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Handyman Skills

Evaluating your Handyman Skills and Deciding What Services to Offer

The first step to becoming a handyman is evaluating your skills.  If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you are in fact handy.  Handy in the sense that you are resourceful, good with your hands, and readily available to perform services on customers’ homes.  These are the only absolute must have qualifications in order to be a handyman.

However, you need many more skills in order to be good handyman – the kind that can and does charge a premium.  Believe it or not, not all self employed handyman drive a beater truck and make fry cook wages.  The good ones have learned how to leverage their skills and continue to learn new skills.

In this article I will show you how to evaluate your skills and decide what services to offer – the first step in the journey to owning a successful handyman business.

Step #1 – List your handyman skills.

This is a pretty easy step.  Take out a piece of paper and write down anything you know how to do around the house.  List everything.  Do you know how to change an air filter on a central heating system?  List it.  Can you change a light-bulb?  List it.  Can you hook up a TV?  List it.

Even if something seems really simple, you’d be surprised what some people are willing to pay for.  One of my best clients regular calls me to hang pictures.  Talk about easy!

Hopefully you have a nice long list and a small confidence boost.

Step #2 – List skills you would like to learn.

What services do you want to provide?  As you may have guessed, the more specialized you get with your services, the more you can charge.  Door and window repair and installation is a good one because there is a lot of business out there.  Anything that moves tends to need more service.  Shelving and organization is another good little niche.  Once you get really good at building and hanging shelves, you can make big bucks remodeling closets and garages.

I do recommend you specialize in something you are INTERESTED in.  This will help motivate you to learn and advance your skills.

For my handyman business, I’ve chosen to offer “green” handyman services.  To be completely honest, I’m not a professional in this area….yet.  But, it’s something that I’m interesting in and passionate about.  I’ve centered my business model around being green and making energy efficient upgrades to customers’ homes.  I also offer a full range of other handyman services, too.

Step #3 – Do some research

Go see what other handyman are advertising.  Check out their websites to see if they have a list of services.  Go to Craigslist and write down any services that you see mentioned often.  These are probably going to be services that are in demand, otherwise people would stop advertising them.  However, don’t be afraid to be different.  Offer a couple unique services to test the water.  You may find that hidden gem that the masses haven’t seen yet.

Step #4 – More research

Check with your state’s contractors board to see if you need any special licensing to offer certain services.  My state is a pretty strict state when it come to contracting.  I’m unable to provide plumbing, electrical, or HVAC services without a special license.  I don’t want to put the time in to acquire these licenses, so I don’t offer those services.  Also, I’m unable to bid on jobs over $1,000 without a general contractor’s license.  This eliminates a lot of services from my list, unfortunately.  I’d love to offer kitchen and bathroom remodels, but I’ve never seen either cost less than a grand.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a license, I don’t and I have regular business doing small jobs that range from $100 to $1,000.  You can always work on getting a license while offering services that don’t require a license.

Step #5 – Make your final list

Take all the information that you’ve gathered in the steps above and decide which services you are going to offer.  There is nothing wrong with just offering common handyman services.  After all, that’s what most of us do.  If you choose to specialize in something, you can and should offer a range of other services as well.

This exercise isn’t a trip to Disneyland, but it’s important.  The better you understand what you’re going to offer, the easier the rest of setting up your business will be.  It will help you come up with a name for your handyman business and aid in the next step:  Determining a Target Market.

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  • Blair M. September 7, 2012

    This was really helpful! Have done the competition spying on Craigslist and that REALLY helps with finding services to offer. Thanks D!

  • David M. March 29, 2014

    I appreciate this article. Good insight especially for start ups such as myself. I’ll definitely have future questions and would love a few pointers here and their. Until then I’ve got homework to do. Thanks again.

    • Dan Perry March 30, 2014

      You’re welcome!

  • Chris September 24, 2014

    Hi , chris here
    I have been thinking about my own business for years now I am a qualified butcher with contracting experience running fibre optic cable , many mechanic abilitys due to cost saving , I just buy the mechanics hand book ,
    And just reasearh a lot before pulling anything apart. Always since young age had a nac for knowing how my toys worked , and always put back together properly! All house hold dutys include hanging 8 new doors cut n measure so can do that really well includng handle set to using the chisel , home entertainment installs including surround sound , running wires behind walls
    My brother is cabienent maker and got tips from him how do I start it? I’m 27 any info would be Greatly appreciated .

  • Leon January 15, 2015

    Hi Dan, I just saw your picture on this facebook group. Not sure if it’s your but I thought I would let you know..

    • Dan Perry January 15, 2015

      Thanks for looking out! That’s actually just some stock photography so they probably just found the same picture and bought the rights to it.

  • adlawceo October 5, 2015

    Thanks this piece of information.
    I don’t think I have any handy skills but I am an entrepreneur who see an opportunity in my area and will want to provide the business in ma area.
    Should I go on and start anyway?

    • Dan Perry October 5, 2015

      If you have NO handyman skills, you can still run a business, but you’ll just need to hire others to do the work for you. Or, you can start out offering super simple services such as furniture assembly and expand as you gain skills.

      • Damilola Oguntoye June 16, 2016

        Hello Dan Perry, thank you for this great article. I’m from Nigeria and I just got this business idea on doing some home repairs and replacement. To render services at your door step. any form of services in different fields. have plan to open a website and have a corporate organisation. But how to go about it is really a challenge for me. please I think i need your help on this. Thank you. From Dammy

  • Amarjeet Kharour March 13, 2016

    Hello ,
    how i become a handy man in surrey BC Canada,i have no experience in bc, how i become licensed handy man

  • Jeremy May 25, 2016

    Thank you. Very nice to see people thinking of the same things. Makes it reassuring to move forward.

  • Laura Bonn Veleznoble September 8, 2016

    Do I need a handyman licence to use a mower and blower in a mobile home park in Ca.?

  • Steven DEWITT June 6, 2017

    Weird how I became labeled, “handy”.
    I temped at a water company having only oil and gas experience and no full time positions opened until later, (Facilities ). I applied and was immediately hired. I faked my way and used my communication skills (along with youtube) to complete tasks. Fix doors, chairs, paint, change bulbs, etc.
    Now Ive fell into woodworking and love it. Immediately decent at it people are asking me to build things, closets, etc. I still don’t know squat I just learn as I go. Ha.

  • MICHAEL OYE October 21, 2017

    Can fix anything in around the house from automobiles to carpentry to plumbing to electrical