistake that many service providers (not just handymen) make is undervaluing their time. Determine your hourly rate and don’t be afraid to charge what your time is worth.
Step 5: Market Your Services
Now you are ready to look for clients. The best way to get started is to tell your friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers (if you have a job) about what you’re doing and the services that you offer. Chances are, you’ll find a few clients that way. You can also ask people within your network if they know anyone else who might need your services.
Craigslist is another great way to start. You can place a simple ad for your services and reach people in your local area who are actively looking to hire someone. Creating an ad on Craigslist is quick and you can re-publish it or create a new ad after a while to keep it fresh.
As you grow your business, word of mouth will probably be your best form of advertising. Make sure to do the best job possible for your clients, and it will likely lead to more work and referrals.
Step 6: Set Up a Website
While it’s not 100% necessary, having a website can really help. Some potential clients will do a Google search to check up on you before hiring you. A website can help you to look more professional and reputable.
Your website can also make it easier for clients to find you, and lead to more work. Be sure to include keywords on your site, like the towns, cities, and neighborhoods where you work, as well as the specific services that you offer.
Setting up a website may sound intimidating, but it’s really quite easy and inexpensive. You can sign up for Bluehost for as little as $2.95 per month. I have an article here that leads you through the process of installing WordPress, which is a free program that allows you to set up your own website.
Step 7: Maintain Accurate Records
Once you start doing some work, it’s important to keep accurate records. You’ll need to keep track of all of your income and expenses (as well as receipts) for tax purposes. You should also have a system for managing invoices.
You don’t need a complicated setup to get started. Honestly, tracking everything in a spreadsheet is good enough for just getting started. Have a folder or someplace where you keep all of your paper receipts, or you can scan them and store them digitally.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Handyman Business?
The startup costs will depend on several factors. Here are some possible costs to consider:
- Business formation and license. These costs will vary depending on the type of business that you form and the costs of your state/city. You can form an LLC for a few hundred dollars.
- Insurance. General liability insurance will typically cost $500 – $1,000 per year.
- Tools. You may already have the tools that you’ll need. My recommendation is to buy tools as you need them. Don’t buy everything you anticipate needing right away. You can also rent tools that you may not need very often.
- Vehicle. Hopefully, you already have a vehicle you can use. If not, you will need to buy one.
- Business cards. You can get cheap business cards at a website like Vistaprint for about $20.
- Website. If you host your website with Bluehost it will cost just $2.95 per month.
As you can see, if you already have the tools and the vehicle, the startup costs are pretty small. It’s possible that you could get started for less than $1,000, depending on the costs of filing the business in your state/city.
It’s also possible that you could spend a small fortune on things like a new truck and a bunch of new tools. I recommend starting as small as possible, and then re-investing some of the money that you make.
Starting a handyman business can be a great way to make money for the right person. Hopefully, this article has helped to show why, as well as the specific steps to take if you are ready to move forwards:
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