How to start a handyman business.

A handyman does jobs that other people simply don’t have the time to do. If you see yourself as a jack-of-all-trades and don’t mind getting your hands dirty then starting a handyman business could be the perfect business for you – and with peoples' increasingly busy lifestyles, now could be a great time to do it.

Why start a handyman business?

There is a growing need for handymen. Balancing work and family life is extremely hard for many people, and that’s before you even consider jobs that need doing around the house. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges or doing painting and decorating, many people find that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to complete the jobs we all need to do from time to time. With people spending increasingly long hours at work or in the office, handyman services have become more and more popular, especially so amongst busy professionals. A handyman business can be started fairly cheaply and provides great potential for expansion.

What skills will I need?

If you’re planning to do the work yourself, you will need to be flexible! The more skills you have and the more services you can offer to your clients, the more money you will make. The more specialised these services are, the more you can charge too. Being able to do simple things such as mowing the lawn or cutting the hedges is great, but some handymen are also qualified plumbers and electricians, for example. Hiring specialist staff could be an option if you aren’t qualified to do the work yourself. You will need to be highly motivated and enjoy working in different environments. A lot of your work could be outside or involve lots of heavy lifting, so you’ll need to be prepared for that and be willing to work long hours and get your hands dirty. Being a people person helps too because after all you’ll be spending lots of time around your clients and in or around their homes.

Start-up costs

Starting a handyman business can be done fairly cheaply, especially if you plan to start up on your own. As your business grows you could then consider taking on staff later on. You will need a reliable vehicle, as handymen have to travel around a lot and need plenty of space to carry equipment to carry out work. You could consider purchasing or leasing a van, depending on which you find to be the most cost effective for your business. Aside from the vehicle, you will need to acquire equipment and tools to carry out the work. Don’t forget marketing and branding either – especially important in the earlier days as you are trying to raise awareness of your business in the local area.

Training, legislation and insurance

You don’t need any specific training to become a general handyman. You will however need to take out public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance to protect against any damages you might cause while carrying out works. If you plan to offer more specialised services such as electrical or gas work then you will need to be fully trained, qualified and registered with the appropriate body (e.g. Gas Safe).

What are the keys to success with this business?

Your reputation is everything and your clients will expect a flexible, reliable service. Be sure that you can actually complete a task before attempting it – botched or incomplete jobs will quickly earn you a poor reputation. Effectively marketing your business within your local area is essential too because people need to know about your services. This could include listing your business in the local telephone directory, setting up a website advertising your services, branding and painting your vehicle, and printing and distributing flyers or mailers in the area you are operating in.

Your next step

As with any business, market research is often a good way to start. Find out how many handyman companies operate in your area and the services they offer – is there enough room for another service or would you be better off targeting a different area or specialising in specific services, for example gardening? How much do your competitors charge? Once you have defined your business you should write a clear business plan which outlines how you are going to run and grow your business. Remember, this is your own map to success and you should refer to it regularly and benchmark your performance against your plan.