You’ve been Mr. Fix It for quite some time now, repairing countless people’s appliances and making odd job house calls for the past couple of years or so.
Now you want to take your services to the next level.
You may be asking yourself: “Can I turn this into a full-fledged business?”
The answer is yes.
Keep reading to learn how!
Table of Contents
What It Takes to Start a Small Business
According to the Small Business Administration, almost 22% of startups fail within the first year. This is due to a variety of reasons, which can include the following:
- Lack of cash flow
- Targeting the wrong audiences
- Not knowing what customers want
- Poor marketing initiatives or lack thereof
But don’t lose heart! With the right knowledge, a hard work ethic, and determination, you can succeed.
You can improve your chances by setting specific goals, conducting thorough market research, maintaining your love for your occupation, and putting the pedal to the metal even when things get tough.
A small business requires extensive planning. You’ll first need to ask yourself the following questions (and more):
- What specific services will I provide/will not provide?
- What areas will I serve? Who needs my services? How far am I willing to travel?
- How will I price my services?
- Who is my competition, and what are they doing/charging?
- How many customers do I already have?
- How will I market my services? (website, social media, search rankings, print, etc.)
- How many employees will work for me?
- What types of tools will I need to invest in?
- How much money will I need to get started?
- Do I already have a handyman license?
How to Obtain a Handyman License
Before you dive into the business world, you’ll need to make it official and obtain a handyman license if you haven’t already. Why do you need a license? Because it proves credibility and shows that your state has tested you.
These licenses differ from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s specific guidelines and regulations.
Follow these steps (which again can vary by state) to obtain your handyman license:
1. You’ll need to apply for a contractor license in most states if you make over $500 or $1000 on a single project. You may not need one if you’ll only be performing minor repairs and maintenance work. Check out these handy state-by-state guidelines!
2. You may need to obtain additional licenses, depending on your state and your projects’ size and profit. Again, check your state.
3. Complete your training/testing according to your state’s requirements. This can be done through a college, handyman association, or even on-the-job training.
4. Pick out an official business name for proper documentation (determine whether you need a sole proprietorship or LLC) and register with your state.
5. Contact your Secretary of State to receive the necessary applications and forms. Submit along with any required fees or additional documents.
6. Get business insurance. (you may be asked for this when submitting your application)
How to Get Handyman Insurance
You want to ensure that you and everyone involved in your business is protected in a disaster, right? To do this, you’ll need to get business insurance.
Although you may roll your eyes at the word “insurance,” having a solid insurance plan in place is a critical part of protecting your company. You’ll be grateful for it if an accident or catastrophe occurs.
Most of the time, clients don’t even want to work with someone who’s not insured. The majority of states require it before you can obtain your handyman license.
Contact a few insurance carriers and compare quotes to see what would be the best option for your business. Make sure to take your time and shop around to find the best coverage for your buck!
Common Insurance Plans for Handymen
Keep in mind that your specialty areas and your location can require other policies not mentioned. As always, check with your state to make sure you’re abiding by their rules. Below are two types of insurance coverage you can get as a handyman:
This plan covers you if an unintentional injury occurs on the job site or if you cause damage to the customers’ property. Handymen are continually working at other people’s homes and commercial properties, raising the risk of injury or damage.
If you have employees, you’ll want to find a good workers’ compensation policy, which will protect you if an employee is injured on the job. This is required by most states as well.
If you’re using a vehicle strictly for work purposes, you may need to take out an auto insurance policy. You’ll want to be protected driving to and from job sites and during the transport of materials.
Check out this article to learn the average cost of these plans!
What Kinds of Tools Does a Professional Handyman Need?
“Handyman” is a catchall term, and it’s honestly pretty vague. You’re a jack-of-all-trades, and it’s hard to pin you down to just one service – and that’s quite alright! Just make sure you have plenty of tools on hand.
The type of tools you’ll need depends heavily on what kinds of projects you’ll be working on and your licensed specialty areas.
You’ll always be investing in tools throughout the years, especially as your business grows and if your services expand. Unfortunately, tools can’t last forever, and you may find that you don’t have the ones you need to do the job.
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for whatever the customer needs and have various tools at your disposal!
Here are some commonly-used tools by most handyman startup businesses:
- Vehicle – Yes, your vehicle is also a tool! Purchasing a used truck or van and wrapping it with your logo can be a great business move, as it raises brand awareness and allows you to transport all your tools!
- Drills – cordless, reversible, hammer, etc.
- Ladders – 4’, 8’, and 20’ will usually get the job done.
- Saws – hacksaw, circular, jigsaw, etc.
- Plumbing Tool Kit – pipe cutters, sink plungers, pipe tapping tools, etc.
- Hand Tool Kit – hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, screws, wrenches, nails, nuts, etc.
- Lawn & Garden – shovel, lawnmower, trimmer, posthole digger, rake, etc.
- Miscellaneous – duct tape, staple gun, measuring tape, level, safety glasses, chalk line, etc.
- Cleaning – vacuum, mop, sponges, rags, soap, powerwasher, etc.
Find Handyman Customers on Popular Apps
There are countless opportunities out there for handyman businesses! Advanced technology has given new companies a fighting chance. Here are a few of the top trending apps of today:
Angie’s List is an online review and search platform designed for homeowners and businesses that serve residential customers. Homeowners can browse through companies based on Angie’s List ratings and other customer reviews. The platform provides an extensive list of companies that focus on everything from plumbing and remodeling to landscaping and roofing.
Businesses can join the network to show off past projects, build an online presence, and request reviews to earn credibility and ultimately gain more customers. As a handyman business, you can easily send quotes, take payments, manage leads, communicate directly with customers, and so much more! Please be smart and look at reviews and pro’s and con’s of the platform before joining.
Home Advisor (who merged with Angie’s List in 2017) is another popular app recommended for handyman businesses. The app serves as a convenient search tool, where homeowners can find local home professionals to complete their home improvement, maintenance, or repair projects.
You can join their pro network to appear in search results for people in your location who are searching for the services you offer. Home Advisor helps businesses connect with prospects, control lead preferences and budget, and stay in touch with valuable customers. Please be smart and look at reviews and pro’s and con’s of the platform before joining.
Millions of customers use Thumbtack to hire small businesses in their area. This app is designed to match people needing services with local professionals who can fulfill their needs. Thumbtack is where people go to find help for just about anything – from dog training and massage therapy to appliance repair and maintenance and singing lessons!
Companies can build their business on Thumbtack through its lead generation technology. You can set up customer targeting preferences, fill out your company profile with service and pricing information, and start obtaining customer reviews. When a new customer finds you, they can message or book you directly in the app! Thumbtack offers the jobs you want, not just the ones you can do. Please be smart and look at reviews and pro’s and con’s of the platform before joining.
Set Your Handyman Business Up For Success
Knowledge is power. Now that you know what you’ll need to do, you can start formulating your business plan. Remember that these types of endeavors take time; you won’t be done in a day. But if you pair a hard work ethic with perseverance, your handyman business will be up and running before you know it. Best of luck!