Steps on how to start a handyman business and why to follow them.

Before you start a handyman business, you should make sure that you want to do this. There are numerous benefits associated with creating this type of business, including low overhead expenses, the ability to choose your hours, potentially low startup costs (if you already have tools), specialization opportunities, and franchise opportunities.

Is starting a handyman business a good idea?

While there are benefits, you should also be aware of the potential challenges you will face when starting a handyman business, such as the need for thorough knowledge, good tools, time management, and experience. You should also know the legal requirements like licensing and liability insurance.

There is also the risk of failure. Consider that of all new businesses, 20% fail within the first two years, 45% fail within the first five, and 65% within the first 10. By 15 years, only 25% remain. These figures have been relatively consistent for three decades. To give you an idea of the competition, the bureau of labor statistics reported 774,725 new businesses that people started in the year before march 2019. Of course, that figure is for all small businesses.

Even with those challenges, it can be an excellent idea to open a handyman business, especially if you take the right steps to set yourself up for success.

Even more importantly, the handyman market is growing. The following chart shows the market growth in recent years for just the sub-segment of handyman franchise businesses.

If you prefer raw numbers, here are some key figures from that chart, all of which are for 2020:  

  •   american handyman service franchises experienced 3.4% market growth
  •   american handyman service franchises have a market size of $4.9 billion
  •   from 2015 to 2020, there was an annualized market growth of 4.6%

 Those figures are backed up by the following:

With all that growth, there are certainly numerous opportunities available if you have the skills to seize them.

To improve your chances of success, we have organized the most critical steps in starting a handyman business, most of which combine to form your business plan.

How do I start a handyman business from home?

How do I start a handyman business from home?

Starting a handyman business from home will be similar to creating one with a business location, but there will be some variations. You will still need to take care of licensing, insurance, and other legal requirements.

1. Choose a niche or service to specialize your handyman business in.

You will need to start by figuring out whether you want to specialize in a specific service or niche. You do not need to specialize, but it can be helpful. Simultaneously, it can be useful to specialize in some specific services but offer a wider range when existing clients need it.

It’s your decision, but keep in mind that you can frequently make more by specializing, as you are seen as an expert and customers know your skills are up-to-date.

When thinking about what services to offer, be realistic, and think about legal requirements. For example, you may need licensing for hvac, electrical, or plumbing work in your state, which could rule it out. You will also want to think about any related services you may offer. Even locksmiths or lawn care companies could be considered handymen.

2. Learn laws and requirements for your state(s).

One of the most important steps is finding the requirements to start a handyman business in your state and then follow them. Laws vary by state, and the laws can change. As such, you should always go directly to the source and look at your current local laws. Look for the website for your state’s contractor’s board, or the city council, if they control the laws.

You likely will not need to have a license for the smallest repairs, but there may be restrictions on advertising or other aspects. Pay attention to requirements like business insurance, licensing requirements for a business license, and liability insurance.

This website has a list of the licensing requirements state by state as of june 2020 to help you get started. You will notice dramatic variations between states. For example, alabama does not require a license for projects worth less than $50,000, while california requires a license for jobs worth over $500.

3. Determine your ideal customer for your handyman business.

Next, take the time to think about what type of customers you want to attract. This vision will help you decide on things such as services and pricing. Considerations for customers include their:

  • Project budget – do they prioritize low prices, or are they willing to pay more for high-quality work?
  • Location – how large will your service area be?
  • Property – will they own commercial or residential property? Will it be homes or apartments?

Carefully choosing your ideal customer is key to your success but to your happiness as a handyman.

4. Determine what sets you apart from the competition.

With so many handyman businesses, you will need something that sets you apart or a significant selling point. It can be offering a unique service or specialization, having free or low-cost estimates, having a quick turnaround time, prioritizing customer service, or anything else.

Ideally, the thing that sets you apart will be something that your ideal customer needs.

At this point, you can think about a relevant business name.

5. Determine your handyman business pricing.      

Figuring out your pricing can be challenging, but this is an essential part of your business. You want prices that are low enough to attract clients yet high enough to make your business profitable. The best option here is to look at competitors in your market to see what clients are willing to pay.

6. Create a marketing plan and know how to find customers for your handyman business.

Next, it is time to make a marketing plan, which comes down to finding customers for your handyman business.

How do I get customers for my handyman business?

The best answer to this question is to do your best to create a healthy marketing plan. Many handymen underestimate the importance of this step, which can make your marketing efforts go more smoothly.

Make sure to include the following elements in your marketing plan.

A. Make a website

Start by making a website for your business. With cheap hosting and domains, plus readily available website templates, this is easier than it used to be. You need a website to provide clients with an overview of your services and your contact information.

Eventually, you can also use it to share testimonials, post photos of completed projects, and even make a blog to drive traffic to your website and show your expertise.

B. Advertise

You will need to advertise in some way, and this will depend on your target audience. Digital advertising is a must, and you will likely want to include social media advertising, email marketing, and other online ads. Depending on your ideal clients, you may also want to consider billboards or ads in local papers or magazines.

C. Gain reviews for online visibility

One of the best ways to gain clients is via reviews. Think of these as the modern version of word of mouth. You want to encourage clients to leave reviews for your services. You also want to respond to reviews to show you care about customers.

D. Develop partnerships

Consider developing partnerships as well. For example, you could partner with another handyman who has a different specialty where you refer clients to each other based on the services required. Or you could get a partnership with a landlord and have them come to you for their repair needs across properties.

Partnerships help you get steady business.

7. Gather the necessary supplies to provide your handyman services.

You will also need to make sure you have enough physical tools to start your business. If you are lucky, you may already have most of them on hand, saving you on startup costs.

What tools do I need to start as a handyman?

The tools you need will depend on your specialty or niche but will typically include:

  •   Toolbox with a lock
  •   Cordless drill
  •   Cordless circular saw
  •   Hammer
  •   Tape measure
  •   Screwdrivers
  •   Tall ladder
  •   Level
  •   Wrench
  •   Pliers
  •   Utility knife
  •   Safety gear

8. Use digital tools to your advantage when starting a handyman business.

You do not have to do everything from scratch when starting a business, as part of learning how to start a handyman business is using tools to your advantage. Podium is the perfect example of this, as it helps you with some of the above steps. Podium reviews can help you gain reviews to boost online visibility. Podium webchat lets you directly talk to customers who visit your website with ease, no matter where you are. Inbox makes it easier to communicate with clients and partners from anywhere. Podium is even helping small business owners by letting you try out its platform through a 14-day free trial.

Conclusion: why you need to know how to start a handyman business

With the above steps on starting a handyman business, you should have an increased chance of success. Remember that knowing what to expect and creating a business plan will help you avoid potential issues, improving your abilities to stand out, and make your business last.

Jennifer Wilson
Jennifer Wilson Strategic Home Services Account Executive

Jennifer Wilson is a home services professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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