*It’s important to note that this post, although written using the term “handyman”, extends to all genders who feel they are handy enough to start their own handyperson business.
Are you a handy person who loves building and fixing things? Do you dream of being your own boss and setting your own schedule? If so, then starting a handyman business could be the perfect path for you. You get to be the boss of your own operation, set your own hours, and make good money doing work you enjoy.
You already have the skills, now all you need is some planning and perseverance to build a successful handyman business. The startup costs are low, the demand for handyman services is high, so with a few key tools and an entrepreneurial spirit, you’ll be well on your way to being the handyperson everyone recommends in your neighborhood.
Read on to find out everything you need to know to get your handyman business up and running.
How to start a handyman business
Before you get your handyman business up and running, you’ll need to decide what services you want to offer. Do you have experience with plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, or appliance repair? Whatever your specialty is, focus on what you’re good at.
Next, write up a business plan to outline your vision and mission, estimate revenue and expenses, review existing competition, and explain what you’ll do to make your business profitable.
To finish setting up your business, make sure you register for any relevant licenses. In some states, you’ll need a specific handyman business license, while in others you’ll need a general business license, and still others require you to have a specialist contractor license if you’ll be carrying out big projects. You also need to get proper business insurance.
Now you’re ready to promote your new venture. Build a professional website to tell people about your business, and include social media links so people can connect with you on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Even better, offer online booking and scheduling through a system like vcita, so clients can easily request your services. Word-of-mouth and great reviews will also spread, as your satisfied customers tell friends and neighbors about their handy new helper.
When you set your rates, look carefully at other handymen in your area and set prices that are competitive. You’ll want to charge enough to sustain your business, but not too much that people look elsewhere. Provide free estimates, be responsive, and do high quality work to encourage more people to recommend your business
The costs of starting a handyman business
Like every business, there are costs involved in starting your own handyman business. However, these don’t need to be very high, especially not at the beginning. Here is an overview of what you can expect to pay to get your handyman business off the ground.
Licensing and insurance
To operate legally in most states, you’ll need a business license, which typically costs between $50 to $500 depending on your location. You might also need a specific handyman license or contractor’s license. It’s vital to get general liability insurance, which protects in case of any damage to customer’s property, or in case anyone is injured as a result of your work. General liability insurance averages around $65 per month.
Tools and equipment
As a handyman, you’ll need a well-stocked toolkit, including basics like hammers, wrenches, levels and more. Plan on at least $2,000 to $5,000 for a solid starter set of professional grade tools. A work vehicle is also essential, so budget at least $5,000 to $10,000 for a used truck or van.
You’ll need some marketing to make sure everybody knows about your handyman services. Focus on your online presence, which costs relatively little for a relatively high impact. Build a professional website, start social media profiles, and launch local search ads. You might also want printed materials like business cards, flyers, and yard signs, which can cost $500 to $2,000 total.
Business management tools
You might think that you can manage your entire business just using Excel spreadsheets and a paper calendar, but as your business grows that won’t be very practical. It’s best to begin with a business management platform like vcita’s business software, which can help keep you organized for only $29/month. The platform includes scheduling and billing tools, a CRM and marketing automation, and more, so you can manage and grow your business efficiently.
Licensing and legal requirements for handyman businesses
To start a handyman business, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper licenses and permits in place. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
- Most states don’t require a specific handyman license, but may require certain trade licenses for plumbing, electrical work, etc., or for projects over a certain value. Check with your state and local governments to see what’s needed.
- If you make over $15K/year working on existing buildings, you’ll likely need a residential remodeler license. This shows customers you’re a pro!
For larger jobs like additions, renovations, or repairs, permits are usually required. Make sure you or your customer obtain the proper permits before starting work. Some towns and cities require business licenses or permits too. Check with your municipal offices to avoid any issues.
Liability insurance and workers’ comp (if you have employees) are must-haves. Liability insurance protects you in case of any injuries or damages to private property as a result of your work. Workers’ comp covers employees in case of work-related injuries.
You’ll need to register as an official business, and pay taxes on your income. An accountant can help you determine if you should set up as a sole proprietor, partnership, or a limited liability corporation (LLC). They can also help file your taxes to maximize tax deductions.
While the legal side of starting a business may seem tedious, having these requirements in place establishes you as a legitimate, professional operation. Customers will feel at ease knowing you’re properly licensed, insured and able to handle their home repairs or renovations without issues. And you’ll have peace of mind knowing both you and your customers are protected should any problems arise.
Promoting and marketing your new handyman business
Promoting your new handyman business is key to gaining new clients and keeping the jobs rolling in. There are several ways to spread the word about your services.
Social media marketing
Facebook ads are an easy way to reach potential clients in your area. Target homeowners within a certain mile radius of your business location. Mention the types of handyman jobs you specialize in, like basic plumbing repairs or painting interiors, and share eye-catching photos of your work as well as testimonials from happy customers.
Post ads for your handyman business on sites like Craigslist, NextDoor, and local Facebook Marketplace groups. Describe your services, experience, and availability, and include captivating pictures of your finished projects. Offer seasonal specials and discounts to attract new customers. These free listings are a great way to start building your client base.
Design colorful postcards highlighting your business and the handyman services you provide. Mail them to homes in your target neighborhoods, and include a special offer like 10% off for first-time clients. Direct mailers still get noticed, and help people discover local businesses in their community.
Happy customers are your best source for new customers, because referrals from real clients carry a lot of weight and credibility. Start a referral program offering existing clients a discount or gift card when they recommend your handyman business to others. Send reminders about your referral program in email newsletters and social media posts. It might feel uncomfortable to ask for a referral, but there are many ways to do so professionally and politely.
Managing your handyman business efficiently with vcita
Managing your handyman business efficiently is key to success and growth. vcita offers a powerful business management solution that helps streamline operations so you can focus on your customers. Here are some of the ways that vcita helps you manage your handyman business more effectively.
Customer relationship management system (CRM)
Use the CRM to organize customer information and service history in one place. This makes it easy for you to give each customer personal attention, and helps you see which customers book your services the most frequently, and which services are the most popular overall.
Online booking software
The online scheduler lets clients book appointments 24/7, so they can schedule a project with you without having to pick up the phone or wait for you to reply to emails. Online scheduling software syncs with your calendar, making it easy for you to set available appointment times. It even sends reminders to customers and to you, putting an end to missed appointments.
Online payment processing
Invoicing and billing are a breeze with professional looking estimates and invoices you can customize. Send invoices by email and let clients pay online so you’ll get paid faster and improve cash flow. vcita even securely stores customer payment info to make future billing even faster.
Promote your business and attract new customers with vcita’s marketing capabilities, like email newsletters, and an optimized Google My Business profile. vcita also lets you offer a client portal, which provides an easy way for customers to review your services, schedule work, and pay online.
Managing employees is simple with vcita. Create staff profiles, set schedules and permissions, and keep records of jobs and payments due. vcita’s mobile app means you have access to all this information on the go from your phone or tablet.
With vcita as your business management partner, you’ll gain valuable time to focus on growing your handyman business.
Handy? Start a business!
With the right tools, skills, and persistence, as well as the information we’ve shared, you have what it takes to take the plunge and start your own handyman business. Tools like vcita can help you streamline the business side, so your business will be up and running in no time and you can focus on completing projects and making your customers happy.