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How to start a handyman business

How to Start a Handyman Business that Thrives 

Raina Becker // May 8, 2024

Are you skilled at home repair projects? Maybe you’re considering using those skills to start your own business. Or perhaps you’re an apprentice with a handyman service and thinking about branching out on your own.  

Either way, working as a handyman is a great way to make use of your handy talents. Plus, you get to earn a decent income as your own boss. 

In practice, starting a business is a daunting venture. It can be risky and scary, too, considering that only 10 to 20% of startups succeed in the long run. 

But don’t let that faze you. If you follow a well-planned process and make a thorough plan, it’s completely achievable. 

This article will guide you on how to get your handyman business off the ground. We’ll also discuss how to run and scale a successful handyman business. 

But first, let’s review the basics of a handyman business and what it entails.  

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Start a Home Renovation Business 

Understanding the Handyman Business 

Before diving into the details of starting a new business, let’s get the basics out of the way by answering these four questions: 

  1. What is a handyman business?
  2. What does a handyman do?
  3. How does one become a handyman?
  4. Is starting a handyman business worth it?

A handyman goes by many names, including general repairman, renovator, repair specialist, and home service technician. Handymen have a wide variety of skills, enabling them to perform minor home improvements, renovations, and repairs. Think installing appliances and fixtures, deck repairs, paint touch-ups, flooring, carpeting, etc. 

Licensing and what  services you can offer as a handyman depend on your state. Some states require all handymen to have a special handyman or contracting license.  

However, most states only require handyman licenses for jobs exceeding a certain amount or involving certain materials, skills, or professions. In some states, such as Michigan, Minnesota, and North Carolina, aspiring handymen must pass special exams to earn licenses. 

Before you make any other business plans, check the handyman requirements in your state. 

Starting a handyman business takes a fair amount of effort, time, and commitment. But it’s all worth it, and here’s why. 

The handyman business is a thriving industry with a bright future. In 2023, the U.S. handyman market was valued at $390.9 million. That figure is expected to reach a whopping $1.8 billion by 2033, registering an impressive 16.5% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in the span of 10 years. 

Analysts attribute the strong demand for handyman services to these factors: 

  • The rising residential real estate prices
  • The proliferation of smart home technologies
  • The growing demand for affordable, low-budget home services

This strong demand creates lucrative opportunities. Handymen earn, on average, $25 per hour. The highest earners make up to $66,000 a year. 

That’s a decent pay opportunity for skills you enjoy developing. Plus, you can always scale your business to earn even more. As a handyman, you’re limited only by your ambition. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: A 5-Step Guide to Annual Planning for Your Business 

Initial Steps to Start a Handyman Business 

So, how do you start a handyman business? Fortunately, it’s pretty straightforward.  

Follow these six simple steps: 

Step 1: Identify an Opportunity for Handyman Services 

Ask yourself this question: is there a demand for handyman services in my local area? 

Do some research to find out if your handyman business would be relevant to your target market. Market research mainly involves analyzing potential buyers and competitors. 

Look for unmet market needs. Perhaps your local area lacks enough general handymen. Maybe there are services they do not offer, or you’re confident that your business brings something novel to the market. 

Step 2: Write a Business Plan 

A business plan is a formal document describing your business. It’s also a success roadmap highlighting how you’ll build, run, and grow the business. Think of it as putting all your ideas and ambitions on paper and using facts and figures to justify them. 

Many templates and outlines are available online to help you ensure you don’t miss critical elements. 

Step 3: Secure Funding 

As the saying goes, “It takes money to make money.” A new handyman business takes quite a startup investment.  

For instance, you’ll need to pay for tools and equipment, training (if necessary), licenses and permits, business registration, and marketing. 

Also, setting aside emergency funds when starting a new business is always a good idea. 

Keep in mind that if you need to borrow money to get started, lenders will likely want to see your business plan. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Managing Your Finances as a Home Service Business Owner 

Step 4: Register Your Handyman Business 

Choose the ideal structure for your business and register it. Go for either a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC). Setting up a sole proprietorship is much easier than an LLC, but legally speaking, you get more benefits as an LLC. 

You should also insure your business. Technically, insurance is not a requirement, but it protects your business against various liabilities.  

Step 5: Acquire the Necessary Permits and Licenses 

Permits and license requirements vary widely between states and even counties and municipalities. Check with your local authorities about those requirements.  

Look into any training or classes you need to complete and create a timeline to do so. 

And again, licensing may depend on the scope of your handyman business. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Navigating Legal Issues as a Home Service Business Owner 

Step 6: Prepare for Launch 

With all the paperwork done, it’s time to launch the new business. Before you release your business out into the world, craft your brand. You’ll want to develop your color palette, logo, and messaging. Also, ensure your website is functional and mobile-friendly. 

After just a few finishing touches, you’ll be well on your way. You just need to bring all the pieces together, brand the business, and get the word out. This is where your marketing plan will come into play. 

Developing a Handyman Business Marketing Plan 

Starting a new business is one thing. Getting it off the ground is another. You need paying handyman jobs to start making money. That’s where marketing comes in. 

Marketing is any effort you make to promote your handyman brand, acquire customers, and encourage repeat business. To ensure you don’t miss anything, develop a comprehensive marketing plan highlighting your marketing strategies and goals. 

A marketing plan helps you understand the intricacies of your target audience. More importantly, it guides you in developing effective marketing strategies that align with your business goals. That way, you’ll hit the ground running. 

Here are seven essential steps to developing a winning marketing plan: 

  1. Identify your target market. Who are your potential handyman customers? What are their handyman needs, and how can you appeal to them? Understanding your target audience enables you to tailor handyman services to meet their needs.
  2. Define your marketing objectives. As a new business, your priority marketing goals are to stand out among competitors, spread brand awareness, and generate leads.
  3. Size up the competition. Learn as much as you can about your competitors. Leverage their weaknesses to optimize your marketing angle.
  4. Define your unique selling points (USPs). Find a way to differentiate yourself from other handymen. You could set yourself apart by offering better prices, niche services, higher-quality work, etc.
  5. Find relevant marketing strategies. Determine the best way to reach and communicate with your target audience. Email, social media, web, signage, and print media are some of the best marketing channels for local handyman businesses.
  6. Partner with local businesses. Networking is a highly rewarding marketing strategy. Team up with other home improvement businesses to share (or trade) referrals.
  7. Measure marketing performance. Track your marketing performance to gauge success and determine what’s working and what needs improving.

Scaling Your Handyman Business 

It’s never too early to start thinking about the future of your new handyman business. Once you’re up and running, set your sights on even more ambitious targets. Buy into the entrepreneurial spirit—keep challenging and motivating yourself forward. 

Here are five tips for scaling and future proofing your handyman business: 

  1. Define short-term and long-term business goals.
  2. Keep learning new skills to expand your portfolio.
  3. Invest in handyman infrastructures such as tools, equipment, safety gear, etc.
  4. Keep up with all the emerging home improvement trends.
  5. Consider branching to new locations and hiring additional workers.

The handyman business is a highly competitive and dynamic landscape. A strong focus on growth is more about remaining relevant and competitive than anything else. In other words, growth as a handyman is a matter of survival. 

Top Takeaway Tips for Starting a Handyman Business 

To summarize, here are five quick tips you can use right now to start a successful handyman business: .

  1. Conduct thorough research. Start by evaluating the market in your would-be service area. Find out what your competitors offer and look for any gaps you could fill.
  2. Download a business plan template. A template will set you on the right road to defining and achieving your business goals. It will also make you aware of any information you may not have thought to gather.
  3. Start drafting a marketing strategy. Once you’ve researched your target audience, you can determine effective ways to spread brand awareness and generate leads quickly. Start by creating social media accounts, a website, a Google business profile, and local ads for your business.
  4. Make a list of your assets as they apply to your business. Take note of tools and equipment you already own and money you have set aside. That will give you an idea of how much, if any, supplemental funding you’ll need. Then, list potential funding sources.
  5. Check the legal requirements for running a handyman business in your local area. Then, make sure you meet them. Remember, if you plan on specializing, you may need additional permits and licenses in that chosen area.

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