Learn How To Start Or Grow A Handyman Business
Handyman Hourly Rate Calculation

What is Your Time Worth? How to Figure Out Your Hourly Rate

How much should you charge per hour as a handyman?

Good question.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. In fact, handyman hourly rates are all over the map. Some demand well over $100/hour because they know what their doing and do it efficiently, professionally, and immaculately. Then, there are the guys on craigslist that only charge $10/hour and still have trouble getting customers!

So, where do you fit in on this scale? What’s a good rate to base your service pricing on as a self-employed handyman, carpenter, or contractor doing small repairs?

That’s what I will answer in this article.  I’m going to lay out a step-by-step process you can follow to help nail down a rate that will keep your business profitable and your schedule full.

Whether you are charging by the hour, quoting each job, or have flat rate pricing for common services, follow these steps to price for success.

How to Determine Your Hourly Rate

The purpose of your business is to sustain your lifestyle and you must charge enough to do so, otherwise your business just isn’t sustainable. I don’t care how cheap the competition is.

If you don’t charge enough, you’ll either kill yourself working too many hours for too little money, or your business will fail and you’ll be forced to get another job.

So, the only real rule for setting your rates is to charge enough to pay the bills at a minimum. This is called “Cost Based Pricing” and it’s how to guarantee you make a decent profit.

Basically, you must figure out the minimum you must charge to cover business and lifestyle expenses. Can you charge more than that? Of course you can and I recommend you do!

But this is the first step, so let’s get started.

Step #1 – List Your Living Expenses

How much does it cost for you to live comfortably and happy?

Write down a list of all of your expenses and an approximate monthly total for each.  Spend time and try to think of all of your expenses, even the ones you only pay once a year.  Assign a monthly value to each and  add them into an excel spreadsheet (or just write them down).

Make sure not to leave anything out. Include entertainment and even a little extra for unexpected expenses. The idea here is see how much living actually costs for your area. If saving money for retirement is part of your lifestyle, make sure and include that, too. Need to pay for insurance? You’ll definitely want to include that as well.

#2 Business Expenses

Now, list your handyman business expenses and assign a monthly value to each expense. Once again, include everything. Here is a list of most handyman business expenses.

  • Health Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Tools
  • Advertising
  • Vehicle Mileage and Maintenance
  • Website
  • Office Supplies
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Mailbox Rental
  • Licensing Fees

(To get more detail on the expenses of running a handyman business, check out this complete pricing guide which details all of the expenses you will encounter as well as more advanced handyman pricing strategies.)

#3  Taxes

Now it’s time to figure out your tax responsibilities as a self-employed contractor. I’ve listed the common taxes directly below. However, this list is not all inclusive and you may have other tax obligations outside of these depending on where you live. I am not a tax professional and am only providing the following information as an example. Your specific tax obligations may be different and you may consider consulting with a professional.

Self Employment Tax – Since 2014, self employment taxes are set at 15.3% according to irs.gov. That 15.3% covers both social security and medicare taxes. As an employee, these taxes were automatically taken out of your paycheck. As a self-employed handyman, you’ll have to pay these out of your gross profits, which means you need to charge enough to cover therm. These do change each year, so you’ll need to keep up with this.

Federal Income Tax –   As you probably already know, this tax depends on how much money you make each year. The more you make, the higher the percentage of taxes you will pay (assuming you don’t have a bunch of tax deductions). For the purpose of figuring out your hourly rate, you will need to estimate this tax. For most handymen, this will end up being about 15-20% of your profits.

State Income Tax – Check with your state to find out if you need to pay this tax.

Other Taxes – Depending on where you live, there might be other taxes. For example, in Canada, I know they have additional taxes to cover health care. You’ll want to include this.

Once you have an estimated percentage for each tax, add them all up to come up with your total tax percentage.

Let’s say your taxes are as follows:

Self employment:  13.3%
Federal Income Tax:  15.0%
State Income Tax: 0%

Total Taxes = 28.3% (example only)

#4  Billable Hours

The next step is to figure out how many billable hours you are going to work each month (assuming you have the business).

You may be thinking that 40 hours is a good estimate. In reality, however, with all of the quoting, following up, driving time, etc. it is probably more realistic that you will bill somewhere in between 25 and 35 hours per week.

Sure, you might work 40 hours per week, but you won’t be paid for every minute of that. You’re only paid for when you’re actually working for a customer.

The goal here isn’t to see how many hours a week you can work, but how many hours it is reasonable to work without totally consuming your life. After all, you’ve started this business to have some freedom right? Enjoy that freedom and set a limit on your billable hours.

For my handyman business, I’ve decided that 25 hours/week is a good amount of work. This allows me time to improve my business, have a personal life, and run this blog. I’ve based my work load on my own personal lifestyle design.  I recommend you do the same.

#5 Do the Math

Don’t want to do the math? I’ve created an hourly rate calculator to help you do this faster than ever! Click here to download “The Handyman Hourly Rate Calculator.”

Now that you have an understanding of your costs and how much you think is a reasonable time to work, you can do some quick calculations to see how much you need to charge to live the lifestyle you have designed for yourself.

It goes like this:

Total Monthly Living Expenses = L
Total Monthly Business Expenses = B
Total Billable Hours/Month = H
Total Taxes (%) = T

Your Minimum Hourly Rate = L/[* (1 – T)] + B/H

Example: So let’s say you need to make $3,000/month to live, expected your business expenses to be about $1,200/month, estimate your taxes at about 30%, and plan to work about 32 billable hours per week.

L = Monthly living expenses = $3,000
B = Business Expenses = $1,200
H= Monthly Billable Hours = 128
T = Total Tax Rate = 30% = 0.30

Minimum Hourly Rate = $3,000/[128 *(1-.3)] + $1,200/128 =  $42.86/hour  

#6 Evaluate

So, now you know how much you need to charge in order to live the now defined lifestyle that you have laid out in terms of expenses. The next step is to evaluate this hourly rate and determine if how you can provide that much value in one hour.

Is the number you came up with reasonable? Based on your experience, qualifications, etc, can you comfortably look a customer in the eye and say “I charge X amount?”  If you can, awesome. You’re all set.

If you don’t feel comfortable charging that amount, why not? What’s holding you back? I’ve found that most handymen tend to undervalue their services and leave a lot of money on the table.

Don’t do that.

I made that mistake and it cost me tens of thousands in my first year as a handyman. Instead, learn the business skills you need so you can gain the confidence to charge what you should. It’s likely higher than you think.

Be sure to download the “Handyman Hourly Rate Calculator” by clicking the link below.
Handyman Hourly Rate Calculator

Congratulations! You’ve just completed the first step to pricing for success. But, don’t stop there! There a still dozens of tweaks and strategies you can apply to your pricing that will add thousands in profit each year while keeping your customers happier than ever:

  • Quoting best practices – Learn the tricks of the trade for talking money with customers.
  • Hourly vs. Flat Rate vs. Quoting – which is better and when?
  • Trip charges, marking up materials, and other profit maximizers – These can literally double your profits.

Learn them all right here so you can enjoy the security, freedom, and fulfillment of a highly profitable handyman business.

STOP Making These Mistakes...

"3 Common Handyman Business Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)"

Learn why some handyman businesses THRIVE while others STRUGGLE.
  • Thomas November 23, 2012

    Thank you for your advise. I was looking for some guidance to set a fee for handyman services and I have an answer now. Best regards, Thomas

  • dave December 24, 2012

    just wanted to say your blog has been very informative….thanks for the time and effort you put into it…

  • Wade Myers February 6, 2013

    You have to love the $10 an hour guys. I can’t tell you how much time I have had spent explaining to customers that these people are working under the table because there is no way they are paying for insurance, taxes , business expenses and eating for $10 an hour.

    You MUST convey to the customer that you are licensed and insured and that you have to charge enough to stay in business to honor the warranty that comes with your work and that to do this, you have to charge X number of dollars.

    • Big D February 6, 2013

      Good point Wade. It’s unfortunate that most customers don’t understand what it costs for quality work.

      • Eric K April 9, 2013

        Has anyone ever done business with a customer who is also handy themselves? That is a freakin’ nightmare. Naturally, they don’t value your skills as much as say an insurance agent or a dentist. And don’t get me started on rental owners LOL

        • Big D April 10, 2013

          Yep, some customers are just flat our terrible to work for. What they don’t realize is that it only makes my service more expensive to them 🙂

        • Jose Fuentes February 11, 2017

          When the owner wants you to do it his own way, like do not use primer or only put party no gasket.

  • Glen Betts April 28, 2013

    Big D,
    Excellent commentary. Another value to a quality handyman who is ethical is that the customer can trust him with their home and contents. The biggest referral I received came from a man whom I had never met before. He handed me the keys to his house, told me the three things he needed repaired, and said, “Ted said you could be trusted”. WOW! That’s why I work by myself. That trust and confidence cannot be bought and it also gives a great sense of protection to the customer.

    • Big D April 30, 2013

      Totally Agree. Trust is one of the largest factors in whether or not somebody will hire you. Thanks for the insight.

    • Kim Kendall April 29, 2017

      COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION is everything! Developing and fine tuning those skills to properly and professionally speak to clients is the number 1 hardest to achieve for most new Business owners. Being polite and personable. Being very skilled in your trade and knowing what your talking about. How you dress and overall appearance does make a huge difference. If your a professional then one should dress accordingly. THAT GOES FOR a HANDYMAN as well!!!! Don’t show up looking like a hot mess! If you get that dirty and your going to give n estimate for the first time, you want to look professional. I knw that sounds far fetched if your a carpenter or painter etc….
      Just remember one very important thing, YOU ONLY GET ONCE CHANCE TO GAIN THE CONFIDENCE AND MAKE THAT FIRST IMPRESSION ONCE! Don’t blow it. ( I’ve seen this happen time and time again) Don’t be your own worst enemy right out of the gates!
      On the other hand, for a rare few, they were just born personable and a gift of gab. Remember Clients want to know that you actually care about the issue their having. DONT forget that! Believe me that is important!
      Not everyone likes talking on the phone and many don’t speak with confidence. Then again try not to be that OVERCONFIDENT know it all..
      Practice your speaking skills with a family member’s or friend! For the most part, your client doesn’t know you from Adam, so that phone conversation is WITHOUT DOUBT going to leave an impression. Make it a good one! Let your client speak, even if they talk your ear off. That’s one of those “compensations” that will make you stand out from the rest. In todays state of technology, you should have the client if possible send you pictures of what they are looking to fix, install or get rid of! PICTURES SPEAK A THOUSAD WORDS! Not to mention this saves you the handyman a lot of h in the hardship in the long run. ( COMMUNICATION!!)

      Your client may not be able to articulate what they are wanting done SO BY ALL MEANS LET THEM TALK. ( BUT HAAVE THM SEND PIC’S!)


      As stated by this main blogger, Building Trust, open lines of communication, reliability, and good ethical work habits is essential..
      This is what we all strive for. That’s what makes us successful!! who doesn’t want that?
      Ethic’s, trustworthiness, Accountability, communication! Your on your way to success :O)
      Might I add that networking with reliable other professionals is a huge plus! Don’t ever think they are stealing your business from you. Know body can do it all and every client will appreciate your honesty if what they need isn’t your thing and your able to refer them to someone who can help them…
      Don’t under estimate the power of networking within the Handyman industry in your area.
      This is a great Blog page. hope you keep this going..
      Interpersonal communication skills advisor

  • Terry June 3, 2013

    Great topic, Big D. You’re learning 🙂 I say that because I, too, am learning, and have only recently came to the realization of the cost of running a BUSINESS!

    The prevailing thought on total number of billable hours (due to the paper work, etc. that you alluded to in your post) seems to be 1000/yr. I suppose this may be trade specific, but in mine, it is 1K/year.

    Also, have you considered a Profit Margin along with your Overhead?

    Some suggest that you begin with what you would like to earn a year, and go from there with expenses, payroll burden (if any – and this goes beyond the amt. a business pays its employees: workman’s comp., etc.), along with those you wrote about.

    Well, I can get long winded easily, but very good post, and thanks for sharing.

  • Lee Dam July 10, 2013

    Hello Big D,

    I thank you for sharing your very valueable information. It has really helped me in adjusting my business plan. This has also been my biggest struggle is what to charge per hour and also how long does it take to do each task. I am trying to take as good notes as possible so when I do a similiar job I am more realistic in time to do and of course price. I love reading your blog.

    • Big D July 10, 2013

      Thanks Lee! glad I could help!

  • Cal Kustoms July 24, 2013

    Hey Big D, can you simplify the calculation above for the #5 tip. Some of use did not do algebra. lol.

    • Big D July 24, 2013


      Sorry, I can’t simplify the equation. But, if you copy and past the equation into a google search and just change the numbers to your own, Google will do the math for you!

  • Ron September 5, 2013

    Hey D ,as a new handyman buisness owner ,I have a soft spot for senior citzens they get a discount plus ,I still lower my rates to help them out even more.Some senior members seem to want to take advantage of my services. Think its time to stop giving double discounts to those that can afford it. Have a great day .

    • agusto March 5, 2016

      Rob I want to work for your business how do I get in touch

  • Rob October 13, 2013

    Great info,

    I will charge 42.50 per hour but believe the first hour should be higher to cover travel and tool setup etc. You can spend lots of time setting up your
    Tools and drop sheets etc to protect the customers property



  • USAGeorge February 20, 2014

    Skilled handyman work is a profession. The expenses run well beyond taxes and the obvious costs. We run a residential handyman service and bill on short calls a minimum of $90 per hour. One way to get a feel for what a billing schedule should be is to bill no lower than what a big box like a local Lowe’s or Home Depot charges for similar work. Charge less and you’ll become another fly by night,short lived enterprise.
    Customer sanctification is essential.
    1. Be firm on your price,no negotiating.
    2. Work within your limits.
    3. 24/7 emergency calls are a must.
    4. On jobs that are beyond your ability be ready to still help the customer and hook them up with a reliable outfit that specializes in that particular work. Follow up by calling the person within a week to make sure the other outfit did satisfactory work. You will have a customer for life.
    5. There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week when your self employed,get over it or go work for someone else.
    6. Never engage in price negotiation nor try to explain to the customer why the cost is what it is. Hold firm.
    7. Investment in parts is essential along with tools,that cost will be surprisingly high.
    8. Present a detailed billing to the customer. Parts and labor cost should be itemized.
    9. Be professional in every word and action.
    Repeat and new word of mouth customers will be your bread and butter. These are the customers you want,they are more interested in a quality job and not bottom basement shoppers.
    The list could go on but unless your making a living with the ability to save for retirement your going to go out of business.. Price like a professional because the only handyman services that thrive are professionals,not day laborers.

    • Dan Perry February 21, 2014

      Thanks for the insight George! Always appreciate others perspectives. Why do you feel 24/7 emergency calls are a must?

  • MM Goodill September 1, 2014

    Had a handy man do some simple work. Trim under stair lip, four short pieces of quarter round and rehang a kitchen cabinet door with new hinges. Brought a friend that he was teaching the whole time he was working. Charged me for 3.4 hours of work. What would a job like this usually run for time?

  • Silvio JCK September 17, 2014

    As a professional contractor, yes I do handy man work and the way I price it is
    Regular charge $ 100.00 per hr for handy man work
    Will the customer be looking at what I do? Then it is $ 150.00 per hr
    Will the customer be asking question as why and how I do things, when I am working? then it goes to $ 200.00 per hr
    No flat rate, sorry
    Recap, I like your site, thanks for the good info and fantastic comments
    Best to all handy man

    • Dan Perry September 18, 2014

      Ha! Love it. Thanks for sharing.

      • rentkcapartments@gmail.com December 20, 2016

        Silvio’s pricing is hilarious. Nothing worse than somebody standing over ya questioning your every move. And Dan, I really appreciate your blog. You have really helped answer a lot of questions I had and made me feel more confident about the choices, pricing, and business model that I have to decided to work with. I have worked for property owners in the rental business for years as an extremely hard working but extremely underpaid hourly employee and I am currently in the process of transitioning into owning and operating my own handyman business. You have literally answered every question I had and helped me make every decision I was struggling with. Tomorrow I have a final meeting with a large company that is buying up every property in the area that I live in and I already know that I got the account and at a rate that my work is worth for a change. Thanks for all your insight brother. Much appreciated. -Adam

    • mplshandyman January 9, 2015

      I charge by the hour too, but I’m looking into advertising a few specific services at a flat rate.

    • Susan October 7, 2015

      I would never hire you. You clearly like to rip people off!

      • Darin March 16, 2016

        Susan, you are exactly who we don’t want to work for. Let us do our job and you’ll get a fair price. Nag and question every move we make and that makes our job harder and as such, makes the price go up. Consider it an Annoyance Tax. Let us do what we do and we’ll do it well and get out of your hair. If you want cheap, find a Craigslist Contractor and then call a real contractor when you get screwed.

        • Michael Severance December 7, 2016

          LOL. Only started the handyman company a few months ago, but I used to have a roofing company and I always ended up in the high-end neighborhoods where I would charge WAY more than I would in my own neighborhood. It wasn’t because they were rich and HAD more money, but because I knew a lot of them were kind of a pain in the ass. If it were my house, I wouldn’t be holding a barbeque in my yard while my roof was being done, but they expected to be able to, so I’ve got to pay more guys for setting up and breaking down to accommodate that.

        • Redd Allison September 2, 2017

          We call it the “PITA CHARGE”. The charge for being a Pain In The As*. And we really do charge it…however, its disguised as simply not receiving the “preferred customer discount”. Gotta love customers that stand over you for a couple hours & feel that in that time they learned enough to do it themselves. Last line who did that thought he could cut floating LVP flooring better & get it closer to trim molding. He forced the plank in, cracked it, & buckled half the floor I had already laid. Then wanted me to fix it. Nope. Told him he thought he could do it, he can finish it.

  • cody March 12, 2015

    this website is very helpful im starting my own handy man service i dont like the 24 hour service but im willing to be at there service 10-12 hours a day but what if they dont like my price of $45 a hour and i really need the work to make money to support my house hold but i do excellent work i evan work on plantation home also i charge a lil more for them right at least $100 a hour? so how do i not lose my job to the next guy over priceing? someone please let me know

    • Dan Perry March 13, 2015


      No matter how much you charge there will always be somebody who is cheaper. Knowing this, the key to still landing jobs is to (1) have a good system of marketing to bring in more leads (2) position yourself as a professional/expert to differentiate yourself from the cheap labor and (3), provide a higher level of service than the cheap labor. Not everyone is your customer and some will turn you down for your price. In fact, if nobody is turning you down for your price, you should consider raising it. But again, you need a good enough marketing system in place to generate enough leads to where you can afford to lose some customers. This is all explained in detail in The $100K Handyman.

  • cody March 12, 2015

    also is chargeing by the job screwing my self if there small?

  • Andrew May 9, 2015

    So I live in California and the law says that I can’t charge more than 500$ parts and labor even as a licensed handyman. Just got my license and was curious if charging by the hour bypasses rules like this?

    • Dan Perry May 11, 2015

      I’m unsure about that, Andrew. You should talk to an investigator in California who deals with contracting violations.

    • Kest October 15, 2015

      I am also in California and I was wondering what handyman license did you get in California? Is it just a business lic? I have tried to look for something like that but have not been successful.

      • Erik October 28, 2015

        I have looked as deeply into this as I can without hiring a lawyer (leaving aside for now the question of whether any two lawyers would even agree on this or any issue). The short answer is that there is no such thing as a “handyman license” in California. Either you obtain a contractor’s license (subject to the same training, experience, and costs/fees as all other contractors licenses) or you don’t. If you don’t, you are limited in what you can charge. Unfortunately, the limits are not clearly laid out. In fact, the language on the State of California Contractor’s License Board web pages, and their official (1106-page) California Contractors License Law & Reference Book, are very vague, if not contradictory. And this is where I must wind down my answer because I could, literally, go on for pages. So to quote what I believe is the most relevant section from those State of California pages regarding whether a license is necessary for handymen:
        “3. Is anyone exempt from the requirement to be licensed?
        Yes. Here are some of the exemptions:
        1) Work on a project for which the combined value of labor,
        materials, and all other costs on one or more contracts is less
        than $500 falls within the minor work exemption. Work that is
        part of a larger or major project, whether undertaken by the
        same or different contractors, may not be divided into amounts
        less than $500 in an attempt to meet the $500 exemption.”
        Yes, that leaves a whole lot of unanswered questions for which you have to provide your own logical answers (because you won’t get them from the State of California). But that can be my long-winded analysis for another time.

  • Dan the Handyman May 17, 2015

    Hello Mr. Perry
    I have been in the maintenance world for some 30+ yrs. but have always worked for a large company or small Buisness contractor. After getting laid off of my professional job I have decided to start my own handyman Buisness and I thank you for this we sight. I have been in Buisness for about 3 weeks and all my jobs have turned out really well for the customer. I first started out with a flat rate of 30$ an hour but as word of mouth and my reputation is the only marketing that I currently can afford is doing fairly well. I have managed to stay busy and at the same time most of my customers are of the older and retired people. I pride myself in helping others. You see my wife came up with the idea of being a handyman because of all the experience I have gain throughout my working career. But, I have made a few mistakes along the way on pricing and it has really cost me at times. I now charge a flat rate of 42.00 an hour but where I get hung is in spending the time to go to evaluate a job and if I over estimate the job in hours it usually works out ok. It is the jobs that I underestimate that gives my service away at a lower than I can afford. It isn’t that I don’t know how long it takes to do a job so much as it is the problems that creep up and cause more time and money to the customer. For example, recently I had a job to install 5 canister lights in a living area and also change out 46 recepticals and both separate jobs in the same house I ran into unforeseen problems that happen while replacing things that added more time and money for materials.My question is it fair to say that as a customer they should incure the extra cost or is it me the handyman that should absorb the extra cost for underestimating the
    jobs? Which is fair to both me and the customer?

    • Dan Perry May 20, 2015


      That’s depends on what was communicated to them before you started the job. As long as you say “Here’s the price for what X, Y, and Z. If there is anything outside of X, Y, and Z, that I need to do in order to finish the job, it could be extra.”

      Short answer is the customer should pay for any and all work and materials done (outside of mistakes made by you). But, it’s your responsibility to communicate very clearly that extra work is a possibility. Or, quote high enough to compensate for that.


  • Jacob September 19, 2015

    Okay, I’m just starting up. I don’t know how to go about buying materials. Do I tell them up front to buy them or give me the money or what exactly??? PLEASE HELP

    • Dan Perry September 19, 2015


      If you are quoting the job, you need to include the materials plus markup in your quote. If you are charging hourly you will simply bill them for the materials once the job is completed.


  • JJ October 28, 2015

    I was wondering if anybody here charges a higher hourly rate for commercial work. I’m mostly working in residential now, but I’m thinking about trying to do more work for local businesses. Any advice?

    • Mike July 27, 2017

      I do charge more for commercial building work. About 30% more because I was a commercial building engineer for many years prior to starting my handyman service and I charge my hourly rate at 30% less than the average plumber, electrician etc does. And I don’t feel a bit bad for charging the commercial businesses the premium rate. They charge the premium sq ft rate to their tenants no matter how crappy their building is and commercial customers require a lot more insurance, there’s usually parking issues to contend with, entry access, security guards to deal with, waiting for the elevator, waiting for the engineer to escort us and then for him/her to come back and check our work. There’s a lot of extra headache in dealing with commercial properties so make it worth your while.

  • Erik October 28, 2015

    Dan, I love your website and discussion forum! Thank you so much. If I may, in answer to Jacob’s question, I’d like to add that it all depends on what “materials” means to the customer. If a customer hires you to do a bunch of miscellaneous things in the home she just moved into (I’m in the middle of one of those jobs right now, probably 30 hours of total work) you’re going to have a range of “materials”, from the ones that the customer is clearly going to provide herself, such as towel racks and toilet paper holders, all the way down to the things the handyman will almost certainly provide, such as the drywall and plaster necessary to fix that big hole in the wall under the sink. The gray area is all the things in the middle. So when I’m asked on the phone whether I can install a t.v. wall mount, or a shelf in the garage, or a new deadbolt or a new door, I make sure to get it clear on the phone which of us (handyman or customer) is responsible for providing what. Good communication is the key. Even with jobs such as drywall patching, I’ll usually tell the customer that I’ll be providing the supplies and will charge him for them. That gives him a chance to say, “Oh, I have several sheets of drywall right here” — which is fine with me!

  • Louie K November 14, 2015

    Is there room for this in the market?

    I can hang pictures, sturdy mounts, make sure everything is sunk into a stud. I can shim anything on feet, patch walls, build shelving units.

    I think I am a real handy man. Most of you are general contractors. Handyman can fix a squeaky door or make it flush again, but you need a real GC to put a door in properly.

    On some projects, I am basically good enough to tell you to hire a real plumber, electrician, or carpenter. I am way better than the average hobbyist but I am not a professional at any of the elements of construction, maintenance, or whatever.

    I also fix computers or declare them dead. I charge 20 bucks for a consultation and the first hour, 30 after that. It is a part time thing that also exists so people quit asking me to do these same things for free. It is one thing for family and close friends, but then everyone wants the same hung curtains, flush shelves, at the same price of nothing.. psh.

    Any advice on how to advertise my part-time services at this rate?

  • William November 23, 2015

    I have been bouncing from one dead end job to another mostly in the warehouse industry. One of my family members recently approached me about doing some work for her around her house. She says that if I do a good job that she will recommend me to her friends. The first job is to extend a 20×20 deck over to the walkway running behind it. Then she wants me to build a gate about 6 feet across under the deck to where the ac units for the house are. After the wood work is complete she wants me to pressure wash and paint the whole thing. There are also a couple of staircases attached. I was planning on this taking two days. One day to do the wood work and pressure wash, let it dry over night and then paint it the next day. I wash thinking of charging $15-$20 dollars an hr. She will supply all materials. Any questions? Comments?

    • Dan Perry November 24, 2015


      If you’re only purpose is to get some work under your belt, $15-$20 is ok. However, it’s much much too low if you are trying to make a profit. If you really want the job, I would tell the customer that you’re rate will usually be at least $50/hr, but since you are just getting started out you are willing to do it for less.

      Honestly, you aren’t in a great position with this and I personally don’t believe this is a good way to start your business. Whenever you are relying on somebody else to market your business for you they basically have you by the balls.

      If you’re serious about starting a business, do it the right way, or else you’ll wind up being cheap labor. Also, that job will probably take you twice as long as you expect.

      I know this is hard to hear, but I’m being direct because I care about your success. I hope it helps.

  • Tim December 10, 2015

    Hi Dan,
    If we quote a project that we provide all the materials, what is the typical markup?

    • Dan Perry December 10, 2015

      It varies depending on where you source the materials, whether or not you get a special price, and many other things.

      But, if you’re talking about just buying things from Home Depot, 25% is a common markup.

  • Chuck January 18, 2016

    To the guy talking about extending a deck and building a gate. Be careful offering services on things you think you can do, but aren’t sure. It takes knowledge usually attained by building decks, to alter one and extend it out. It also takes knowledge and experience to build a gate that functions correctly and is built to last. These are things that need to be done right, or they won’t work, plain and simply. Also, unless it’s hot and dry, it will probably take more than one night to dry a deck after covering it in water. Also, are you going to prime it before you paint? Are you using the right paint for decks? These are very important questions. This is why people hire professional contractors, or handymen, to do this kind of work, and why it costs upwards of $50/hr. If it’s done wrong the first time, it will still cost the normal rate the second time to fix it. Good luck.


  • hie January 29, 2016

    Hi , I have been working on houses since 1986. The crash pushed me out on my own in 2010. Over this time i have come to charge $75.00 per hour. I have had customers balk at this. I explain the reason i find this reasonable is, I am a professional in my field, I bring my experience and tools,materials to the job. If you take your car to the shop, you most likely will not personally meet ther person doing the work on your vehicle. they charge around$85.00 an hour here in Northern Illinois. Most people will not see their work. A Handyman/womens work is on display, and in most cases pointed out to friends of the client. Wether I do a good job or bad job, they WILL tell their friends. After thirty years of working on houses, I am finally making proper money. Customers who do not like my price are more than welcome to hire someone else. Trust is Number 1 for my clients. Some are snowbirds and want the work done while they are in warmer climates. ” That Gold watch was only touched to clean up my mess.” Rate you charge should be fair to both parties.

    • Dan Perry January 29, 2016

      Thanks for sharing this. Always good to hear when somebody else has validated this same strategy in another part of the country.

  • Mr. B April 10, 2016

    I am a GC in California with 30yrs in the business. Started as a handyman grew into a GC Builder, Remodeling, Handyman Company. My rates have always exceed everyone by far. Started at $25 over 30 yrs ago. At retirement 10yrs ago I was at $125. My number one rule ” Do not waste time on those who can not afford you “. I was borderline arrogant. I choose my customers and people respected that I was EXCELLENT at my profession. Second rule was “If you don’t like my work, you don’t have to pay me, just pay for materials and expense”. Never had a problem getting paid. Finally, my last rule was “Know your customer ” I made it my business to call on birthdays,anniversary and always check on the kids and pets. Truth os most of my customers called me to just have me thwir to do something so they could vent. Handymen are far more than the guy who repairs things around the house. I will never forget a customer calling me when their friend was killed, also when their child had to have heart surgery. They called for prayer because they knew I love the Lord and it showed in every thing I did. God Bless those called to this wonderful profession, may the Lord bless you as he has and is doing me. I was honored to win the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000.

    • Hans M May 10, 2016

      Mr. B, when did you start as a handyman, did you have experience in other work like it? I am trying to start a small handyman business over the summer before I go back to school for engineering in the winter. all advice is appreciated.

  • edwin Perdomo May 17, 2016

    hey ron i would like your help Asap with my start up rate.i cant figure it out someone please help me

  • James May 17, 2016

    Trying to make the leap my big concern is it gets cold ,very cold here in WNY I don’t know how much work will be there when the snow flies . I do most all ,I’ve been doing this for over thirty years , company I worked for folded . The owner took the money and shut down , so I’m really thinking of all possibilities in going on my own . I guess what to do durning lean months , or worrying about the wrong things.

  • Thomas Pierce August 23, 2016

    Hey Thomas can you give me some advice on how to go about getting started at getting my own business going?

  • Dima about handyman rates September 1, 2016

    I have calculated what my handyman rate should be and as a price it’s way more than people would afford and what the handyman company I work for offers. Does that mean I should quit and try to make it on my own with handyman services?

    • Dan Perry September 1, 2016

      If you can justify charging more by offering a higher quality of service or specializing in a more profitable service, then starting your own business is a good option.

      But, if you aren’t going to be able to generate enough income to generate the income you need, I would consider other options.

  • Derrick October 6, 2016

    I have been in business for a few years now. I have acquired a decent size customer base. I have many out of town customers with vacation homes here locally as well as property management companies I do work for. I find that I set my bar too low in setting an hourly rate initially and would like to introduce a new pricing schedule to my current customers prior to it taking effect at the beginning of next year. Would you have any advice on how much of a price increase is acceptable, percentage wise, at any one time and what is a good gauge for setting new rate increases in reference to time frame in the future? Also I have been searching for a way to stand out in my community by offering a unique service such as package deals, creative billing strategies that bring in monthly revenue and offer through the year ongoing maintenance and upkeep or offer some type of cutting edge product or service that is not currently available in my area. Would you have any good reference links for brainstorming such ideas. -Thanks

    • Dan Perry October 9, 2016

      Hey Derrick,

      I wouldn’t worry about percentages when raising your rates. It’s just as hard to raise your rates by $5 as it is to raise them by $20. I would jump to wherever you plan to stay long term. You don’t want to be constantly raising your rates.

      Will you lose customers? Yes, you will. But that’s kindof the idea. When you raise your rates, you are also defining your customers more specifically so naturally some people will drop off.

      If haven’t already, I would recommend checking out my pricing guide “The $100K Handyman” to set your future rates.


  • Christopher Brom February 21, 2017

    I have worked in facility maintenance for a couple years now. Its a common occurence that someone asks me if I do any side work. I normally reply with “No, because I do not know how to charge for my work”. Being a maintenance technician in a skilled nursing facility I am paid an hourly rate of $14/hour , so that is all I know. Recently, a lady asked me to come paint three rooms of her house but I turned her down simply because I do not know what to charge other than my normal hourly rate. Any suggestions?

  • Robbie February 27, 2017

    All good questions and answers, but when it comes down to it get the client to sign
    a contract, including materials and labour then you dont have to put up with annoying people holding you back. If its a bigger contract than you thought then workout a
    payment plan to be payed as the job proceeds.

  • Poetreeman September 8, 2017

    I did independent tree work in Houston. I would go on to a block and prune a tree for nearly nothing. The neighbors would see the job I did and want me to do theirs. This system actually worked great. One guy hired me and decided he would take the day off work to make sure I did it right, 18 years of experience by the way. I told him you took the day off for nothing, call another tree service and left. I would tell people that it is $45. for me to climb to the top of a pine tree. Cutting and hauling debris was free. My reason for that is that I would get done back on the ground and they would point up to some twig that I missed and want me to go back up the tree.

  • Terrell Ferguson February 15, 2018

    How many miles you guys traveling in a month

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