If you’re thinking about starting your own handyman business or wondering how to start, you should be aware that there are many, many people out there who need a hand doing some of the little things around their homes.
From minor repairs to small home improvements, hiring a handyman is just what the doctor ordered for the time-starved family, elderly and those who just don’t have it in them to fix things around the house.
When you start a handyman business, you become the “Jack or Jill of all trades” and need to know a little about a lot to be valuable to your clients.
Very few Americans, particularly under the age of 50 (the baby boomers), have any chance of installing a lock, building a porch, or hanging a light fixture, much less undertaking basic home repairs. It may be a matter of time or a matter of not knowing how to do it. But the handyman business is growing rapidly and if you jump on it now, there is some major opportunity.
Although the do-it-yourselfer is becoming more and more prominent with the Home Depots and Lowe’s popping up on every corner, not everyone cares to “do it themselves.” More and more families are two income households and the amount of time left for smaller home repair projects is becoming less available.
Valuable skills/Requirements of Being in the Handyman Business
Familiarity with common fix-it methods in a home is recommended. If you understand anything from repairing broken doorknobs to hanging a towel rack to installing closet organizers – or even assembling entertainment centers – people will pay for these skills. If you have a knack for fixing things, this can be a profitable business.
A handyman service is different from a home improvement service because you typically perform the small jobs that bigger contractors and trade professionals don’t have the time to do. Often, it would be too expensive to call a carpenter to fix a small hole in a wall.
You can install light fixtures. Fix broken windows. Install ceiling fans. Any job too small for a home improvement specialist is good for a handyman.
If you don’t want to do the work yourself and prefer the administration, management, marketing, etc. you can put together a network of specialists in different trades. You outsource your work to skilled people who have specific knowledge of a trade and want to work on a part time basis.
They get paid on a sub-contract basis per each job.
What if you don’t have any of the skills necessary to help with home repairs or do small fix-up jobs? What if you’ve never really swung a hammer or turned a screw? There is still some major opportunity in this business. You can become the Handyman contractor and you hire independent trades people to do all the work. All you do is manage the process, set appointments, manager people, etc.
And with a handyman business, the cost of each job is so small that you would never make a dime if you had to pay workers comp insurance and a taxable wage.
So the way around this (not in a negative or illegal sense) is to hire independent contractors who do the work for you. You pay them a wage and each person is responsible for his or her own tax payments to the government. You are basically paying with a check (or cash) without any deductions and you report the earnings to the individual and the government with a 1099 form.
How much you can make owning a handyman business
You can certainly bring in $800-$1000 per week doing it full time, working at least a twenty five hour billable schedule. The most successful handyman businesses are the ones where the owner may do some work him or herself, but outsource a bulk of the work to independent contractors, as I mentioned above.
Costs of Starting a Handyman Business
You can get started for a little less than $1,000 if you already have the tools you’ll need. You can also buy tools as you need them as long as you have the basics. Often smaller tools can be charged to the client as “materials.”
This figure would include insurance costs, licensing and some advertising and marketing to get you started. You’ll be surprised to hear how fast word of mouth will grow your handyman business if you’re reliable and honest.
You’ll also want to cover your personal assets by incorporating your business. The risks are a little higher when you are going into someone’s home in this type of business.
If you concentrate on small repairs and perform low-risk jobs (which is most of the handyman work anyway) then you may be able to get away without incorporating for a little while – but I don’t suggest it. As with any business, you really need to look at the risk of what you’re doing. If one of your customers trips over your tools or walks into a shelf as you’re installing it – legal action could be taken. As with anything, you’re better off being safe than sorry.
Certainly get the advice of an attorney or even your insurance agent before starting this business.