Learn How To Start Or Grow A Handyman Business
Handyman Startup Logo

My Monthly Report – August 2013

Welcome to my monthly income report!

If you’re a new reader of the Handyman Startup Blog, here’s what my income reports are all about.

At the end of each month, I gather all of my income and expense data to include in these reports. I include information like how much money I made, how much it cost me to make that money, and where I got my customers. I also share a ton of insight, tips, and lessons learned along the way to help you with your business.

So, if you run a home service business, there is sure to be some valuable insight to be gained!  I’m so open and share all of this because I want to help you (or somebody you might know) get more customers, make more money, and most importantly, enjoy what you do. 

Here’s what I’ll discuss in this month’s report:

  • Super-customers and what they mean to your business.
  • Featured Service:  Honey-do lists.
  • The results from tracking all of my time for the month.
  • An update on my new video course.

Super-Customers?

Chances are that if you’ve been running your handyman business for a while now, you’ve attained a couple of super-customers.

What’s a super-customer?

It’s the term I’ve given to my best customers.  These customers consistently hire me, never even worry about price, are extremely appreciative, easy to work for, and always pay on time.  These are the customers provide me with the most income and they will be receiving a Christmas card from me this year.

Ever since I started my handyman business almost 2 years ago I’ve gained about 8 of these customers, one of which has provided me with over $15,000 in small jobs in the last year.

One of my favorite things about my super-customers is that price is not even an issue.  They just call me up, have me do the work, and I bill them.  I literally don’t even have to give them an estimate before I start.  It makes it so easy!

They TRUST me, and that’s the most important thing that I need to nourish in order to keep their business.

Trust is the reason they hired me in the first place, and my honesty and professionalism is what has kept that trust.  They trust me that I’ll do good work and be fair and consistent with my pricing.  They also trust me to be in their home when their not even there.  They trust that I have their best interests in mind.

I can’t say exactly how much of my income comes from these super-customers, but it is certainly a significant portion.  They are a critical part of my business.  This month alone, they accounted for $1,500 in income.  That may not sound like a lot, but knowing that they are likely to account for at least that amount next month is very comforting.

So how can you get super-customers?

The first question you should ask is “where can I find them?”   Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where you’ll find yours because they can be found anywhere.  They could see your truck while you’re working down the street, they could be a lead provided by a lead generation company, or they could be from a referral.

Me.  I’ve gained most of mine through my website.

Once you have found one (which you won’t know until much later than the first job), you need to keep them.  The cool thing is that this isn’t very hard to do.  It’s usually just a matter of doing what you say you are going to do and doing it well.  All of the principles of building trust and relationships apply.

Super-customers are a not uncommon either.  They are simply a result of providing a good service.  Once you find them, they will be loyal to you as long as keep their trust.  If you haven’t yet found your super-customers, don’t worry, it’s just a matter of time.

Featured Service:  Honey-Do Lists

Here is a service that I didn’t expect to be hired for very often, but has ended up being one of my top income generating services that I provide.  It’s also what most of my super-customers usually hire me for.

A Honey-Do List typically consists of jobs like hanging pictures, fixing doors, touching up paint, caulking, hanging shelves, and several other really simple repairs that just take time.  I would have never thought that people would actually pay somebody else to go around and hang pictures, but they do.

Honey-Do lists are a good service to provide for a couple of reasons.

  1. Quality clients.  Most clients that hire me for this type of service have money.  More money than most homeowners I service.  Unlike customers who hire you to repair something they don’t know how to repair or build something they don’t how to build, these customers are willing to pay you to do things they don’t want to do.  Can they do it?  Sure, they just have enough money so they don’t have to.
    Not only do these customers have money, but they typically call you back again and again because there are always things to fix, install, or build around the home.
  2. It’s easy work.  Hanging pictures, touching up some paint, and fixing little dinky things around the house is pretty easy compared to larger projects.
  3. Little experience necessary.  This is good if you are just started out or if you are looking to hire employees for your handyman business.  Since the work is low risk and not very complicated, just about anybody can do it as long as they have good customer service.

Whenever a customer is looking for this type of work, I always charge hourly.  Trying to sit there and estimate how long everything will take and quote each little aspect of the job is ridiculous.  Not only that, it’s almost impossible to estimate and you’ll either rip off the customer, or rip yourself off.

The downside of this type of service is that you don’t really know how long it is going to take and it could end up leaving holes in your schedule.

If a customer says they have enough work for you to be there all day and you end up finishing in 3 hours, that’s a lot of wasted time you could have scheduled somebody else.  This is something that has happened to me several times and I still haven’t settled on a good solution.

(If you’ve got a solution to this problem, let me know in the comments!  I’d really appreciate it.)

Tips for success:

  1. Charge hourly.  As I said earlier, it’s not worth the time estimating and you will get it wrong anyway.
  2. Work efficiently.  You don’t have to be running around in a hurry, but leisurely working and taking a ton of breaks will lose your customers fast.
  3. Prioritize.  Ask the customer what is the most important thing they want done.  Do that first.

If you aren’t already offering fix-it lists or honey-do lists as one of your services, I recommend doing so.  It will bring you high quality customers, it’s easy work, and it can be very profitable.

Income and Expenses:

Income:

  • Existing Customers:  $2,386.09
  • Online Marketing:  $2,884.00 (This is from leads generated by my handyman business website.  Click here to learn how)

Expenses:

  • Direct job costs:  $771.27
  • Mileage:  $274.03
  • Phone:  $69.82
  • Insurance:  $94
  • Tools:  $25.03
  • Bank Fees:  $21.49
  • Business License Fees:  $210

Total Income:  $5,490.49
Total Expenses:  $1,465.64
Net Profit:            $4,024.85 (last month:  $2,673.98)

Billable hours:  72
Income From Labor:  $4,642.09
Average Hourly Rate (billable):  $64.47

Overall, August was a pretty good month.  I increased my income from last month by about $1,400 and maintained an hourly rate of over $60.  Every month, I aim to hit at least $60/hour, so this is right about where I want to be for right now.

Taking a look at the income numbers you can see that the majority of my business came from my online marketing.  Typically, my existing customers provide me with the majority of my business, but this month I generated almost $3,ooo from my online marketing!  Not to bad considering I haven’t been putting any effort into it since January of this year.

I really can’t stress the importance of internet marketing for small business enough.  It has been the one thing that has allowed me to grow my business since I started.

If I didn’t build my website the right way and put some serious effort into my online marketing, I wouldn’t be in business right now. Period.  When I first started my business I put a ton of time into learning how to use the internet to effectively get customers.  It wasn’t easy to sift through all the bullshit to find what actually works, but as you can see the effort was well worth it.

An inside look at my schedule:

This month, I painstakingly tracked all of my hours.  Not just the hours I worked for customers, but the hours that I spent shopping, quoting, researching, accounting, driving, answering the phone, packing my truck, and all of the other things that go along with this business.  Here are the numbers below.

Additional Hours:  29.25
Billable Hours:  72
Total Hours:  101.25
Average Hourly Rate:  $45.85

I spent almost 30 hours this month just running the business.  That means that 29% of the time I worked on my business I wasn’t actually being paid.  That’s a lot of time.

This additional time to run the business should help demonstrate the importance of charging a decent hourly rate.  As you can see above, when I include the additional hours I work when calculating my average rate, it only comes out to $45.85.

And, I’m pretty efficient in the way I run my business as you probably learned from my last podcast.  I try to spend as little time as possible doing things in my business that don’t directly lead to income.

It’s important to keep in mind that I only tracked my hours for 1 month so this isn’t necessarily how it is every month.  However, I do think it is a fairly accurate estimate.  If I had to guess, my non-billable hours typically make up about 20-40% of the total time I spend on my business.

The below images show my schedule for 2 weeks of this month.  The green is the total time worked each day.  The red parts are the billable hours.

example schedule 8-11-13Example Schedule:  Week of August 12 2013

handyman business schedule 8-18-13Example Schedule:  Week of August 19 2013

Monthly Goals

Last month I set the goal to complete my new Handyman Web Academy course.  I did it, but it wasn’t easy.  Trying to find the time in between working as a handyman, a wedding that I was part of, and just life in general isn’t very easy.  There were a lot of late nights working on it after I’d get home when all I wanted to do was relax and watch TV.  But, I powered through it and got it done.

And, I’ve officially set a launch date of October 1, 2013!  I’m really excited because this will be a game changer for many of you who are looking to grow or start your business.

The course is all about helping you build a website (the right way), get to the first page in google, and essentially get quality customers online.

I’ve seen way to many handyman business websites doing it wrong and wondering why it isn’t working for them.  They’ll build their site on platforms that limit them and lock them into contracts, not put the right content on the site, along with several other mistakes.

I want to help you avoid those mistakes and actually get results from you website so you can sit back and watch the phone calls come in.

That being said, I have two goals for this month.

Goal #1:   Launch the Handyman Web Academy on October 1, 2013

Goal #2:  Put on a FREE webinar on how to attract quality customers online.

>>>Click Here to check it out!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome month!

STOP Making These Mistakes...
FREE REPORT REVEALS:

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

Learn why some handyman businesses THRIVE while others STRUGGLE.
  • Jim Huffman September 11, 2013

    Hey big d . Good work on your blog. I fill gaps in my schedule in 2 ways. 1) simply by asking customers when I book them out a week or so, that if I happen to finish something early or if I get rained out before their scheduled day would they like me to call them and possibly just pop over and do the job sooner? They always say ” of course..” 2) I also have a lot of super customers who just say “whenever you can get to it it’s not a rush”. I have and keep a list of small jobs where I can just show up or call in route and fill gaps. Prolly have 8 different customers on current list today.
    So if I feel like I want to keep working that day, I always have some pop ins or move booked out people up on schedule. My work hours are M-Th 10-4 and Friday is administration day. Try to get 24 billable hours in. Thx again Jim

    • Dan Perry September 11, 2013

      Thanks for the idea, Jim! Do you charge less for this list of fill in the gap jobs?

      • Jim September 20, 2013

        Nope, they are usually my best customers who don’t worry about price.

  • Bill September 11, 2013

    Hi Big D, when I worked at company as a plumber some commercial accounts would have a maintenance day where they would have one plumber come out and drain clean several of the most used lines and then tackle any misc. repairs to fixtures that may need done, the company would set it up as a flat rate for the day, regardless of if it took 3 to 10 hrs. They charged for $1000 this service, and most of the time it we would be done in 4.5 hrs. They came up with the number based on commission rate of the plumber @ 30% and the daily goal of the plumber to clear 300 a day from commissions. So I would pick what your goal for a day is and set it up as your flat rate for some one who wants to secure you for a day. That way you cover your nut for the day and then you could handle some emergency calls if you finish early or try to fit some one in early if you schedule yourself out. Or go fishing.

    • Dan Perry September 11, 2013

      That’s a great idea. I mean, is somebody thinks it’s going to take the whole day they are probably ready to pay $400-$500. I would feel like I’m ripping them off a little bit, but at the same time, they are screwing me out of income. I’ll have to think about this a little more.

      Thanks!

      • Jim September 20, 2013

        Don’t ever feel like your screwing someone if things don’t take as long as “they” thought. You are being paid for your expertise as well as your time.

  • Terry September 11, 2013

    Hey Big D,

    I have started my own flat rate book with job task descriptions, time required, materials needed, etc. Maybe if you sit down and thought about the menial tasks of honey-doo lists, you could come up with a similar idea, and that would save you time in quoting. I have come to the conclusion that flat rate pricing is the way to go in most cases.

    Are you just now starting to see that there’s a big difference in billable hrs. vs. non-billable? All these are overhead, direct, or indirect, and I’m considering refiguring my hourly rate to compensate for this instead of simply adding a certain percentage for overhead after tallying the quote, which is what I have been doing.

    I save T&M billing for service work on old homes where you have no idea what you’ll run into behind covered walls.

    Just some thoughts.

    • Dan Perry September 12, 2013

      Terry,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One thing I love about this blog is that not only do I get to share my knowledge, but others have helped me out a lot, too. So I really appreciate the tips.

      I’ve also considered putting together a list of jobs with flat rate pricing attached. Seems like it could be a really good idea if you can dedicate some time to it. I’d be interested in learning how that works out for you so keep me posted.

      As far as billable vs non-billable, I’ve always understood that I spend a significant amount of time doing other things. Last month Dwain (one of my readers) asked that I share a more in depth view of my schedule so I decided to track all of the non-billable hours as well.

      Big D

    • Jeff October 11, 2013

      Is this a product you can share. I would like to model it with the tasks I do for preparing vacant apartments for occupancy as well as service requests. Thanks.

  • Terry September 11, 2013

    BTW, Dan, I just looked at your website; it’s awesome.
    Quick question though, have you taken on employees? I noticed that you used “we”, and “us” in several of your articles, and was wondering if it was a tactic or if you actually had partners, etc.

    Terry

    • Dan Perry September 12, 2013

      I’m still working solo!

      I wrote all of that copy way back when I started and thought it was a good idea to sound bigger than I really am. My thoughts were that it would help gain some credibility with potential customers. In some cases it has worked, too.

  • Kenny September 12, 2013

    For my “honey do” list items I will usually ask the customer to compile a list and email it to me a few days out or call me with it for ones who do not email “so I can have the correct tools and supplies with me.” I will usually estimate a generous amount of time or for assembling furniture, etc i will look up the time estimate online to budget my time.

    • Dan Perry September 12, 2013

      Great tips!

  • Ron September 12, 2013

    Hey D ,
    Great info as always, been in buisness less than 6 months with one super customer. She calls me on a regular basis with a list of items that need to be done. A small xmas gift is a great idea for super customers. Also I offer a Honey Do service to my customers and it is picking up well. I have a $75 dollar minium to come out ,so I tell the customer to make sure i have a list of items to complete.

    • Dan Perry September 12, 2013

      Thanks Ron. I also have a $75 minimum to come out and make sure to let my customers know to have a list of things to get done so they always get a good value.

  • Dean September 13, 2013

    Really good stuff Big D. Thanks for taking the time to share it all !
    I’m only about 4 months into it from launching the business and fortunately have done
    mostly smaller jobs so i haven’t had to eat much of my mistakes in flat rate
    estimates.
    The hourly rate jobs (T & M) if you can get them are a no lose way to go for newbees and the customer gets a fair shake too.
    Estimating the time to do a job seems to be my weak point and i’m pretty efficient on the job.
    So far all my customers are very happy with the work and deal they got and i have learned this from follow up calls usually a couple weeks later.

    No super customers yet but they will come in time.

    • Dan Perry September 13, 2013

      I like that you are charging T&M as a beginner. I wish I would have realized how badly I would mess up my quotes when I first started. Could have saved a lot of cash! Charging hourly is a great way to gain experience while still making good money.

  • Ken September 13, 2013

    D,
    Just found your website and gotta say love it! As a small business owner in the handyman service industry for the past 12 years i can tell you the one thing that will make a huge difference in your co and everyone who does this for i living. Always (ALWAYS) call your customers back. a return phone call will make a huge difference with a customer even if it’s for a job that you don’t provided a service for.

    • Dan Perry September 13, 2013

      Totally agree, thanks for the tip, Ken!

  • Gavin September 17, 2013

    Hi Big D

    I’ve just found your website and have to say I’m impressed that you have the time to do all your handyman work, the admin and write a blog. I have been running my handyman business in London for almost a year now and find it really difficult to get everything done in a day.

    One question I haven’t yet found the answer to is – do you use a van? I really need to get one, not only to stop using the family car for jobs, but also to store some of the equipment which is now taking up space in my small flat. Do you have one and do you find that it helps with the brand awareness having it all logoed up?

    Thanks

    Hubby2hire Handyman

    • Dan Perry September 17, 2013

      Gavin,

      It’s definitely not easy to balance between the blog and my handyman business. I have to be very critical about which customers I work with and which jobs I take.

      No, I don’t use a van. My work truck is a 2006 Nissan Titan King cab with a toolbox in the bed. It works out well for me and the graphics that I put on it get a lot of great feedback.

      Thanks for commenting, keep in touch!

  • David September 23, 2013

    Hey Big D, just wanted to drop you a line and say THANKS for your amazing blog. We launched two businesses in the past month that I would consider low-tech in today’s high-tech world. Since then I’ve been looking for less than high-tech companies to partner with and give many, many more people a chance to explore entrepreneurship on their own terms. This site is EXACTLY what I was looking for and you do a great job with what you’re doing. If you get a chance, check out our first blog post at startupssimplified.com. I’d love to do something with you in the future to help both of our ventures.

    • Dan Perry September 24, 2013

      Your welcome, David! Thanks for the comment and keep in touch.

Speak Your Mind