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Profitable Handyman Business Models

6 Proven (and Profitable) Handyman Business Models That Can Replace Your Income

The handyman business is surprisingly versatile.

While most outsiders will assume that all handymen are the same, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, in the 4 years I’ve been a professional handyman, I’ve seen a wide array of businesses in this industry and had the opportunity to speak with several handymen who have carved out interesting (and profitable) businesses for themselves.

Each different model has it’s own benefits and disadvantages of course.

Some are more profitable. Some are easier to setup. And, some of them might even surprise you.

In this post, I’ll provide some insight into each handyman business model for those still trying to visualize themselves as professional handymen.

Maybe this will be that little spark of insight you need to start your journey in building that business you’ve always wanted.

#1 The “Do It All” Handyman

When I say do it all, I literally mean everything.

I recently spoke with a contractor from Atlanta who prides himself on serving all of the customer’s home needs. Doesn’t matter what it is.

Whether it’s plumbing, electrical, a remodel, a leaky faucet, or just mowing the lawn.

The goal of his “We do it all” approach is to provide the customer with the benefit of never having to call another contractor or handyman. That means he keeps them in his little web.

By providing small repairs and maintenance at no charge, this model cashes in on the bigger jobs like remodels and additions.

Although this used to be more common, it’s pretty rare now due to complexity and contracting laws. In order to pull this off legally in most states, you’d need to have dozens of different trade licenses. Additionally, as homes get more advanced, many improvements require specialized knowledge.

It does have it’s advantages though. You can stay busy while working for only a few clients, there is a lot of variety in the projects you take on, and you practically become family to those your serve.

#2 The To-Do List Handyman

This is a unique style of handyman business that I didn’t even know existed until I interviewed Jim Copenhaver from Chicago. Since, I’ve tried it in my own business with success and have seen many others take this approach.

This model takes advantage of the opportunity created by our overly busy lives.

Busy working parents simply don’t have the time to take care of simple repairs and maintenance, wealthy people simply don’t want to, and the elderly can’t or don’t want to either.

The type of work is usually includes hanging pictures, painting an office, hanging shelves, adjusting doors, and countless other small things that can be repaired or improved on a home.

Since this model only requires basic handyman skills, the barrier of entry is pretty low.

Typically, a handyman using this model will charge by the hour, by the day, or even by the half day. I’ve heard of some using price lists for all of these small repairs and providing a quote first, but to me it just does NOT make sense.

As long as you’ve set a profitable hourly rate, it’s much more efficient for you and transparent for the customer to charge based on time since there is such a wide variety of to-dos.

#3 The Niche Handyman

Don’t assume that in order to start a handyman business you have to do everything. In many cases it can actually be more profitable to specialize.

For example, you can start a business just mounting TV’s. I’ve seen it done.

Or a business that just installs trampolines. Or a business that just focuses on pressure washing.

Of course, there are also the more common specialties like painting, window cleaning, Electrical, or plumbing.

This business model has several advantages:

  • It’s efficient since you only need limited tools and get very fast after doing the same work repeatedly.
  • It’s much easier to do flat rate pricing which can be more profitable than charging by the hour.
  • Many people want to hire the best of the best. By specializing, you’ll likely surpass the generalist in skill and knowledge for your specialty.
  • It can be easier to scale and hire employees if that’s your goal.
  • It can be more profitable.

However, this type of business will typically require better marketing skills in order to stay busy. Since you are only doing a very specific service, you will need more customers than a “to-do list” or “do it all” handyman since you won’t have as much repeat business.

#4 The “Cherry Picker” Handyman

This is the type of handymen business that cherry picks jobs based on the skill set and interests of the handyman. This is how I operate :-).

Basically, it’s a mix between the “Do It All” and the “To-Do List” Handyman, except in this model you would only take on jobs you enjoy or are profitable. Any projects outside of your scope of work would be recommended to somebody else.

This is a common style of handyman business because of it’s flexibility. It gives you the opportunity to quote certain jobs (and make a higher profit), but also allows you to get the easy, but often lower paying to-do list type of work.

Another benefit is that once you get a few repeat customers, they will keep you busy most of the time.

To me, the main draw to this style is that it’s profitable, enjoyable, and every day is different. The disadvantage is that it’s less efficient than a straight To-Do List or Niche handyman business.

#5 The Franchise Handyman

If you prefer working in the office and still want to be in the handyman industry, here’s an option. You won’t be swinging a hammer, but you can take an established brand and run with it if you’re a good businessman.

This is definitely a higher risk business to start because of the upfront costs, but it does come with all of the business systems in place so you don’t need to build them yourself.

Personally, I think it’s too easy to setup a business yourself to pay for an expensive franchise. In this interview I discuss franchises with another handyman if you want to learn more.

#6 The Weekend Warrior

Let’s not forget the part-time handyman business. Maybe you don’t want to leave your cushy job with full benefits until you know you can make enough to support your family and lifestyle.

If that’s the case, then starting a handyman business on the side is a great option. Many homeowners are more than happy to get their repairs done in the evenings or on the weekends.

The advantages are all pretty obvious with this model. The main one being minimal risk. The only disadvantage is your business growth will be slowed simply because you won’t have as much time to work on it. But, it’s definitely better to get started slow than to not get started at all.

Conclusion

As you can see from these examples, the handyman business is one of the most flexible businesses you can run.

And, even within each business model, there is additional flexibility and can be custom crafted to fit your lifestyle.

If you only want to work on the weekends, you can. If you get tired of doing a certain repairs you can stop doing them. If you only want to work in a small area within your city, you can do that, too.

The flexibility is one of the main reasons I decided to start my business. I wanted the freedom of self-employment, a solid income, and the free time to pursue other interests like writing and teaching.

P.S. Are you ready to get started with your handyman business? If so, be sure to check out the training products I’ve created to help you escape your day job and replace your income with a profitable handyman business today.
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  • Randal DeHart November 25, 2015

    Dan,
    This is the best description of Handyman personalities as well as types. I certainly have a lot of respect and admiration for men and women with multiple skills in construction.

    Warm Regards,
    Randal

    • Dan Perry November 26, 2015

      Hey Randal,

      Thanks for stopping by to read this! I hope that you are also getting the respect and admiration you deserve as somebody who has contributed so much to the industry and continues to help us all be more profitable and keep our accounting in line.

  • Douglas. Ybarra November 25, 2015

    Thanks for boost of confidence just got done with kitchen remodle and two bedroom ceilings, took longer than expected.help didnt want to work . I Learned it is not always smart to hire friends but in the end everything turned out. Again thanks!!

    • Dan Perry November 25, 2015

      That’s what it’s all about. Progress over perfection. Good job man.

  • Erik November 25, 2015

    Great blog, Dan. I’m currently finishing up my first year as a handyman. I suppose for a first year it’s been fairly successful but lately I’ve been stressing out a little bit trying to decide which direction to go. Right now I suppose I’m mostly a “To-Do List” handyman, although there are some jobs I turn down because I don’t have enough skills, and others because I don’t like the headaches (such as plumbing). What I’ve been thinking of trying to move toward is a combination “Niche” and “Cherry Picker” handyman. It definitely requires more thought, but it’s nice to see you’ve put into words some of the things I’ve been thinking about. Thank you again for all you do!

    • Dan Perry November 26, 2015

      I think that’s a smart move. I would say everyone, even if you are a generalist, should pick at LEAST one specific service to specialize in. It helps make a name for your business and is a great way to attract customers initially before promoting your full menu of skills. It’s also a good place to maximize profit.

  • Toby December 18, 2015

    Great article Dan, I’m just starting my business, and posts like this really help me gain the confidence I need to succeed and decide which direction to take. I’d also want to thank you for creating the handyman web academy, full of useful information, well worth the money!

    • Dan Perry December 18, 2015

      Thanks Toby! So glad you are making progress in your business!

  • Tobias Frost December 18, 2015

    I am a 17 year old that is finishing my first year of handyman work. I went from 10 per hour to 25 -30 an hour. I do a variety of work but mostly general construction including painting, flooring, roofing, trim, bathroom remodel, and lots of other things. I face some extra challenges because of my young age but I love my job and I am completely independent. My gf Is proud of my job too and that’s always a plus 😉 I do good work and keep happy customers. I work mostly in the country

    • Dan Perry December 19, 2015

      Nice! I wish I would have dove into business when I was a teenager. As long as you keep learning business and avoid getting too comfortable, you will see that hourly rate climb much higher. Good Job, Tobias.

  • Fantastic Handyman London January 22, 2016

    Quite impressive overview of the handyman service schema! It seems handymen around the world handle business pretty much the same way. I might say that you’ve put it quite adequate. To be the ultimate handyman would be more than great, but no matter if it’s maintenance or repairs, the more specialized you are (no matter a local handyman or on demand) the better and more handy your business will perform (at least that’s my humble opinion). People nowadays (or at least when it comes down to London handyman services for sure) simply need to “find a handyman” and I think (ofc, only and only imho) the best approach for a business entity (I underline) is the “do it all” approach, which implies “being a company”. At least for me that’s the best option for commercial handyman services, because I would not want people to remember me as a provider with any sort of limitations, which is once again only my humble opinion.

    cheers!
    Dmitri of Fantastic Handyman

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