If you have ever thought about turning your DIY and fix-it skills into a profitable handyman business, you have landed on the right page. There is no shortage of homeowners in need of extra help with tasks around the house.
This article will cover what you need to know to start your own handyman business, including:
- What to think about when planning your handyman business
- How to legally form and market your small business
- How to manage the business side of your small business
Create a Handyman Business Plan
Start your handyman business by creating a business plan. Think about the type of work you like to do and what services you plan to offer. Consider what tools and equipment you will need, how much you are going to charge, and what type of business insurance to obtain.
Think about the handyman services your new business is going to offer. Do you do carpentry? Do you plan to focus on interior and exterior painting? Are you going to exclusively provide home repair services or will you also reach out to businesses? Many handyman service companies offer some or all of the following:
- Fixing plumbing leaks
- Installing light fixtures
- Repairing drywall
- Interior house painting
- Exterior house painting
- Repairing roof shingles
- Cleaning gutters
- Repairing and replacing siding
- Changing door locks
- Fixing or replacing doors
- Repairing and refurbishing decking
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) inspection and maintenance
- Furnace inspection and maintenance
- Flooring replacement and repair
- Furniture assembly
- Appliance installation
- Hanging pictures
Handyman services also usually include taking care of caulking around bathtubs, cleaning grout, cleaning gutters, and hanging pictures, to name a few. Note that some states require a license or special training to provide certain services like plumbing or HVAC repair. You may also need to be a certified electrician to handle some types of electrical work or have a contractor's license for other work. Be sure to check out the licensing requirements where you will be working.
Tools and Equipment of the Handyman Trade
If you are starting a handyman business, you likely already have a lot of the tools of your trade and some kind of truck or van for transporting them to job sites. If not, one of your biggest startup costs is going to be tools and a truck.
Depending on the types of handyman services you will be offering to your customers, you may need to have the following on hand:
- Hand tools, including a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, vice grips, tin snips, and paint scrapers, as well as small parts like nails, nuts, screws, drywall inserts, etc.
- Painting supplies, such as brushes, rollers, chisels, mallets, paint trays, etc.
- Plumbing supplies, such as a pipe wrench, basin wrench, adjustable wrench, hacksaw, pipe cutters, plumber's torch, sealing tape, etc.
- A set of cordless drills
- Saws, such as a circular saw, a hacksaw, and a miter saw
- A step ladder and an extension ladder
- Safety equipment, such as dust masks, latex gloves, and eye and ear protection
- A tool belt
- A tool storage system and a portable toolbox
- A shop vac
If you don't have a van or truck, you will need to get a work vehicle that can carry your tools and equipment.
Types of Insurance to Consider
There are numerous risks associated with providing handyman services. It is always a good idea to get handyman insurance to protect yourself and your company against those risks. Think about obtaining the following:
- General liability insurance: Also called commercial or business liability insurance, general liability insurance protects your business if you accidentally cause harm to someone or their property while working on a job. The cost for this insurance will depend on your location, how much coverage you sign up for and for how long, and how many workers your handyman business employs. Generally, premiums are offered on an annual basis. However, you can also purchase on-demand general liability coverage on a monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly basis.
- Equipment insurance: This insurance covers the tools and equipment you use on the job. You can either get inland marine insurance - which protects your business's tools, equipment, and any other valuable goods when en route to a job - or a blanket business equipment policy that protects you against loss or damage of equipment and tools up to a certain amount.
- Auto liability insurance: If you use your personal vehicle for work, you will most likely be covered under your personal auto liability policy if you have an accident. However, if your handyman business owns just one or a fleet of vehicles, you will want to investigate commercial auto liability insurance.
Getting Your Handyman Business Off the Ground
Once you've decided what type of handyman business you want to create and what you are going to need as far as tools, equipment, and insurance, you will need to decide what legal structure you want for your business and how you will market your services.
Finding the Right Legal Structure for Your Handyman Business
There are four basic types of legal structures you can choose from for your handyman business. You can choose to:
- Operate on your own as a sole proprietor
- Form a partnership if you will be creating your business with one or more additional principals
- Form a limited liability company (LLC)
- Form a corporation
Which type of legal entity to create will depend on two primary considerations: tax implications and personal exposure to liability. In a nutshell, a sole proprietorship offers tax advantages but doesn't shield you from personal liability should an accident happen or a business creditor sue you. A corporation might be your best option from a liability standpoint, but may not be as desirable from a tax standpoint. An LLC reduces liability exposure and has some tax benefits.
Once you decide how to proceed, you will need to pick a name for your company. If you decide to incorporate or form an LLC, you will need to appoint directors, file articles of incorporation/organization, and pay a filing fee. If you are on your own, you can make yourself the sole stockholder and director of your corporation or LLC. Look at your state's official website for instructions on how to create your business entity online.
Unless you are a sole proprietor, you will need to obtain a federal tax identification number before you open up a business bank account, enter into business contracts, hire employees, or conduct any other business in the company's name. You may also need a state tax ID number (depending on the state in which you are operating) and a business license.
Promoting Your Services to Find Customers
There are several effective ways to market your handyman business. Some helpful marketing strategies include:
- Promotions through printed materials: If you are planning to find work in a certain neighborhood, you should consider printing out flyers with your business name, your contact information (e.g., name, phone number, email), and the types of services you offer. You can distribute the flyers door to door, leave them on car windshields, and/or post them on neighborhood bulletin boards. You might also want to print up business cards to hand out. Be sure to leave a few with each customer when you finish a job. When it comes to small business promotions, word-of-mouth advertising and referrals can be the most effective.
- Advertising on your work vehicle: You can also turn your truck or van into a mobile billboard. You can paint the sides with your business name and phone number or have inexpensive magnetic signs made that attach to each side. Some small businesses have their vehicles wrapped with their business information. Any of these strategies will get you a lot of exposure for your business when you are driving around town.
- Establishing an online presence: You will probably want to establish an online presence to advertise your services. Along with creating a simple website that showcases your services and background and provides customer testimonials, you may want to consider:
- Creating a Google My Business account: This helps potential customers locate your business on Google maps when they search for a handyman in your area.
- Listing your business on Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor: Both lead-generating services allow you to list your handyman business for free. You pay a fee for each lead provided through the service. You can also list your business on Craigslist and create a free profile on Yelp.
- Connecting with customers on social media: You can create business pages on sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Don't let yourself become overwhelmed with the marketing aspects of your business. Work on one or two business development streams to begin with and build up your networks and online presence over time.
The Business Side of Being a Handyman
You probably got into the handyman business because you never met an odd job you couldn't handle, you have a natural ability for solving problems, and you like helping people. If this is your first startup business, however, you might be hesitant to tackle the business side of things. For instance, you must decide how you are going to set up pricing: Are you going to work on an hourly rate or bid on projects for a flat fee? How will you take payments? Are you going to accept credit cards?
Knowing how to bid on a job, how to properly fill out an invoice, and how to collect on unpaid invoices might be unfamiliar territory. Add the need to track income and expenses, understand assets and liabilities, and deal with all of the other accounting aspects of running a small business and you might feel overwhelmed. Tack on the added burden of having to keep up with taxes and you might decide that it's too much hassle.
Don't let that happen. You can absolutely manage this part of the business, especially with help from Skynova. Everything you need to produce job estimates, invoices for completed handyman work, and furnish customer receipts can be accessed through Skynova's online business templates. Skynova also provides easy-to-manage accounting software created specifically for small businesses like yours.
Succeeding in Business Is Easy With Skynova
Your dream of being your own boss and running a successful handyman business is within reach. You already have the skill set and know-how to fix just about anything. The rest is about planning, taking care of details like insurance and your business's legal structure, and learning how to market yourself to customers who need your services.
As far as running the day-to-day business operations, Skynova has your back with easy-to-use business templates and a suite of software products specifically designed for small business owners like you. Get started with Skynova today.