Are you ready to learn how to start a successful handyman business? Working for yourself as a handyman has tons of advantages, such as setting your own schedule, choosing the types of jobs and people you will work for, setting your own pay rates, and being in complete control of your income.
Don’t think you need to do all the work yourself, either. The most successful handyman business owners have crews that either help them with the labor or do all of the labor, allowing you to focus on growing your business, generating more sales, and increasing your profits.
Here is how to start a successful handyman business.
Updated August 2017
Steps to Starting a Successful Handyman Business
STEP 1: Get your business license
Pick out a name for your business and make sure it’s not already taken. Get your business name registered in your state, then obtain a license in the city you’re going to be working. While this can seem confusing at first, it’s really pretty easy. The forms are all printed online and we had to make two trips to downtown Charlotte and one trip to the city municipal building. It took about 2 days total for everything to be taken care of.
Tip #1: Just do a Google search on “How to get a business license in [your state here]” and you’ll find exactly what you need.
Tip #2: Build a website for your business. You can use Bluehost which costs just
$3.49 $2.95 per month and they give your domain name for FREE! Nowadays, you have to have a presence online. Even if your page is basic, people need to be able to find your business on the internet.
I recommend purchasing a domain name that you think people will be searching for in Google to find you. Example: www.yourcityhandyman.com
Here’s my tutorial on How to Start a Website for Your Business.
And, you can check the availability of domain names below before choosing your business name:
STEP 2: Get business insurance
A basic insurance policy is roughly $850 for the year. This protects you and your business in case of an emergency. It’s always best to get insurance – plus you can advertise that you’re “licensed and insured in the state of [your state].”
STEP 3: Get a business truck
Hopefully you can skip this step if you already have a working vehicle. But if not, you’ll need to purchase a business truck to haul all of your tools and equipment. I recommend something used and affordable, but something that runs good and is built solid. Shop around in order to get the best deal – both at dealerships and through private sellers.
We purchased an older Chevy for $4000 and it’s still going strong after three years. We’ve had to do a few major repairs costing ~$1000, but it’s still cheaper than purchasing a new work truck. My advice is buy something that will make do for about a year, and then you can always upgrade once you can afford it!
STEP 4: Advertise
If your budget is low, use Craigslist and other free job listing sites. Some neighborhoods have neighborhood groups online (such as Nextdoor.com) where you can list your services and respond to people who have work for you. Craigslist, though, is an incredible way to generate leads for those with little to no budget.
Your own website will also be a form of advertisement since you’ll hopefully start to rank in Google.
HUGE TIP: Reach out to rental property companies in your area and see if they need contractors/sub contractors. Our main business is now rental properties. We do private residences, too, but the rental companies are significantly less work because there’s no bidding or chit-chatting. Jobs are sent our way and completed by the due date. I highly recommend building your business up and gaining experience, and then reaching out to these companies in your area to see if you meet the requirements.
STEP 5: Purchase tools AS NEEDED
Instead of buying all of your tools at once, purchase them as you need them. Also, check Craigslist for used tools before purchasing new. We purchased a paint sprayer off of Craigslist for $175 (retail $500+) and it still works great after three years.
STEP 6: Report all your income, expenses and mileage
One disadvantage (that’s also an advantage) of owning your own business is you have to keep track of EVERY expenditure. Gas and tools can be written off, which is great. You can also write off part of your home if you have an office, your work truck and every other expense that comes with owning the business. Keep a few different excel spreadsheets to track everything.
Tip: Every time you get paid, we put 25% of that money into a separate savings account. That’s your tax money, and as a bonus – if you don’t owe all of it to the government – you can either reinvest that money into the business by buying new tools, add more to your personal savings account or maybe take a fun vacation!
And that’s it! Owning your own business is a lot of work, but the benefits oftentimes majorly outweigh the downsides.