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Lost Money in the Garbage

Some people say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you.  I’m gonna call BS on that one.

Often, it’s the things that you don’t know that can hurt you the most.  At least I find this to be true when it comes to business.

I’ll explain.

When I first started my handyman business, I did a lot of things right.  I spent gratuitous amounts of time making sure I looked professional and on marketing my services.  I also made a strong effort to provide great customer service, do what I said I’d do, and always provide quality work.  This focus on marketing, quality, professionalism, and service is what led to my current success as a handyman.

However, I also did a couple of things completely wrong.  For example, dropping a customer’s brand new 50″ plasma on the ground and shattering the corner was a clear mistake.  Answering the phone and showing up to contractor board sting operation was another experience I’d like to take back.

Yet, neither of these two mistakes ended up costing me all that much money.  My biggest mistake ended up costing much, much more.  Over $50K in my first year in fact. [Read more…]

Are you still on the fence with whether or not a handyman business can actually work?  Or, are you hesitant to get started?  If so, you’re going to get inspired by this episode where I share a great interview with brand new Australian handyman business owner, Justin Terrill.

This is the first time I’ve had a handyman on the show who is just getting started, and it turned out amazing.

Justin started his handyman business only a couple of months ago and is already booked out two weeks in advance while charging a premium for his services.  He was previously a teacher, when he realized that he enjoyed working with his hands much more.  So, he put his skills that he learned from working on a farm to good use and got started with his handyman business in Sydney, Australia.

I got in touch with Justin when he contacted me to thank me for helping him get started.  As a member of the Handyman Web Academy and a reader of this blog, he took action on the knowledge that he learned and has had amazing results.

It was inspiring to talk with Justin, and even though he’s just getting started, I learned a lot from him.  Whether you are just getting started or have been in business for a while, Justin’s got some great insights to share.

Here’s what we cover in this episode: [Read more…]

Four Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Customers

Obvious calculation mistake

You’re great at what you do, why don’t you have enough customers?  Is it lack of demand?

Probably not.

From my experience, there are a LOT of homeowners looking for a good handyman.

Frankly, I’m surprised at how often I find customers who say “It’s so hard to find good help.” or “I was so happy to find somebody that offered the services you offer that I can actually trust.”

It’s like there aren’t enough handymen or something.

But, I doubt that is the case.  I know there are plenty of handymen out there that would love to connect with these customers.  I get e-mails from them every week asking me how.

So, If you’re wondering why your phone isn’t blowing up with eager leads, you may be making one of these four marketing mistakes. [Read more…]

Successful Business That Can't Fail

Leaving your 9-5 and starting your first business can be a scary thought.  I know I was scared when I first decided to quit my job and go out on my own in 2011.

I was working at a desk job I absolutely hated and desperately wanted to start my own business.  I wanted to do anything but work at that life draining job.  But, I couldn’t even decide on a business to start, let alone create a plan that made me feel secure.

I’d read business books in an attempt to learn more, but they all made it sound so complicated and challenging.  Business was so foreign to me and it seemed like I needed to have a unique idea to be successful.  I had no idea where to start.

After struggling for over a year to create an escape plan, I finally decided to just get started.  For me, that meant quitting my job even though I didn’t know the next step.

It was the best decision I’ve ever made and led me to start a business that I love.

However, it still wasn’t easy to choose a business.  I had to find something that I knew I could make work and with little startup capital.  I didn’t have the option to fail, and I’m sure you don’t either.  Maybe that’s why you haven’t made the jump yet.

Since leaving my job, I’ve learned a lot about business and what it means to take the risk of setting out on your own.  One thing that I’ve realized is that it isn’t as risky as most people think.  In fact, I believe it’s less risky than putting all of your eggs in the 9-5 basket.

So, if your dream is to own your own business and simply can’t afford to fail, here are 5 steps to ensure your success.  My hope is that they motivate you to get started. [Read more…]

Handyman Quote or Bid

Underbidding jobs sucks.  Whenever I do it, I feel defeated and unmotivated.  It makes me feel like I’ve lost power and freedom.

Here’s the worst part.  When I do underbid jobs I can typically sense it happening as I’m doing it, yet I still underbid the job.  Why is this?

It’s like I’m watching myself do something that I know is not good for me and have no control over it happening.  There’s some hidden power at work that I can’t see or touch that is controlling me from sacking up and charging what I should.

Kinda like when I start eating ice-cream and I can’t stop eating it.

During the first couple years of running my handyman business, I lost a lot of money by underbidding jobs.  Now, I’ve been doing this long enough to where I almost never do it.  I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me to only take on work that is worth my time.

Getting better at estimating and pricing jobs has had a significant impact on my income and enjoyment as a handyman.  Learning to quote with confidence is empowering.

That’s why in this article I’d like to share some tips to help you stop underbidding your jobs and start making the money you deserve.  If you implement them, you will immediately experience a feeling of empowerment and excitement about your business.

Enjoy. [Read more…]

small business Advertising Ideas

There are a 101 different ways to advertise a handyman business.  Some methods obviously work better than others (as you can see in my monthly reports), and some methods yield results 1,000 times what you put into them.  In this article, I’m going to discuss some ideas that are a little outside of the box, but could just be those golden nuggets you’ve been searching for.

Here are 3 ideas for advertising your handyman business you may not have thought of. [Read more…]

5 Tips to Keep Your Customers Loyal

keep customers loyal

Gaining new customers through Internet marketing is now easier than ever and is a great way to build your customer base.  But, the key to a profitable handyman business is to keep your customers loyal.  I’ve heard studies that say it is ten times more expensive to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one.  I don’t think it’s that extreme for a handyman business, but in my experience, it is much less effort to keep customers than to find new ones.

Gaining a customer’s loyalty often comes down to simply providing excellent service and a quality finished product.  Through my experience, however, I’ve learned that it’s not always that simple.  There are several other strategies that should be employed to maximize customer retention which is what I will highlight in this article. [Read more…]

My Monthly Report – June 2012

Handyman Startup Logo

Welcome to my seventh monthly report!  This marks my seventh month in business.  I write these reports each month and tell the story of my handyman business startup life.  In them, I include how much money I made the previous month, the advertising sources of that income, and other insightful tips and tricks I learned during the last 30 days.

I share this information to help handymen and other service providers to grow or start their own  businesses.  Through my trials and tribulations, I hope to save others some of the stress that comes with the startup life by showing them what works and what doesn’t.

The month of June was a very interesting month.  Business was slower than expected, I started experimenting with some new marketing strategies, and I even got in trouble with the state contractors board.  Not fun. [Read more…]

Optimizing Your Google Places Listing

Optimize Google Places

If you are looking for a free way to generate more business, then it’s time you focused on optimizing your Google Places listing.  As one of the most widely used business directories currently online, Google Places delivers real results.  It has worked for my handyman business, and I’d like to share how it can also work for you.

Update: Google Places is now called Google My Business and has changed since I wrote this post.  However, the tips I share in this post for optimizing your profile still apply.

Simply signing up for an account and adding some general information about your business isn’t going to yield great results.  You may get some business, but only if your competition is lacking.

Just like getting your website to rank in Google’s search engine, you need to put in a little effort and tact into Google Places.  Remember, Google is trying to return the best results to it’s customers (also your customers in this case).  So, they’ve developed a system of ranking businesses to determine their postion in the results.

The key is to optimize your listing to appeal to both Google and your potential customers.  I’m going to explain how you can:

  1. Get Google to put you on the first page.
  2. Entice customers to click on your listing.

To setup your free profile, click here for a complete guide (referred to as Google Places in this post).

Ok, let’s get started… [Read more…]