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Lifestyle Design

Lifestyle Design and Choosing to Start a Handyman Business

It took me a long time and some deep soul searching before I finally decided to start my own handyman business.  There are so many questions for somebody considering this profession, such as how much does a handyman make?  What skills do you need?  Is there enough business out there?  I’ll answer those questions in later posts, but this post is going to be focused on a deeper subject.  LIFESTYLE DESIGN.  You may have heard of it before, maybe not.  Either way, I believe designing a lifestyle that provides you with fulfillment is the key to happiness.

Unfortunately, most of us spend our time submitting to society and letting the masses force their values upon us.  We constantly think that we “need” to do something simply based on whatever influences we’ve had along the way.  It’s important to break away from this thought process and figure out what you want and makes you happy.  Only then can you start taking the steps to achieving what most do not:  Happiness.

What do you want?

I know what I want.  I want the freedom to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it.  Unfortunately I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Let’s do a little exercise.  For the sake of this exercise, let’s say you have Bill Gates bank roll and zero responsibilities.  How would you fill your time and provide yourself with fulfillment?  Seriously, take 2 minutes to think about this.  That is the truly difficult question to answer.

You could travel the world on your own yacht, buy the Laker’s franchise, and own every sports car you can get your hands on.  But, I seriously doubt this will provide you with long term fulfillment.

So, think for a while what you really want in life.  What makes you happy?  When do you feel best?  At what point in your life were you the happiest and why?  Hopefully these questions will give you some insight whether a handyman business is right for you.

If your like me, you’ll end up realizing that it’s not about the end goal, it’s about enjoying yourself as much as possible along the way.  I can honestly say that if I didn’t have to work, I would still want to provide a service to people.  It just makes me feel good.

When I asked myself the questions above, I came up with list of characteristics that I wanted from a career.  Some of these characteristics are absolute must haves, and others would be nice, but not necessary.

  • Freedom.  I have a bit of a problem with authority and don’t like being told what to do.  Business ownership was the only choice.  I have the freedom of taking time off when necessary and not a measly 2 weeks/year.  Although, I find myself with too much time off occasionally.
  • Working in the physical world.  Computers are amazing, but they’ll drain your soul if you let them.  Plus,  I just feel way better when I’ve been up and moving all day.
  • Challenge.  If I’m comfortable, I’m bored.  Life’s too short to be boring.  Take risks and leave your comfort zone.  It’s the best way to learn and the only way to accomplish great things.
  • Options.  I like having several doors to choose from.  If you reach a point where you only have one option to move forward, move back instead.  Then choose a better door.  When you’re self employed there are always multiple doors.
  • To be necessary.  It’s important to me to matter, even if it is just to an old lady that needs her curtains hung.
  • Last but not least, good money.  It’s a necessary evil.  If I could go back and live with the Native Americans 300 years ago, I would and wouldn’t give a sh*t about money.  But let’s face it, I can’t do that.
These are the characteristics that I decided that I needed in a career and I believe a handyman business can fulfill them all.  Starting a handyman business can provide me with freedom to choose how much and how often I work (assuming I have the customers), and I can make all the small decisions in my business on a daily basis.  I get to work using my hands everyday.  It’s challenging in multiple facets.  For one, I’m always on my toes learning new skills in order to provide better service.  Secondly, it’s always a fun little challenge to see how much money I can make.  I’m providing a necessary service, and I can make good money as a handyman.
There are several other careers or service businesses that could potentially provide the same fulfillment, but other factors pushed me towards a handyman service.  It’s relatively cheap to start and I already posses many of the skills required in order to succeed.  For the most part all service businesses are the same.  I know starting a handyman business is the right choice because immediately gets me to my primary goal in a career: enjoyment.
What do you think?  Take some time now to write down the characteristics you need to be fulfilled.  Please share your thoughts below by leaving a comment.
Big D.
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  • anthony pearson owen November 3, 2013

    Big world out there can i have a slice please!!!.

  • Andrzej Sadanowicz December 6, 2013

    Hi Dan,

    This is awesome what you are doing by providing plenty of useful information about handyman business. I really like the transparency, clear language, and up to date valuable content. I found your website quite accidentally looking for ideas how to re-start my part-time business. I have some experience in this kind of work, but I either did not care so much about marketing my service or was afraid to fully commit myself to it. Therefore, the results are disappointing; few customers and not so much money made.

    For last couple of years I was struggling to make some sense of my lifestyle. Like most of people I did not know what I want, but reading this post was a real eye opener. All the points you have made here, just fit right straight to me. I like freedom of making decisions, working with my hands in a physical environment, like challenges, having options, feeling needed and appreciated, and making good money after all. I have read so many books, listened to motivational CDs, and spent significant amount of time on internet research looking for answers. I blamed my introvert personality, lack of people skills, and current state of economy, etc. It has not occurred to me so clearly what was missing.

    Thank you again, Dan. I am your loyal follower now,


    • Dan Perry December 8, 2013

      Hey Andrzej,

      Thanks for sharing your story and the very kind words! I”m really glad this post helped you make some sense of what you are looking for in life. I think most people have a similar struggle of finding what they want to do or achieve.

      Thanks for the comment!


  • Tim M January 17, 2014

    . As I wait to go out to do a refrigerator repair, I have time to type in one quote that relates to this. But first even the refrigerator repair itself relates. I could make more money doing just handyman work than repair appliances, and it’s a lot easier, too. So why do it? Because I love figuring it out, it’s a challenge and fun. So it’s like a paid hobby. It probably wouldn’t be as fun if I did it full time, because I would know it so well the challenge would be gone.

    . The quote is from the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell:

    Those three things —— autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward —— are, most people agree, the three qualities work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us.

  • Daniel Miller June 6, 2014

    Thanks. I can relate to your story 100% but. ..for me: I’ve yet to commit. I’ve been employed ata manufacturer facility as/ printing technician, maintenance tech./injection molding tech. And have even done a lot of handyman type work at the plant over my 28 years there. Im barely 12% happy over all and am certain I’m not being groomed for the c.e.o position before I ever retire haha. I’ve longed for my own handy service even before I took this job 28 years ago. I’ve got the skills so what is it? ‘Doubt & fears? I’m sure’ . Your note has inspired me to give this a shot.
    I’m confident there is a demand for my services in my area and after getting a few jobs completed customers will spread the word. I stress over what to charge people. I want them to treated fairly and to be satisfied with my end result. Any ideas as far as pricing and specific planning for each project.
    Im married with children and all the rresponsibilities that go along with it as far as being a good family provider. I WILL appreciate any information. I’ve really been looking into this seriously lately.
    Thanks, Daniel ,53yrs young.

    • Dan Perry June 13, 2014

      Hey Daniel,

      Thanks for sharing that story with me. It sounds like you just need to take that leap of faith, man! It will all work out and even if it doesn’t at least you won’t have any regrets. If there is anything I can help you with please let me know. I’d hate to see you not live your dreams.

  • Jorg Schlagheck August 22, 2015

    Thank you for creating this website and write about the experience of starting and operating a handyman business. I recently quit my job and have promised myself not to look back. What you have created is of great help right now. I am a skilled handyman with many years of experience in a huge variety of different applications. I have a pickup truck, many tools and most of all enjoy working with my hands and serve people who appreciate it. Right now I’m reading through your blogs in order to learn more about this type of business. It is highly motivating. Yes, I can actually do this!

    • Dan Perry August 23, 2015

      Your welcome Jorg! So glad you have found some help here, and it’s great to see you jump in head first and just tackle it. Keep on going and I’m sure you will be successful.


  • Armando Lopez January 5, 2017


    Thanks for building and maintaining this site. As I strongly consider moving away from my six figure corporate gig and bs associated with it and onto satisfying my personal goal of being an independent business owner and home improvement service provider (fancy handyman description) I am finding this site to be filled with so much valuable information and insight on what to expect. To say you’ve done an outstanding job publishing this online tool & resource would be an understatement. Thanks for all the info and guidance! I look forward to joining the ranks of the corporate free world of independent handyman business owners. Maybe when I make the jump I can go back to all the rich techie customers and provide services to them!

    Nor Cal – Silicon Valley