Training to become a handyman is going to vary drastically depending on where you live, experience level, and the services that you would like to offer. Since there is no one training program, online course, or book that will contain the information that you specifically need to maximize your results, it’s going to be somewhat up to you to acquire the skills you need.
In this post, I’ll recommend several options for handyman training and explain the benefits and shortcomings of each. I’ll then discuss a little about my expereience becoming a handyman. (It’s not as hard as you might think)
If you are reading this, hopefully you have some experience with home improvements or home maintenance. If not, your best bet is to get a job working for somebody else for a while until you gain the confidence and experience required to even consider being a handyman.
In order to determine the best way for you to begin your handyman training, I’d recommend you take inventory of your current skills and determine what services you would like to offer. One common assumption that people looking to start a handyman business have is that you need to know how to do everything. This just isn’t the case. You can run a business offering just a handful of services.
Here are several different methods for gaining experience as a handyman. You don’t need to train using all of these methods. Just choose the ones that are necessary for you to reach your specific goals.
Vocational Schools and Community Colleges
There are several online programs and schools that you can get traning on certain trades such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC (heating, ventilating, and cooling). These courses may be a good option if you are looking to do one of these specific trades.
This can be an effective way to start out since you will learn how to do one specific trade well, get licensed, and then slowly broaden your services to other things.
In my state, a license is required to do any plumbing, electrical, or HVAC. I don’t have any of these licenses (there is a different license for each trade) so I’m unable to perform this type of work. I lose some business because I don’t have a license, but not enough for me to go out and get one. There’s just too much other work out there doing simple home maintenance and repairs. I can always get a license down the road if I need one.
Getting licensed in one of these trades will help you gain customer trust and help you demand a higher rate. This is probably the best reason to get licensed. There is a downside, however. It can take several years to become a licensed plumber, electrician, or HVAC specialist.
In most states you are required to first complete formal training with a certified education facility. Then, you may be required up to 5 years as a journeyman before you can get out on your own.
There are also several websites online that will provide you with the formal training you need. Before you start any course, make sure it is something that your state recognizes for credit toward a license. You don’t want to waste your time on unnecessary training.
Volunteering for a program like Habitat for Humanity can be a valuable hands on method to gain experience. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit company that builds homes for homeless and less fortunate families. If this program exists in your city, you may consider volunteering some of your time. You’re likely to get exposed to a wide range of trades and the best part is you don’t have to pay a dime. It’s basically free education while helping those in need.
Another option would be to find a local contractor or small business owner and volunteer to help them out. They will be getting free labor and you will be gaining experience. You can be more picky about what jobs you do since they aren’t paying you. There may be some liability issues for the business owner, but I’m sure they’d work something out for free labor.
As a handyman business owner, I’d be ecstatic if somebody eager to learn to be a handyman offered me free services in exchange for training.
Work on Your Own Home
I believe this is the single best way to gain handyman experience. This is how I gained confidence and experience with home improvements and maintenance. When I bought my first house, I was doing home improvements whenever I had a chance. I successfully taught myself how to paint, install windows, install interior doors, install molding and trim, lay tile, build a pathway with pavers, build shelves, and much more.
The key here is to research before you start on the best way to go about the project. You’ll find that most projects aren’t that complicated and with a little time and elbow grease, you’ll have a professional finished product. I definitely made some mistakes along the way, but at least it was on my house and I could just go back and fix it.
If you found this article, you obviously know how to use the internet. Make sure and use the incredible wealth of knowledge for honing your handyman skills as well.
I can honestly say that if the internet didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be a handyman because I wouldn’t know where to start. I still use the internet to learn how to do projects for people. I’ve even quoted jobs that I have no experience with because I know I can learn how to do it on the internet with a google search and a couple minutes of time.
This method of training is an absolute must. Even the most experienced handyman can brush up his skills by researching via the internet.
Here are some of the websites that usually provide good handyman how-to information.
Find a Mentor
If you know somebody that already works in construction or is handyman themselves, get a little closer to that person. Offer them some help and ask questions in return. Most people are more than willing to share their knowledge. You just have to ask.
Hopefully you can establish a good enough relationship so that whenever you have a question or problem, you can give them a call.
Even if you don’t know somebody, I’d still recommend trying to find a mentor in the industry. You may be surprised how much information some people are willing to give. It may take some time to find that person that you can build a mentor relationship with, but the time will be well worth it. Some things you just can’t find on the internet.
My Handyman Training
The majority of the skills I use to make money as a handyman I learned while working on my own house. If there was a leak in the sprinkler system, I would dig it up and fix it. When the toilet wouldn’t flush, I’d do a quick google search, read at least 3 different how to’s, and get after it.
My projects weren’t always easy, but I’d eventually figure it out and I’d learn a LOT in the process.
I’ve always enjoyed doing things myself and just naturally built up my problem solving skills to the point where I can fix just about anything. I may need to do some research, buy some tools here and there, but I can make it work.
If somebody asked me to build them a house, obviously I wouldn’t be able to help them. But the truth is, most of the work people ask a handyman to do only requires basic knowledge and the ability to pick up a drill, hammer, or a screw driver.
The ability to problem solve and the passion to work for yourself are the two main components you need to become a handyman. If you already have these skills, I’d recommend you start offering services immediately.
Now, take the first step to starting a handyman business and read Evaluating Your Handyman Skills and Deciding What Services to Offer.