Starting A Handyman Business...The Right Way
“I’m tired of the 9-5 grind.”
“I want to get back control of my time.”
“I want to make more money for myself & my family.”
With the desire to change their lives and get more out of life, these are just some of the reasons why handymen decide to go from part- and full-time employees to business owners.
However, a strong desire for change is only half of the equation to succeed with your handyman business. You also need to have clarity on a couple of things before you start working with people.
Whether it’s your first business or your hundredth, the steps to building a successful business are always similar. So to get you started, here are the first 5 steps to building a profitable handyman business.
The most profitable small handyman businesses are simple & specific. Here’s what I mean by that:
Any business that comes to market wants to get as many customers as they can handle to make as much money as possible. As a result, new handyman companies offer a range of services like plumbing, HVAC, electrical work, and carpentry just to name a few.
Logically, if you offer more services, then you fix a range of problems which means more people will come to you, right? But here’s the thing…
The key to long-term success for a small handyman company is to specialize in a couple of services and being the best at those than generalizing in a bunch of services.
Instead of doing what other companies are doing, you want to figure out which services you are good at and that you enjoy doing. It’s also important that the services you’re doing are what the market pays for and aren’t saturated with competition.
So before you do anything else, first create a list of viable services that you can offer right now! Consider the competition and how you feel about the services, too. If you don’t like plumbing, don’t make it a service you offer. Doing too many things at once that you don’t want to do will take up more time and overtime, lead to burnout.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that every state has its own set of laws about running a handyman business. You can learn more about these laws by going onto your state’s Contractor Board website. Some services may require proper licensing so find that out before offering them to people.
Now that you’ve listed out the potential services you can provide to people, where do you go from here?
Remember how I said in step 1 that you want to keep your business specific? A big component of being specific is knowing exactly who you want to work with. Here is where you figure out who is your ideal customer.
Just because a lot of people look for what you need doesn’t mean you should serve them all. Some individuals are just looking for cheaper options or who can get it done the fastest while others want the job well done. Decide which kind of customer type you want to work with that you’ll also enjoy working with.
By being specific with who you help, not only do you avoid customers that would potentially be a bad fit but you also get to command premium prices and get more referrals of people who need exactly what you offer.
Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding on the demographic you want to service:
- Who benefits the most from your service?
- Who needs your service the most?
- Are they residential? Commercial? Business-corporate?
- Where are they located?
- Why do they want your service?
- What do they really want out of your service?
Keep in mind that this will change overtime as you begin working with customers.
This is the question that strikes anxiety and uncertainty in the hearts of every startup handyman business owner: how much should I be charging?
Do I charge the market average? Should I increase my prices for a more premium look or should I have lower than average prices to get more business? Do I pull out a random number out of thin air?
Many business owners have preconceived ideas and beliefs about the market, their competitors as well as themselves and their own service and that creates the uncertainty of not knowing what they should charge.
While experience, reputation, skill sets, and efficiency play a big role in how you charge clients, there’s one principle that you need to keep in mind at all times to make your business as profitable as possible:
As a specialist business owner,under no circumstance should you lower your prices. Ever.
Instead, figure out yourhourly rate.
Go on various job boards and Craigslist and you’ll see many handymen charging as low as $10 an hour, while efficient professionals will charge as much as upwards of $100 an hour!
To figure out your personal hourly rate, take these 4 things into account:monthly personal expenses,monthly business expenses, hours you want to work per month &total taxes.
Once you know how many hours you’d like to work per month and the hourly rate you’re charging, that amount should be able to cover all your expenses and taxes. You’ll probably want to increase that hourly rate to generate a little more profit.
The question is, do you have the guts to charge that amount?
Did you know that over 90% of businesses fail within the first 5 years of starting up?
Although the businesses vary, the reasons behind their fall are practically the same.
It’s not that they don’t do a good job or have a good command of their skill. It’s just that they don’t have a predictable process that’s set up in their business. That’s why the next step is all about building out the system your business is going to follow.
Think of how a factory operates and makes a product. To go from raw material to finished product, there is a system of machines. Each machine performs a certain function that makes the process reliable and predictable. You know exactly where the materials are going, what’s going to happen and what the finished product looks like.
You want your business to be systemized because it will keep everything organized, running smoothly, and easy to manage. Having a system leaves no room for guess work and it makes customers feel at ease as you look more like a professional who knows exactly what they’re doing.
This process includes everything from how prospects will reach out to you, how you’ll organize appointments, and collect your pay to handling customer inquiries, marketing and maintenance.
Don’t feel overwhelmed with creating a perfect system for your business; what’s important is that you have something now to work with. As time goes on, you’ll notice when things in your business are smooth or need some adjustments.
You know what services you’ll be providing. You know exactly who you’ll be serving. Your price points & hourly rate are nailed down and your process is mapped out. Now it’s time to work on your marketing plan and get some customers!
At any given moment, there are multiple people that are looking for someone that offer one or more of the skills you offer. This means that there are customers who need you.
However, it’s rare that any handyman service provider offers a service that no other small business has. There is competition and they’re out there trying to succeed in their business just as much as you are.
The way to stand out from most handyman businesses is to do what most aren’t doing (or not doing right), and that’s plan out your marketing strategy.
Think about where your ideal customers are and which marketing methods are going to get their attention that’ll produce the highest return on investment for you.
Also, don’t rely solely on word of mouth to grow your business. Unless you’re well known or are charging minimum wage prices, you’ll want multiple methods of bringing clients to you.
Going Forward In Your Business
Successful handymen who run their own company follow a similar process when starting off and see as much as 6 figures a year offering basic services!
By starting off with these 5 steps, you put yourself in the best possible position to succeed as a handyman business. It’s not an overnight process, but the feeling of working on your own thing that’ll bring you more time and money is motivating. Take your time to start off the right way!
Will everything go swimmingly when you first start your handyman business? Maybe, but expect things might go wrong once in a while.
This is when it’s time to improve & optimize your business.
When you’re first starting a business and building out everything, it’s not going to be perfect. No business that lasts has ever started perfectly. Overtime, you will face new challenges, learn new things, and collect tons of feedback.
These setbacks and lessons are the indicators that will help you improve your processes as well as help you provide stronger results and a better experience to your customers.