5 Steps to Getting Paid For Fixing People’s Things

January 13, 2020 5 min read

5 Steps to Getting Paid For Fixing People’s Things

Do you consider yourself pretty handy?
Do you enjoy working with your hands or fixing things?

If so, you could decide to make some money doing what you enjoy and are good at.

Any time you get paid for a service, we call that being in business.

But if that word freaks you out a little, don’t worry.  Starting a handyman business like this can be as big or as small as you want it to be. It can be something you live off of… or something to make an extra $1000 a month.

And it’s something you canget started in these five basic steps.

Let’s dig in.

Step 1. Decide what to offer

First, let’s dispel a myth.

You don’t have know how to fix everything under the sun to be a handyman.

If you only know how to do a few things and do them well? That’s fine. In fact, it may even be ideal. If you have a narrow set of services, it’s easier to do step 3 AND Step 5.

I’ll dig into this more soon. For now, just make a list of the skills you have.

Throw everything you can think of onto your list.

Then take off the stuff you actually don’t like doing. (It won’t be worth it. Trust us.)

This will be your preliminary list of services.

2. Keep the lawyers off of your back

You know what would suck?

Putting in the effort to start your business, then learning you need licenses to legally do the work you want to do. A little bit of work beforehand can prevent this. So let’s take a moment to learn the handyman laws in your state.

The best place to start is finding your state’s contractors board website. Just google ‘[state] contractors board.”

It should pop up. If it doesn’t, it may be because contracting laws are handled by the city or county in your state.

In which case you should search “Construction law in [city]” or “Handyman exemption in [city]

Check out what you’re allowed to do unlicensed and what you’re not. Then compare that with your list. Anything you need a license for that you don’t have… go ahead and cross it out.

This will further refine your list of services.

3. Decide who to serve

Trying to be everything to everyone is the quickest way to beirrelevant to everyone. We don’t want to serve everyone. We want to serve one type of person who’s PERFECT for what we can do for them.

After figuring out who to serve, we should be able to save “I have [type of person] with [x problems they have]”

That makes it extremely easy for future clients to realize “I’m x person who has this problem. I need their help. Let me reach out to them.”

So let’s spend time thinking about who that perfect person is.

The ideal client will:

    1. Need and want the service you provide
  • Be able to afford your services
      1. Value quality work
  • Will refer you to other people if you do a good job
    1. Be people you’d actually enjoy working for

    If you nail this, it makes finding work and making a good profit WAY easier.

    So spend some time thinking it over.

    4. Figure out the $$$


    Not knowing what to charge is a big reason people never get started.

    But it doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. The best thing to do is to start with what you want to make and work backward.

    Will this be a side hustle? Decide how much extra per month you want to make. Will this be a full-time business meant to cover all of your expenses? Calculate all of your expenses (including yearly ones) on a per month basis. So here’s what the process looks like.

    You’ll need to figure out 4 numbers. Then do a tiny bit of math.

    The four numbers are:

    1. The amount of money you need to take home -TH
    2. Your Business Expenses (equipment, materials, travel, etc) -BE
    3. How many billable hours you want to work -Hours
    4. Taxes -Taxes

    So sit down and figure that stuff out. Do it with the understanding that this is a rough draft. You can’t know everything starting out and that’s fine. It may change some as you do more math or as you get started in the business and learn more.

    Note on Taxes:As a business owner, you’ll have to pay the taxes that an employer would normally take out of your check for you.

    That means finding your self-employment tax, federal tax, state tax, and any other taxes that may apply where you live. Then adding them up.

    In this blog post, we’ll use 30% (.3 in decimal form) because it’ll usually be around there if you’re in the US.

    You can use that too for an initial figure if you’re in the US. Just make sure to do the research later.

    After you have the numbers, here’s the math:

  • BE / Hours = Figure 1
  • TH / Hours = Figure 2
  • Figure Two / (1 - Taxes) = Figure 3
      1. Ex. $1000 / (1 - .3)
      2. = $1000 / .7 = $1428.57 (Figure 3)
    1. Figure 1 + Figure 3 =Minimum Hourly rate


    With 2 minutes of math (mostly done by calculator), you now know where to start with your pricing.

    5. Get people to know who you are

    Once all of that is settled there’s only one thing left. Get people to know who you are and what you do so they can hire you. There’s a million and one ways to market your business. Some of them more effective than others.

    But we’ll focus on the easiest way to get your first few clients.

    We’ll leverage two things:

    1. Social media
    2. Your existing network

    The main thing to keep in mind is this:

    Just start talking.

    Just tell anyone and everyone that you’ve started a handyman business/side hustle and that you help x person with y problems. If you’ve already helped people before, go back to them and ask if they need anything else fixed. If they don’t, ask who they know that is x person with y problem.

    Post your offer on Craigslist. Talk about what you’re doing on FB and Instagram. Go live if you can. If you talk enough, it won’t be long before someone reaches out for a conversation. And enough conversations with the right people will result in your first client.

    When you get your first client:

    1. Do a good job
    2. Ask them if they need anything else done
    3. Ask them to refer you to 2 other people who need help with the same thing
    4. If they say no to that request, then ask them to give you a shoutout on social media instead.
    5. Rinse and repeat with the next client

    As your business grows, you can start researching more ways of marketing. But for now, this is plenty.


    • At this point you know how to…
    • Decide what to offer
    • Avoid issues with the law…
    • Define your ideal client…
    • Get an idea of your pricing…
    • And get (at least) your first client.
    • All that’s left is to get started!
    • Don’t overthink this. 

    Just follow the steps one by one. Schedule when you’re going to sit down and do each task and it’ll get done.

    You’ll be surprised at how well things can work out.