How to start a handyman business (from home, legally!)

I interviewed 3 people who each run a profitable handyman business. They explain how you can get started in the handyman business, and how to get customers.

Updated November 26, 2021

Written by

Benjamin Davis

Contributor

How-to-start.org

Experts interviewed:

Hunter Lawrimore - Owner, Hunters Handyman Service in Charleston SC

Michael Jaeger – Owner, Helpful Hands in Vancouver WA

Chad Carroll – Owner, The Handy Craftsman in Bend OR

NOTICE: This article is long. You can skip directly to the guide if you prefer.

A handyman business can be a good business to start for someone who has gathered a wide range of skills, and can competently tackle the type of work a customer would expect to have done. The hourly rates you can charge are eye-watering, the work hours can be great, and the demand for handyman services is reaching an all-time high.

I interviewed three people who started a handyman business years ago, and asked them what you should know about how to get started in the handyman business, and how to run and grow your business.

First, I wanted to know what background they came from – how do people polish up the wide range of skills they'll need, before starting a handyman business? Or is it common to just get started and figure it out as you go?

So I asked my three founders – how did you get started in the handyman business?

How did you get started in the handyman business?

did you work with someone as a handyman before? or did you just get started on your own?

Hunter: I’ve kind of been doing it my whole life on the side. It was always just a side gig to make some extra money – I grew up with my parents flipping houses. So, I just kind of learned as I grew up and then when I got out of the military, I needed a source of income. So, I decided to start my own handyman business.

Michael: My first real job out of community college was as a handyman which I did for a few years. Fast forward to November of 2019, I was laid off from my technology job from for the fifth time in a 30-year span. And so, I decided that it's time to start my own business and because of my experience, starting a handyman business seemed like a logical thing to do.

Chad: I was just looking for a change to get back to having my own business. I previously had a business as a custom woodworker before moving to Bend, and I worked for a few other people and just decided it was time to get back to running my own business again. And so, starting a handyman business seemed to be the easiest for me with my skills to get started in.

Tip: You can start as fast or slow as you like. Some people start by offering only limited services, and then add more services as their skill and confidence improves and they gain the experience.

The idea of starting a 'handyman business' tends to come to people who are already quite handy, and have experience in doing the things that customers need done.

I wondered if there is a minimum set of skills you need to operate the business?

What training, what skill, and what experience is needed? Could you hire experienced people to help you?

I asked the three successful handyman business owners:

Do you need experience as a handyman to start a handyman business?

can you start a handyman business with limited experience? can you learn most things as you go?

Hunter: So, bare minimum would be just having a general knowledge of home systems, general knowledge of basic plumbing, basic electricity, basic carpentry. As a handyman, you don't need to be the expert of any one particular trade. But understand how basic plumbing works – how, for example, the inside of a toilet works. I mean, that's one of the biggest calls I get is a leaky toilet or a toilet that won't stop running or something like that. And to be able to go out and quickly assess that and repair something like that would be very good. I mean, a lot of the stuff you really can learn on YouTube now. And so, familiarizing yourself with the basics is a good starting point.

Like I said, you don't need to be a master of any one particular trade or craft because you are a handyman. You are just knocking out those honey-do lists, those things that a lot of people either a) don't have the time, b) don't have the tools or c) just don't know how to do it and they don't have the time or desire to learn how to do it. So, the bare minimum would obviously be some basic hand tools, hand drills, saws, things like that.

I have a friend of mine, he started up his business about a year ago and I helped him get started. And he had the basic knowledge, more on the carpentry side of the house than the plumbing or electrical. And so, he still calls me on a regular basis for advice and help. So, if you have somebody you can lean on that has more experience for advice and guidance, that's obviously helpful.

Michael: You've got to have some experience to draw from, fundamentally, I would say, something in the trades, i.e. construction, electrical or plumbing. Though, there are licensing considerations that come into play for those particular services in Washington State, for example. They require a separate license but having some basic skills and being handy with basic tools, power tools and things is, I’d say, at a minimum is needed.

But I would add to that more of a soft skill is the ability to learn and adapt and take your experience from one type of project and apply it to another or at least be able to give you enough comfort to try things that you haven't done before that are a potential reasonable stretch of one's skill set.

Chad: The ideal situation would be somebody that's worked as a carpenter or just a general jack of all trades under another contractor.

And there's a lot of little things. I’ve replaced a light bulb for an older person that didn't want to climb a ladder. There's some minor plumbing, changing a faucet replacing, a light fixture but then there's also whatever you're comfortable with. There's no limit to what you can do, I suppose, in the field with whatever you're comfortable with doing. I started off just doing handyman and I’ll do the occasional bathroom remodel now or even I’ll build some furniture for the right person. So, once a client gets comfortable with you and it knows your skill set, there's no limit to what they can do.

Tip: In my step-by-step guide on How to Start a Handyman Business, I explain how you can get industry experts to teach you everything you need to know, 1-on-1, completely free of charge. You can check it out >here<.

So my three founders confirmed what I suspected – a basic skill set is that starting point, and you can build from there. All the basic or advanced experience you already have is a very useful foundation moving forward.

You just need your tools, and some customers, and you're in business.

I asked my three experts how much money you need to get started in this business, and what you need to buy.

How much money do you need to start a handyman business?

is it an expensive business to start? what equipment do you need as a minimum, to start earning money?

Hunter: Really not much at all. If you already have a basic set of tools, then you're pretty well covered. Depending upon your locality, the cost for licensing is going to vary. For example, where I am in South Carolina, you should have a residential specialty contractor's license which is $100 a year. And then depending upon the municipality or the county you're in, your business license cost is going to vary from anywhere from $100 to $300 a year. And then to start now, insurance is about $96 a month for me. So, it’s not extremely expensive. You could start a fully licensed and insured handyman business for $2000 maybe.

The equipment you'll need is – obviously, a good set of hand tools, hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, tape measures, a good reliable cordless drill, a skill saw, maybe a jigsaw, a stepladder, just your bare essentials. I fortunately already have pretty much all that because I’ve been doing it on my own pretty much my whole life. I already had most of these tools. And as you progress, you can obviously go on from there, you figure out what areas you might want to specialize in and you can figure out what kind of tools you want to go from there but my biggest recommendation – especially on power tools – is pick a brand that you like and stick with it because otherwise, you're going to have like five different types of batteries because unfortunately, none of the batteries match across the brands.

I started out with just my truck and just had stuff in the backseat of my truck and ladders in the bed of the truck and I now got a fully enclosed work trailer that turned into a mobile workshop, gone up over the years but you can definitely start out with just basic hand tools, a drill, a stepladder, saw. Nothing crazy.

Michael: I would offer a ballpark of $3,000 to $5,000 as a good range to get started, and that could encompass tools, licensing, insurance, bonding, and in the case of Oregon, you have to study and then pass a test.

You'll want to do some investments in advertising as well in addition to the tools and things. So, again, about 3K to 5K, I think, is a reasonable ballpark. Certainly, less is possible depending on what you're doing.

And for equipment – you'll want your basic hand tools and some basic power tools like a drill and saw and whatnot. And getting started with the corded tools that you may have, even if they're 20 years old. If they work, then use those and then buy the specialty tools for the jobs that you win i.e. don't buy that nail gun until you win that fencing contract or the fencing bid, right? And just buying the specialty tools as you go. I would add that sort of a hybrid task is to go to garage sales whereby you can pick up some great used deals on tools as well as find leads. Tell people you're getting into the handyman business because every home has a handyman to-do list that's at least seven items long.

Chad: Assuming you had a truck or a van already, you can spend as much or little as you want. Basically, you could probably get started for, I’d say, $2000 minimum. I highly recommend that you become licensed, insured and bonded through your state and that has a significant upfront cost. And then on top of that, it's just your basic ladders and hand tools and other tools you carry with you in your van or truck for the jobs.

For equipment – definitely a good drill and driver set, some basic saws. I can't even tell you how many saws I own now. I’m not at that starting out point again. I probably have $15,000 in tools at this point – but you only really need the basic stuff you use every day, just a good set of screwdrivers and sockets and flashlights.

Tip: Buying second-hand equipment can be much cheaper, but consider that it will take longer to find good second hand equipment at a fair price. There might not be a cheap nail gun on Craigslist today, but, someone might list one in two weeks time.

Once you get the basic equipment and then you get some clients, you'll be earning an income almost right away. And it can be a fairly good hourly rate, depending on how you charge.

Each handyman business owner I spoke with said they have plenty of work. The handyman business has such huge demand for services that you'll soon have as many work as you want.

I asked the three successful handyman operators how much you could expect to earn as you get started in this business, and as you get more established.

How much does a handyman business earn?

is it a profitable business to run? can you expect to earn a good income quite quickly?

Hunter: it depends upon your market as to where you're located and what you can charge, what your market can handle. I’ve read many different things on different platforms across the country. In some markets you can charge $50 an hour and people will be fine with it and others you can charge $150 an hour and people will be fine with it. So, it really depends upon the market. Where I am in Charleston, South Carolina, a good month for me is anywhere from $6000 to $8000 a month. And that's after I’ve been in business for five years and very well established. So, it depends upon your market really.

Michael: it's hard to pin down that range just simply because the handyman is such a broad term and the tasks are hard to pin down. Now, that said, somewhere between 100 and 150 billable hours a month is certainly a reasonable target within your first year, year and a half. And if you Google handyman, it'll tell you that the average rate is around $69, I think. So, if you do the math, that's $6,900 a month.

Chad: It could change with the seasons depending on where you live. Outdoor work, obviously, goes away in the winter in the northern climates – or gets much lower. So, you have to find indoor work but I would say – it depends on how much you want to work, but you could make anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 a month if you were super motivated.

A handyman business can bring in a very good income, and once you get your base of regular customers it's quite a stable business.

Generally, the answer seems to be – you can expect to earn anywhere from $5,000 to well over $10,000 a month with a handyman business – depending on how much you want to work, and what you're charging for your services.

It all starts with the first client, and then, more of the same.

I asked my three successful handyman business operators:

How do you get clients for a handyman business?

do you advertise? do you buy leads? is there something that works really well?

Hunter: I started out in the neighborhood that I lived in at the time. It’s a large planned subdivision neighborhood and I put flyers up in the community mailboxes because we didn't have our own individual mailboxes. And so, I put flyers up there, posted on the neighborhood Facebook page that I was in business and that I was doing this, that and the other. And then I also started a website which has been huge. My website definitely gets me a lot of business. If you google “Handyman in Charleston” or “handyman in Summerville,” I’m one of the first ones that pops up after the paid ads because I don't pay to be up at the top. I probably get at least two emails through the Contact Us part on my website a day and probably two to three phone calls a day from my website. I’m still a one-man show and I plan to keep it that way just because I don't want to deal with the headache of employees.

When I first started I also tried Thumbtack. It's similar to Angie’s Leads or Angie's List and things like that where usually the contractor – the handyman – pays for leads. And it worked to get started and kind of get my name out there when I was first getting started but I don't use any of those now and I haven't for the last four and a half years, any of those services. Really my biggest advertisement is word of mouth. I provide a good service for a reasonable price and people talk. So, I would say, 60% to 70% of my customers are friends and family of previous customers.

So, they say “Hey, you know, so-and-so gave me your name. So, can you come and do X, Y, and Z.” – “Sure".

I was just at a house on Friday where they had hired a handyman through Angie's List, schedule it and everything and the person never showed up. So, they're in a panic as they were selling their house, asked one of their good friends like “Oh my God, I need a handyman. I got to get this done.” They're like “Oh, well, call Hunter. He can take care of it.” And she called me and I went over there like an hour later and knocked out everything that they needed knocked out. So, to me, as you get started, word of mouth advertisement is the most reliable and also the cheapest form of advertisement.

Michael: The first billable job I ever did was from a yard sign, just one of those kind of plastic signs – like a realtor sign that I put on the corner of my yard. And then I did a local deal on Nextdoor. And this was April of 2020 when we were in full lockdown mode.

It turns out that while we're sitting home on lockdown for three to six weeks, depending on where we were, all these customers were making these to-do lists staring at the walls. I offered a local deal on Nextdoor to do contactless delivery of yard materials in small quantities that were bigger than they could get in the bags in their SUV but less than the three yards minimum. So, a Nextdoor local deal, and a couple from there, and then it just took off.

Chad: So, initially, I had a couple of those family and friends customers lined up. So, that helped me get my business started. I’d built a website and published it and nobody could find it.

One of the best decisions I ever made was I had a friend that I hired that does SEO work for professionals. I paid him to take a look at my website and that really allowed people to start finding me locally when they searched for handyman. Otherwise, they couldn't find me. So, the website. I put some signs on my truck which, I think, I used for about a year. And then I had a couple of yard signs made up – so if I was working on a house; I could throw out a sign while I was working because the customers were okay with it. So, a little bit of drive-by traffic. I haven't done any advertising in the last probably five years. It was word of mouth after that initial marketing that got me to where I am.

I have not paid for any advertising since I started my business. So, I registered on a lot of the free sites – Angie's List, Yelp, and it really helps your web presence if you're linked to some of those other places according to the friend that I had hired. And those turned out to be just almost harassing me, a lot of those companies, Home Advisor and Yelp especially. They would call and call and just want you to pay to increase your presence on those websites. I think I have found a few customers on Yelp that have come to me but I haven't paid. And, frankly, at this point in my business, I just ignore anybody from Home Advisor or Yelp or any of those people because I just tell them the same thing over and over again – “I’ll call you when I’m interested in advertising.” I think it's a great tool for someone getting started but once you're established, it's not necessary, in my opinion.

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As you're getting established in the industry, you'll have phone calls and customer enquiries coming in. People will be enquiring about your services, and will be asking you to help them.

Turning those enquiries into paying clients is the next task.

Usually, that's pretty simple – just be helpful and answer their questions, and they'll use your services. If you do a good job, they'll probably use your services over and over again, as well as recommend you when their friends and family ask if they know someone.

I asked my three industry experts – how do customers choose which handyman business they'll hire?

How to make sure a client chooses YOUR handyman business?

what do clients really care about? what are they looking for in a handyman service?

Hunter: I think it's a combination of availability and price. Obviously, availability plays a big part because a lot of times they're dealing with, in their mind, an emergent situation. Whether it is or isn't – in their mind, it is. And so, you need to take that into consideration as a handyman that, in their mind, it’s their house, it's a problem and it needs to be handled.

So, availability. Obviously, price is also key. I have a one-hour minimum. However, being a small business and being the owner-operator, that's flexible. If somebody calls me up and says “Oh my God, in the middle of the night last night my smoke detector started going off. Can you come change my smoke detector batteries because I’m 80 years old and I can't reach it?”, especially if I’m in the area already that day, I’m not going to charge somebody 80 bucks to go climb a ladder and change the smoke detector battery. You've got to be reasonable with your pricing as well. And sometimes that $80 that you could charge them, that might be the last time you ever see them but if you either a) don't charge them or b) charge them for the cost of the battery and maybe 10 bucks for your time, they're going to remember that and they're going to call you back for another job or they're going to refer you to a friend of theirs. So, the goodwill value that you get out of that far exceeds the potential $80 that you could charge for your one hour minimum. So, pricing, availability. And then one thing I get from a lot of my customers is professionalism, your personal appearance when you show up to do a quote or when you show up to do the job. I have company shirts with my company name on them. I keep my truck clean. I keep my trailer clean. I’m actually in the reserves right now. So, I’m clean-cut. I’m physically fit. So, your professionalism both in your appearance, your vehicle and equipment's appearance and then just the way you handle yourself, it goes a long way.

Michael: I firmly believe that what's most important to customers, at least the customers that I want to serve frankly, is that they value the trustworthiness that they are able to sense in interactions and the feelings of trust that we're able to develop that they can count on me, I’m punctual, I do what I say, I say 'no' to things that are over my head or I’ll tell them “I’ve not done that before but I’m capable of it and I want you to know.” And so, being upfront, honest, communicating, all of those things, I think are as important if not more so than just price.

Chad: I’d say, at this point, I’m booked out four to five months in advance because I just have so much business right now. I mean, I lose more work than I get from new clients, just because I'm so booked out. I think a lot of it is your reputation, a lot of it is word of mouth, customer’s and neighbors and friends that have already used you before and are willing to wait for you to get there. A lot of it's just some online reviews, online photos, being able to see some of the work. That's what I find new customers that I have coming to me are looking basically at my web presence.

I’m just a one-man business and I have no plans of expanding or growing anything. And so if I get too many calls, I just say “Sorry, I’m not your person.” When I initially started, I was trying to take care of everybody. I was trying to do it all and I just can't survive long doing that. So, I lose far more business than I get these days because I am so far booked out but I’m okay with that.

Now I’m more choosy about the jobs I do take and that's something else starting out new is not being afraid to say no. I find that people respected me a lot more when it was something I wasn't comfortable with and not trying to pretend I was a professional at whatever task they wanted when I wasn't and I’d say “Well, I could do part of this and you might want to find somebody else to do this part of it” and they would be very appreciative of that fact that I wasn't trying to get over my head and figure it out. I knew I would want to.

Tip: The worst thing you can do is offer a 'cheap' handyman service. You'll earn no money, you won't be able to maintain your equipment, you'll always be frustrated because you have no money, and your customers will be annoyed and give you 1-star reviews, which will eventually kill your business. I've dedicated a whole chapter in my guide (available for sale, or for free here) to the topic of setting your fees properly.

When you start advertising your handyman business, you'll start getting calls from companies – all trying to sell you something. But how do you know what is worthwhile, and what is a waste of money?

I asked my three founders whether there was an item or service they regretted spending money on.

What is the biggest waste of money for a handyman business?

is there something that sounds like a good idea, but is actually a bad purchase?

Hunter: Well, for me, personally, the biggest waste was hiring an accountant to handle my bookkeeping and taxes. With the software that's out there – TurboTax and QuickBooks and everything – if you've got any kind of business savvy to you, it's definitely something that you can do on your own. My first two years in business I had an accountant and I was paying them hundreds of dollars to handle my bookkeeping and my taxes. Then I started looking into it and I was like “I can do this myself. It's not that difficult.” And so, I don't do that anymore. I do it myself now and I haven't had any problems and I pay my taxes quarterly and I handle all my bookkeeping and save myself thousands of dollars a year by doing that.

Michael: Knock on wood, I’ve been fortunate. I bought one tool that I used once and haven't used it since. I was just actually looking at it this week thinking I should sell it and it was a cordless framing nail gun – but that's really it. And a few little things here and there that I only used once but I may need it again – but no big money wasting or regretted purchases, knock on wood, I’ve been lucky.

Chad: I did set up a PO box to handle all my business and that has turned out to be a waste of money. You don't get a whole lot of the mail. Some people occasionally will mail checks to it but that was one thing. There hasn't been really any big ones. And I’m very frugal. I mean, I don't make purchases lightly. And so, I think that really helps.

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All three of the handyman business owners I spoke to have built nice businesses for themselves, and, they said it's not difficult. They all report having more work than they can handle.

I wondered what a typical workday looks like for someone running a handyman business.

I asked my three founders – what is a typical day for you now?

What is a typical day for a handyman business owner?

is it busy all day every day? is it an enjoyable business? how's the work/life balance?

Hunter: I’m usually up pretty early. I’ve got young school kids. So, I’m usually up by 5:30 in the morning to help get them up and out the door. I usually start my work day around 7:00, go to the local hardware store, Lowe's, Home Depot, to get any materials I need for the day. I’m usually at my first customer's house between 7:30 and 8:00 depending upon their availability. Some days, I might go to four, five, six houses a day. Some days I’m only at one place a day. And then I make it a personal goal of mine to be home by 4 o'clock every day so that I can be home with my kids and help with school work and dinner and extracurricular activities and things like. That's one of the reasons I went into business for myself so I could spend more time with my family. So, my typical workday, my actual official business hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 to 3:00. And so, my typical work day, I’m done by 4:00. Occasionally, some things come up and I do have to work late but really it changes from day to day because that's one of the joys of this job is that no two days are ever the same. So, like I said, some days I’m at one house all day; some I’m at six houses throughout the day.

Michael: It really varies depending on what I’m doing and it's kind of a mix between either days in the field or a day in the office. I’m gunning for generally 20 to 26 hours a week of billable time. I’m in the process of pivoting my business as well away from generalist handyman stuff to building more "catios", as they're called. It's a an enclosed patio or an outside area where cats can get outside safely.

So, when I started, I figured that at some point I might encounter a niche that could be lucrative and/or really spark my interest. And I would encourage folks that are starting to try lots of things upfront, you're going to have to accept some variety to get going but if you find a specialty that … be on the lookout and be open to specializing if you find something that works and is financially rewarding as well as rewarding on the soft side.

Chad: I start early. I’m usually on the computer at least trying to reply to emails or invoicing or any of that office type stuff usually before 7 in the morning. And then I’m loading up the truck, making sure I have the right tools and materials for the day by 7:30 and try to get to a customer's house by 8 o'clock or 8:30. And then I’m using my hands, I’m working until the job's done or until the job's done for the day. Sometimes, it's 3 o'clock, sometimes it's 5 or 6 o'clock. Oftentimes, that's when I schedule to look at new jobs. If it's a bigger job, I try to squeeze that in at the end of the day, return some phone calls if someone has left a message during the day. So, it can be long days or there are some shorter days too. It just depends on how quick the jobs go.

When I started out, it was a lot of those $100 to $200 jobs, quick, sometimes I could do two or three in a day if everything went according to schedule but when you get three jobs booked in a day, everything has to go perfect or you're kind of backed up. Some days now, I’m doing some higher ticket jobs like you're saying but nothing's consistent. Sometimes I’ll have two weeks blocked off for a bathroom remodel and then the other day I could do two or three jobs a day for the week, filling in little pieces.

Running a handyman business comes with a good lifestyle. Every day is different, and you can schedule quiet days and busy days to suit your other activities.


I wanted to know whether there were any 'bad operators' in the industry, or if other handyman businesses were taking nasty shortcuts.

I asked my three experts:

What sort of CRAZY things happen in the handyman industry?

are there shady operators doing things the wrong way? or is the industry mostly full of professionals?

Hunter: I’ve seen people charge exuberant amounts of money for minute little projects. I’ve seen people that clearly don't know the building codes or clearly don't know the proper way to do something and just kind of fumble through it and just absolutely butcher a project – and they take the money and they disappear. And so, then, the homeowner’s stuck with a horrendously done project and their hands are tied, now they're having to pay somebody to come fix it. I’ve got one right now that I’m getting ready to start next week where this individual tiled the bathroom floor and just did an absolutely horrendous job, clearly did not know what they were doing. I mean, it's horrendous. And so, now, they're having to pay me to come and tear it all out and redo it – because the guy took the money and disappeared.

Michael: Most of the time the problems happen expectations weren't met, either that cost too much or the job wasn't done right or the job wasn't done and they bailed. I mean, it's really basic stuff that shouldn't occur.

I haven't run into a ton of it that I could attribute to handyman. I have seen on Nextdoor plenty of complaints that folks are airing about bad experiences. Many times, it is in fact with a licensed contractor type handyman. Often, it's not a licensed handyman.

Chad: Not returning phone calls, not showing up when you say you will. That's huge. I joke with my wife that the bar is so low in this industry that I get thanked over and over again for returning a phone call, which in most professions, it's like the minimum requirement. It's really sad in some respects but just being professional, treating them as you would want to. Other things I see is just people leaving messes in houses. I carry a shop bag with me. Every job I go to and make a little mess – just clean it up. That's a very simple thing. Taking your shoes off when you go into somebody's house, just respecting their property and they're inviting you into your home. I hear stories of others that don't do that, others that take money for materials upfront and then they never heard from them again. There's a few of those shady contractors around.

The basic principles of do a good job (especially with communication!), charge a fair price, and treat the customer fairly seem to stack up in the handyman business as well. Just don't try to be the cheapest – it won't lead to a growth in business, it will just lead to financial problems for you. Customers are already paying more, so why not stick with what they're willing to pay.


I asked my three experts whether it's a super competitive industry in their area, or, whether they just offer their rates and let customers decide whether they pay full price or go with a cheaper option.

How do you compete against other handyman businesses? Or do you compete at all?

do you follow up bids? do you offer discounts? or do you just give your rates and leave it at that?

Hunter: Yes and no. There are definitely times when I go to bid a job and they're like “All right. Well, I want to get two or three more estimates.” I’m like “Fine. Yes, do your research. Get more estimates” but I also explain to them that “You get what you pay for. So, if somebody down the road tells you “Oh, I can do it for half what Hunter can do it for,” well, you might get half as good of a job.” So, I explain to him politely and I say “Make your decision. Whatever you want to do, that's fine with me and no hard feelings.” And there's been several times that customers have called me and said “Hey, yeah, we went with the cheaper guy and now I need you to come fix it.”

Michael: I offer my bid and that's the end of it. And I’m getting better about being able to estimate more accurately and to make it reasonably profitable on my end. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position with customers that are regular – once you get the customers that know you and trust you, they start coming back and then the price isn't that important. It's a matter of trust and familiarity.

Chad: I don't compete. I really have had so little interaction with my competitors. And I think it helps right now there's so much work out there that I have seen so many more businesses pop up or so many other trucks or vans with handyman on them since I’ve started mine and I haven't had that sense of taking away some of my work. I kind of wish I had somebody I could refer them to or if they weren't booked out as far but, yeah, I’m just kind of like “This is where I am. This is what's going to cost me to do it” and that's kind of where I sit.

Tip: Knowing exactly when and how to offer an extra, an add-on, or an up-sell can mean the difference between almost nobody saying yes, and almost EVERYBODY saying yes. I have dedicated an entire section in my guide to the topic of selling the easy way – you can check it out >here<.

Advice for starting a new handyman business, from industry experts

the three successful founders share their keys to success in this industry, based on their own experiences

Hunter: The three most simple things would be show up when you say you're going to show up, do what you say you're going to do, charge what you say you're going to charge. That's it. If you can do those three things, I mean, you'd be surprised how far that can take you in the handyman world because so many people don't do that – they don't show up when they say they're going to show up, they don't do what they say they're going to do and they try and add charges on later. So, if you can do those three things, just show up when you say you're going to show up, do what you say you're going to do, and charge what you say you're going to charge, you'll be surprised. It will take you very far.

Michael: I’d say the first thing is to identify the things that you're good at and/or the tasks that you should be able to do and make money at. As an example, I don't like to clean gutters – but I did it once for a landlord and did it on the tenant property with the expectation that there might be more work there. There wasn't but I did at least get the referral out of it. So, sometimes I may do things that I’d rather not do but if there's going to be a little bonus besides just the hourly, whether it's a good reference, a good referral or lead to more business but, I think, it's important to make that list of the things that you think you can be good at and/or that you can do for someone and understanding where you're not comfortable. And getting the liability insurance will help with that as well. It will help define that, are you going to get on a roof or are you just going to be on ladders etc. So, identify that and be able to stick to the guns and trust that there is enough work. Whatever it is that you can be good at, there's likely enough of that out there.

The second thing is – always over-communicate with customers when setting and managing expectations because that is huge. And I believe that's a big distinguisher from me and my business that having dealt with Microsoft and Nike on a corporate level for 30 years, I can be reasonably articulate and manage those expectations with clients, particularly when things go sideways.

And finally – trust your gut (trust your feelings, Luke, if I can make a Star Wars reference). If it feels like this customer is going to be hard to please, you're right. And don't engage. If you think that task could blow up or if the risk-reward is out of balance, politely pass on the task.

Chad: Make that connection with your customers. Many times, I’ll just sit down and talk with them after they've given them an invoice, they've already paid me. So, they know they're not getting billed for it but I’ll just sit down and talk with them and just that personal connection is huge.

And before that – answer the phone and return phone calls. I mean, that's a huge one for some reason. Make sure you're communicating in a way that suits the customer – just the lingo, the words you use. How you communicate, the text or phone calls or email or however they're comfortable operating, you need to be prepared to conduct your business with that person in the way they're most comfortable with.

And don't be afraid to say no. When it's a job you don't have the tools or equipment to do. A job that you know you can't get to in the time that they need it done by yeah. A job that you don't like to do or are not good at, you're not an expert at.

Assuming you have the basic skills required, the handyman business is a good option to consider, in just about any large city in the world. It's super easy to get started, the equipment can be as cheap as $500 or $1000, and in most places around the country the demand for services is much higher than the existing businesses can handle.

I have spent over 100 hours learning everything there is to know about the handyman business, by talking to industry experts and handyman business operators. I have compiled it into the worlds most useful guide, How to Start a Handyman Business. You can check it out here.

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