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.