Are you interested in starting a handyman business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a handyman business from home with little money and no experience plus a sample handyman business plan template.
A handyman business is one that provides a wide range of services needed for the maintenance of buildings and properties. The services provided by a handyman include plumbing, electrical works, carpentry, painting, heating and cooling services and other building and property maintenance and repair works.
The handyman business is becoming more popular in recent times and this is because of the fact that people are becoming creative with ways of making money and developing new business ideas so as to be able to make a living. The creation of this business has also been as a result of people losing their jobs and the increasing number of people who want to set up their own businesses.
This business has also been made popular because people are becoming busier by the day with work and their family and they have no time to do the odd-jobs which that needs to be done in their homes and on their property. They therefore need help to get these little jobs done.
A handyman business is one that can be set up by almost anyone. It is not only men that can be found in this industry, there are also a lot of women that are involved in the business and they are doing very well. Whether you are well versed in facility/ property management or you have no such experience, it is a business that can be conveniently done.
What Does It Take to Start a Handyman Business?
To set up your handyman business, you need to be familiar with different kinds of trades as this is an important factor that can enable you to get jobs.
To succeed in the business, you should try as much as possible not to reject jobs from clients as some jobs might be seen as too small for you to accept. Doing the small jobs is what often opens the way for you as a handyman with your clients.
When they have bigger jobs, they will remember you and call you to handle their bigger projects for them. If you are just starting out in the business, you can start by handling simple and basic jobs and from there you can grow the business as you go on.
This is because while some handymen businesses just have the technical know how to fix simple and basic jobs, a handyman business can be grown to the extent that it will be able to deal with more complex jobs. This is a factor that can enable your business to grow and expand as the client can trust you to handle just about any job in their homes and on their properties.
Steps to Starting a Handyman Business
1. Understand the Industry
The handyman industry is one that was affected adversely by the fall of the housing market. This resulted to a low demand for the services in this industry. When the demand for minor household repairs and maintenance rose, the revenue decline was moderated. The industry has now benefited from the acceleration house market and the increase in household income.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
The industry grew as a result of the shift in focus from do-it-yourself (DIY) to do-it-for-me (DIFM) as the eighties drew to a close. This was because time became more precious for the coming generation than money. By the mid-nineties handyman businesses began to appear all over the place to cater to people who did not have time to spare to fix little problems in their homes.
In 2003, the handyman industry was one of the fastest growing ones in the united states and the industry keeps expanding further. This sector is a resource for the growing number of aging homeowners and is also a source of business opportunity for entrepreneurs.
The industry will continue to grow in the five years to 2019 due to the support it will get from the accelerating house market.
Housing prices are also on the rise and the increase in the existing home sales will help to drive the demand for remodeling projects and repair works in homes and on properties. The sector employs about 9,180 people and the annual growth rate in the industry between 2009 -2014 is 3.5% and the revenue from the industry is $1 billion.
There is a growing need for home repair work and improvement that is reliable because of the emergence of vacation homes, second homes, commercial properties and rental units.
Also the increase in the number of older people who wish to keep on living in their homes is a factor for the growth in the industry and younger families with children of school-age who chooses to renovate and remodel their homes, instead of moving out to look for new homes in the real estate market with its high price.
This industry will keep on thriving in the coming decade especially if an entrepreneur in this line of business is committed to providing reliable and quality work for customers in the home repair and property services they render.
The market is highly unsaturated and there is room for growth as the industry is expanding and maturing. The good news for would be entrepreneurs in this line of business is that there is an estimate of continued annual growth for the handyman industry for as high as 20 percent.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of the people who need the services of the handyman business cuts across owners of homes, vacation houses, rental units, commercial property owners, young working adults and elderly people.
The following represents the list of people that needs the services of a handyman company.
- Private homes
- Vacation homes
- Rental units
- Commercial properties
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
In starting a handyman company, there are different niches that an entrepreneur can specialize in. By specializing, you are positioning yourself as an expert in that niche, and when customers want a specific work done in their home, they prefer giving it to an expert in the field.
They don’t like the idea of giving jobs in their home to a handyman who will still try to figure things out; they want an expert who will get the job done once and for all.
You can choose a niche in the handyman business and promote the service. Promoting the service will make you an expert in that niche and customers will want to know the other services you offer in your handyman company. The following are some of the niches that a handyman entrepreneur can specialize in:
- TV wall mount installation
- Kitchen makeover
- Bathroom remodel
- Attic insulation
- Deck repair
- Door installations
- Flooring repair work
- Fence repairs
- Gutter repairs
- Interior and exterior painting
- Yard and power tool repair and maintenance
- Shower remodel and shower niche
- Wall repair
- Plumbing and installation
- Building and gardening service
The Level of Competition in the Industry
There are favorable conditions for growth in the handyman industry and as a result of this, survival in the industry will require that you build on existing knowledge of the services you offer to your customers and broaden your skill base in order to be able to compete favorably.
More handymen companies are coming up and they are using the services of existing franchise in the business to boost their competitive edge and exposure in the industry.
A company’s ability in providing its customers with quality service at affordable prices will also be a factor that will count in the industry. This way the company will be able to retain existing clients and get more business from new customers. The competition in the handyman industry shows that there is a viable market for the services of handymen.
As long as you are prepared to run a high quality business, you will have your own share of the market as some handyman business that exist take their customers for granted and offer them mediocre services. This gives you room as a new entrant into the business to come in and dominate if you are prepared to give quality service to your client.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
There are a lot of handyman companies but there are some that are worth mentioning when you talk about handyman companies. These handyman companies include the following:
- House Doctors Handyman Service
- Tony’s Heating & Air & Appliance Repair
- Handyman Connection
- Budget Right Handyman
- 4 Seasons Roofing and Gutters
- 4 Square Home Improvement and Repairs
- Blue Restoration Group LLC
- Punch List Handy Service
- Great American Handyman
- Turn2us Handyman Services
- Chad the Handyman
- Above and Beyond
- Absolute Exterminating services
- At Home Handyman Services
- Handyman Matters
To start a handyman business, there is need to carry out a critical economic analysis to ensure that the risks and threats that are associated with starting a business or investing in a business idea are reduced.
Starting the business is not just about getting a fancy office space and equipping the place. You should also be concerned with how to get customers for the business and how to keep existing customers coming back to use the services of your company.
On the average, starting and running a handyman business can be cost effective. This is especially so when you have highly trained, well qualified and experienced staff as members of your team.
With the quality of work carried out by them for your customers, you will be able to retain your customers and the good work your company does will be well spread by word of mouth as customers will tend to recommend your services to their families and friends once you are able to do a good job in their homes and on their properties.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
In starting your handyman business, you have to consider what will be best for your business, to start from scratch or be part of an established network?
If you intend to start the business from scratch, you will be able to control every aspect of your business and be able to build a brand that can be transferred to your children or sold as a franchise in the future. Starting from scratch can be invigorating but exhausting.
On the other hand, if you are more interested in making money and becoming part of an established network, your best bet is to buy the franchise of a successful handyman company. This gives you the chance as an entrepreneur to be part of a community which can be helpful but limiting in some aspects.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
In the handyman industry, both start-ups and established companies are subject to threats and challenges from global economic downturn, government policies and other natural disasters that are capable of affecting spending thereby affecting the industry.
There is also the threat of newly emerging handyman businesses facing the problem of competing with the well established companies in the location where their business has a strong presence.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
The legal entity you choose for your handyman business will determine how big your company will grow. There are several things to be considered before making your choice.
You should also consider speaking to an accountant and an attorney before making a decision as there are different laws for business structures in different states. Whatever decision you make will have an effect on your personal liability, the amount of tax you pay how much money you can borrow and so on.
There are different legal entities for a handyman business that you can choose from. These include sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnership, corporations and S corporations. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages so it is important to choose the right one that is applicable to your situation.
If you are just setting up your handyman company, sole proprietorship and LLC are the best legal entity you should consider for the business. Sole proprietorship is easy to set up and gives you total control over the business. Choosing an LLC gives you the benefits of a corporation and a sole proprietorship.
This legal entity protects the business owner from having their personal assets seized in the case of the company incurring debts. You can start your handyman business as a LLC and later upgrade it to a corporation or S corporation in the future when you have plans of going public. This will enable you to compete with major players in the industry.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
In naming your handyman company, there are many factors you should consider and you should also have it at the back of your mind that a lot of the names you might be considering for your business might have been chosen already by other handyman companies that are already in the business.
Also have it in mind that the name you eventually choose for your business will define your business and brand you. The following are a list of catchy business name ideas that you can choose for your handyman business:
- Handyman Fix It
- Professional Handyman
- Mr Fix It
- Home Maintenance Services
- Repair All Handyman
- Overhaul Services
- Home Improvement Services
- Service It Handyman
- Call Fix It
- Smart Pro Handyman
- The Handy Bug
- The Professional Handyman
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In most places, you cannot operate a business if you do not have basic insurance policies which are required by the industry you want to operate in. In the handyman business, you do all kinds of work leaving you exposed to a lot of risks.
Having handyman insurance will shield you from problems of property damage and injuries that could lead to penalties and lawsuits when they occur.
Asides from this, not having the necessary handyman insurance can force you out of business when something goes wrong during the course of your work. Take your time to create an insurance budget or get in touch with an insurance broker to give you guidance in choosing the best insurance policies for your business.
They will help you assess the risks involved in your business and then advise you accordingly. The following are the basic insurance covers that you will need if you intend to start your own handyman business:
- Business owner’s policy
- Commercial auto insurance
- Health insurance
- Risk insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Consider filing for intellectual property protection if you are considering starting a handyman business. When you file for intellectual property protection, it goes beyond protecting your company documents and company logo; it can also serve as protection for the name of your company and your software applications.
To file for intellectual property protection and for the registration of your trademark, you are required to begin the process by filing your application with the USPTO. Getting the final approval for your trademark is then subjected to a review of attorneys which is a requirement by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
In order to be able to offer a full range of services, you should consider getting certified with some regulatory bodies. The more relevant certificate you possess, the more you will be able to handle several jobs in different aspects of the handyman business.
The following are the certifications you should consider for yourself and your staff:
- ACHP certification
- The diamond certified performance guarantee
- Certification as small business local enterprise
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The handyman industry is highly regulated and as a result of this, you are required to meet up with the legal document needs as stipulated by the constitution of your country. To operate your handyman business successfully, the following is the list of basic legal documents that you need to put in place:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement
- Company Bylaws
- Insurance Policy
- Local building permits
- VAT certificate
- Contractor’s license
- Federal tax identification
13. Write a Business Plan
If you want to start a handyman business, one of the first steps to take is to have a well written business plan. You can hire the services of an expert to help you draft one. To run a successful business, your business plan is the blue print that you need.
With your business plan, trial and error is reduced in the way you manage your business and you know the right thing to do for the business in terms of how to handle growth and expansion within the business.
A business plan serves as a detailed guide for the business; it tells you how to run the business effectively from scratch. The strategies you will use to manage and grow the business should be outlined in the plan. Be realistic in putting figures to your income and profits as it is safer to underestimate than to be disappointed when you have to face the reality of things.
The following are the key areas to be covered when writing a business plan:
Executive Summary and Company’s Descriptions
Here you are required to write on the concept of your handyman business, the company’s description, the mission and vision statements and also information about the company location and whether you intend to sell out franchise or open outlets in different countries.
The business plan should have a SWOT analysis which will provide information that will help your company match its resource and capabilities to the competitive environment where it operates its business.
Other important components of the business plan should include product and services offering, competitive analysis, target market, market goals, marketing and sales analysis/strategies, publicity and advertising strategies, costing and financial projection, expansion and growth strategies, start-up generation and budget.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
You will incur several expenses to successfully start your handyman business. The location you intend setting up your company will also have an impact on the total cost of starting the business. As a result of this, it is important for you to do a proper feasibility studies and market survey prior to creating a budget and sourcing for capital to start the business.
The following are the basic cost you will need to incur in order to set up a handyman company:
- The Total Fee for incorporating the Business in United States of America – $750.
- Business license $100-$400
- Licensing fees – $4,000
- Mailbox Rental $125-$250
- The Amount needed to rent an office space – $50,000.
- Business cards – $20-$80
- Software – $0-$250
- Tools – $0-$500
- Logo Design – $0-$500
- Handyman Insurance – $1000
- Uniform – $100-$350
- The Cost of Launching an official Website – $700
- Advertising – $0-$500
- Other miscellaneous – $1,000
According to research, you can set up a small scale handyman business with $2,000 if you have some of your tools.
To start a medium scale handyman business, you will need about $100, 000.
If you decide to start a large scale handyman business, then you should be looking to spend up to 1 million dollars and above.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
If you want to start your handyman business on a small scale, you don’t need a lot of capital to set it up. On the other hand, if you are thinking of opening the business on a large scale, then you need a lot of capital to be able to start the business.
There will be a need to raise some of the capital you need to set up the business because you might not be able to come up with all the money on your own.
To start your handyman business on a large scale, you will need to get an office space, furniture, equipment, capital for supplies and capital for the payment of staff salaries for about 3 months. You can fund your business through the following ways:
- Raising capital from personal savings, properties and selling personal stocks.
- Applying for a bank loan
- Raising capital from investors and business partners
- Pitching your business idea and applying for funding from angel investors and donor organizations.
- Sourcing for loans from friends and family members.
- Using money from Credit cards
- Getting cash advance against the income from credit card
- Through grants and subsidies
- Raising money through venture capital
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The right location is important to the growth and survival of a business, the same goes for you in setting up a handyman business. You can engage the services of a consultant when you are making the decision on where you intend to site your handyman business.
Setting up your office in the wrong location can affect your business negatively; hence you struggle to make ends meet which can lead to the eventual closure of your company.
Nevertheless, if you can succeed in building a flourishing handyman brand, you can pitch your business anywhere in the world and make a success out of the business. As a newly emerging company, make sure you locate your business within an area that has healthy business activities.
The following factors should be considered when you want to choose a location for your handyman business.
- Style of operation
- Amount of foot traffic
- Availability of competition
- Proximity to other businesses and services
- Accessibility of the place
- Parking space for your clients
- Traffic and security
- The building’s infrastructure in terms of requirements to support the high technology needs of contemporary business
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
If you want to start a handyman company, you should be ready to invest in getting software for the business and invest in buying tools. At the beginning, you can purchase the tools that are really necessary and as time goes on and the company begins to grow, you can then buy the other tools that your handyman business needs.
To get an office space, you can start a handyman business from your home initially, rent or lease an office space depending on the size of your company. If you have got enough capital, you should consider leasing an office space, as you will be able to work with long term planning this way.
To kick start a handyman company, you can start the company as the only member of staff and if you need to hire extra hands, you can pay them per project handled instead of paying them a fixed wage. In the case that you are going to be hiring staff, that will depend on your financial situation.
You will need a President or a Chief Executive Officer, a role which you can occupy as the business owner, a human resource officer, an Admin Manager, Accountant, Front Desk Officer and 3 other technicians to work with you.
On the average, you can run the business on a medium scale with an average of 8 key staff. When the occasion arises, you might have to hire experts to help you handle areas that you and your other technicians are not familiar with.
You can also partner with other handyman businesses to be able to deliver work in the areas that you are not specialized in. take for instance, if you specialize in general home maintenance and repair and you have a client that needs an attic insulation job done, all you need do is get in touch with your partners to help you get the job done.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The service process involved in the handyman industry depends on the niche the company is into. The service process is initiated by the customer who calls to request for the services you render depending on the niche you cater to in this line of business.
Once you accept to do the job, you can send the customer a quote if you know what service the customer requires or you give a quote after assessing the job to be done on site.
After you carry out the job successfully, you can then expect the customer to pay for the service that has been rendered. Over and above, it is the practice for a handyman company to inspect the scope of job that needs to be done before giving a quote to the customer that needs their services.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
A handyman business needs to market its services and advertise in order to get customers. A mixture of online and traditional marketing strategies will help your business to get advertising exposure and a desirable company growth. The following platforms can be used to market your handyman business to potential customers:
- Advertising on your company website or through magazine ads
- Giving updates on social media about your handyman company
- Inform local media to put word out about your handyman company
- Design and print business cards, fliers and some inexpensive things you can give out with your company info
- Send out press releases about your company
- Give special incentives to your first set of clients so that they can spread word around about your handyman business
- Create a company brochure to show clients
- Listing your pawn shop on local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise on radio and television stations
- Print noticeable yard signs to promote your company while working on other properties and ask your customers if you can leave it in their yards for 1 or 2 days after completing your work
- Put a sign on your company vehicle as a form of mobile advertising
- Network by attending local events and other activities that enable you to meet people and introduce your business to them
- Join the Association of Certified Handyman Professional to have access to opportunities for work and marketing resources in your community
19. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
It can be quite challenging to be in competition with existing handyman businesses that are already in the business. As a result of this, take your time in choosing the type of people that are going to be on your management team so that you can be rest assured that they will help you push your business to the next level.
Study your competitors in the handyman industry and also compare your business ideas with theirs. Discover their strengths and weaknesses, and compare them to yours to see if you can build on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
If your clients get better services from another handyman company, they won’t patronize your company again so ensure that you offer the kind of service they can’t refuse. Alternatively, you can also form partnerships with existing handyman companies in the industry to have an advantage over your competitors. This way you can position your company to get more customers to do business with.
20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
No matter the kind of business you do, customer satisfaction is an important aspect of the business as it will help you in retaining customers in your business. Satisfying your client with the level of service you render to them will make them come back and bring more business for your company when they spread the news about the good service you have rendered to them.
If on the other hand, your customers have a bad experience in the course of doing business with you, they will take your business to your competitors and the business that could have otherwise been yours will be given to them. This is why bad customer service is a major reason that makes a business to lose its customers. When you improve on the quality of your service delivery, it will make your client base increase.
In the handyman industry, having good customer relationship management practices is vital to retaining your clients. This you can achieve by getting a good software for your business to help you keep track of all aspects of the business and also to keep up with your client.
With this software, the relevant information concerning your business and your clients is at the tip of your fingers and you can use it to keep in touch with them on important occasions like anniversaries, birthdays and public holidays.
21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
The type of clients you have worked for in the past is essential to the branding of your business. Have a chat with a consultant who can help you put a strategy for publicity and advertising in place that can be directed towards your target market.
Make sure your brand is visible and ensure that communication lines are clear. The platforms that can be used for brand awareness includes the following:
- Advertising your company on websites and magazines
- Listing your business on local directories / yellow pages
- Advertising on satellite TV and radio stations
- Advertising through direct email marketing
- Take advantage of social media advertising like facebook, twitter, Google ads and YouTube
- Through branding of your company vehicles and shirts
22. Create a Suppliers / Distribution Network
There is room for networking in the Handyman industry; this can be done by joining existing associations for handymen in your community.
You can join the Association of Certified Handymen Professional. Alternatively, you can consider forming an alliance with other handyman companies in the business. By doing this, you will be able to learn from one another and trade valuable information with each other in the business.
23. Tips for Running a Handyman Business Successfully
The success of most businesses lies in the ability to ensure that all the workers work in line with the vision and mission of the company. The Chief Executive Officer is the driving force behind the company and is responsible for giving direction to the members of staff so that they work in line with organizational goals and objectives.
Staff meetings should be an important aspect of the business and it should be held regularly to keep the CEO informed about what is going on in the company. Feedback should also be gotten from these meetings as they are tantamount to the success of the business.
Performance appraisals should be carried out from time to time so as to determine if members of staff are following the standard operating procedure of the company, the results got can then be used to correct any errors found.
Finally, give your staff training to assist them in carrying out their duties promptly; praise them and encourage them to get them motivated, reward those that are hardworking to promote healthy competition and have a listening ear to encourage staff to open up to you.