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My Monthly Report – December 2013

Welcome to my December 2013 monthly income report!

2013 is over and I’m now entering my third year in business. (which is kind of mind blowing)

It’s been an interesting and exciting ride with plenty of ups and downs and I’ve certainly upped my handyman business skills since I started.

If you are new to the blog, I write these income reports each month to share my story with the hope to inspire others.  I believe that if you want it bad enough you can make a great living doing something you love and still have time left to enjoy life.

My goal is to not only achieve that for myself, but help others to as well.

In each report, I share anything interesting that happened during the month, marketing tips, and a profitable featured service that you can start offering in your business.  I also share my income and expenses.

Featured Service: Hanging Art

Yes, people pay me to hang their pictures and paintings.  🙂

I always enjoy sharing simple services because I think it shows a side to the handyman business that most wouldn’t expect.  Being a handyman isn’t always about working under a sink and other dirty jobs.  Much of it is actually pretty damn easy work.  Well, that is if you are promoting the right services to the right customers.

Picture hanging is a great example of one such service that is relatively easy.  As a fellow handyman, you might be thinking that it’s ridiculous that people pay to hang pictures.

The truth is, for many people, hanging pictures is outside of their wheelhouse.  Either that, or they don’t have to because they have enough money.  And, in rare cases it’s because the pictures are so damn big that they need to call in a pro.

Here are some pictures of art that I’ve hung for my customers.

Dan Perry next to large paintingGigantic Painting In a Dining Room

Expensive Picture Above BedFamous photograph above a king size bed.

Both art pieces were hung for two of my best customers.  These are the kind of customers that I really respect and who treat me with respect.  These are the customers that make it all worth it.

In both cases I charged hourly to hang these which at the time of writing this is $60/hr.

Quick tips for hanging art.

  • My number one tip is to hang it perfectly.  After all, that’s why they are paying you.  I never rush these types of projects because I always want to make sure it’s perfectly level and centered where they want it.
  • Get their approval on exactly where it’s going to go.  I never hang pictures using my best guess.  I make them approve the location before I get started.
  • Make sure it’s solid.  If you don’t have the correct mounting hardware to hang the art so that an earthquake wouldn’t knock it off, then don’t hang it.  Go to the store and get what you need to do it right.  The horse picture above is a $46,000 photograph. (yes, you read that right)  It would be really shitty if that fell!

Income and Expenses

Income (by lead generation source):

  • Existing Customers:  $2,532.92
  • Online Marketing:  $1,215.00
  • Truck:  $75

Expenses:

  • Direct Job Costs:  $317.82
  • Mileage:  $286.45
  • Phone:  $69.82
  • Insurance:  $94
  • Bank Fees:  $13.78
  • Website Domain:  $14.99

Total Income:       $3,822.92
Total Expenses:   $861.89
Net Income:           $2,961.03  (last month:  $2,997.10)

Billable Hours:  50.5
Income From Labor:  $3,473.32
Average Hourly Rate:  $68.78

I’ve got to admit that I had a bad month.  Typically, I like to shoot for at least $3,500 net income and I’ve been short of that goal for the last 2 months.  Last month I had a good excuse – a 9 day vacation to Hawaii.  This time I don’t have a very good excuse.

So, why such a low income?

Well, there are a couple of reasons (other than only working 3 days a week) but the #1 reason is for my lack of effort, pure and simple.  Not only did I put absolutely zero effort into marketing this month, last month, and the previous 10 months, but I failed at one of the basic requirements for this business.

I didn’t follow up on several leads.  It’s pretty simple, if you don’t want the business bad enough, you’re probably not going to get it and this month was a great example of that.

Even though I had plenty of leads from my website, I simply didn’t get back to many of these potential customers.

I’m not proud of this, but it definitely explains why my income was lower.  Honestly, I just didn’t feel like working.  I’ve been putting all of my creative efforts into crafting excellent content for this website and I just had nothing left to give at the time.

Trying To Find A Balance

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a serious lack of time and I’ve been faced with some tough decisions.  Basically, I’m trying to find a way to be a handyman and keep creating awesome content for this blog.

You see, when I’m not working as a handyman, I’m working on the very website you are reading right now.  I’m writing these articles, creating videos for my upcoming series (coming soon), managing the Handyman Web Academy, attending marketing conferences, and reading up on marketing books.

I actually spend more time on this blog than I do on my handyman business.

Please don’t take this wrong because my intention isn’t too complain.  I choose to do this.

In fact, I love this shit.  I love helping others start or grow their handyman businesses.  I love sharing my story.  I love getting e-mails and comments from my readers saying how much I’ve helped and inspired them.  I love having a purpose.

I do this for you, but I also do it for me.  Eventually, I’d like to make a significant income from this blog.  It is a business after all.

Either way, it’s clear that my life is currently out of balance and I spend too much time working.  Not only that, but I spend too much time doing repetitive tasks that I frankly shouldn’t be doing.

That brings the question:  What am I going to do about it?

I’ve considered selling my handyman business and focusing on the blog.  Then I’ve considered laying off the blog and focusing on my handyman business.

But, I enjoy both of them too much.  Instead of quitting on either one of them, I’ve decided to hire some help and create systems so I can be more effective and get more done in less time.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do that yet, but I believe it’s absolutely critical for my sanity and happiness.  Additionally, I’ve got some really great ideas for Handyman Startup that I will never get to unless I find some help.  Ideas that I know will help you with your handyman business.

Monthly Goals

Last month I had two goals.  Goal #1 was to decide on a service to promote and Goal #2 was to finish up the videos I’ve been promising for the last couple of months.  Unfortunately, I didn’t complete either one.  No big deal though, I’ll just have to keep working on them.

Goals For January

Goal #1:  Complete The Video Training On Online Marketing

I’ve made significant process on the videos, but have struggled to finish them.  This month I’ll definitely get them out there!  I’m so determined to do this that I’m going to make this my only goal.

Have any tips on being more effective and getting more done?  If so, please leave them in the comments below!

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  • corina January 17, 2014

    Hi Dan,

    Just wanted to let you know that I do enjoy reading your blog and have gotten some good ideas from you.

    I handle all the marketing for my husbands handyman company. I do find it difficult trying to fine him an extra person, that is profession, and has good handyman skills. He has been in the business for 1 year now, and is doing very well. But now we are trying to grow the business, and finding it very difficult to find that other person that meet our standards.

    Thank you for all the great information and good luck in the new year.
    Corina

    • Dan Perry January 17, 2014

      Hey Corina,

      Thanks for the comment. I can imagine finding good employees is tough however, that’s a good problem to have! Congrats on your success so far.

  • John January 17, 2014

    Big D,

    I’ve been reading the blog for several months now and been very inspired by the tips as well as the no nonsense fashion in which they are presented. The detail you have provided for free on how to start and run a successful handyman business isn’t to found anywhere else.

    I’m still about 5 years away from starting my own business if all goes to plan as I’ll be wrapping up a career in sales that is already 30 years in the making. I own rental property and look forward to the time when I turn “pro” and can dedicate myself fully to managing my own property as well as operating an income producing handyman business to help prepare me for real retirement in another 10-12 years after that.

    My only concern is that you realize the value of all this free advice and decide to start charging for it (rightfully so) before I’m able to take full advantage of it!

    I know you are trying to decide what to do with both the blog and the business as they both require a sizable time commitment but regardless, even at a price, I hope the blogs lasts for a long time to come.

    Best Wishes,

    John

    • Dan Perry January 17, 2014

      John,

      Thanks so much for the kind words! I hope to be around doing this for many more years and would love to help you start your business when you’re ready. And don’t worry, even when I do start charging for content, it will be because I’m providing even better information. I’ll never stop providing free valuable content.

      Dan

  • MRod January 21, 2014

    Dan when you are talking about getting an employee and talking about starting systems I assume you’re either referring to the last podcast interview with the guy from Denver, OR it was an e-Myth reference.

    Either way. GET THE PARTNER or EMPLOYEE. I can’t imagine having this handyman / remodeling business for the last 4 months without my partner.

    And with my partner we’ve been able to skrim, hold cash back and now look towards hiring our first apprentice employee.

    But your on the right track…gotta get those systems in place.

    Last thing…all you peeps in Handystartup land MUST download this audio book called, “The E-Myth Landscape Contractor”.

    It’s completely related to our business just substitute landscape for handyman business.

    http://www.audible.com/pd/Business/The-E-Myth-Landscape-Contractor-Audiobook/B00HES40V6

    Happy trails,
    MRod
    BelleCreek Handymen LLC

    • Dan Perry January 22, 2014

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve heard of the E-Myth before but not this version of it. I’ll be sure to check it out!

  • Boris January 24, 2014

    Hey Dan,

    By all means, do not give up either gig. The fact that you get your hands dirty on real projects gives you the authority that your readers expect.

    Here are a couple of suggestions.

    Do all your site visits and estimates on a single day of the week.

    Bring on a part time assistant and get them trained really well on some of the more common jobs/tasks. Once that person is up to snuff you can keep them on at $20 an hour and you pocket the difference from the $68 per hour.

    This will give you more time on the website while you continue to grow the handy part of the biz.

    Best and keep the articles coming. I like when you detail out some of the projects you work on. Such as the picture hanging in this article.

    Thanks

    • Dan Perry January 24, 2014

      Boris,

      Thanks, man. I appreciate the hearing your thoughts on this. It’s definitely something I’m struggling with and I think your right. I need to hire some help.

      I’ll be sure to keep talking about jobs I do, too!

      Dan

  • Jeff Cavender January 25, 2014

    Dan,

    I have read your blog on and off for the last few months and every time I have browsed your posts, I am impressed about your honesty, advice, and ability to review your prior jobs to see where you could have improved or approached your job differently.

    Although I am not a handyman (I have been doing insurance sales since 2008) I still find your content very valuable with your approach to your customers and the type of service they should receive, which in turn gives you the long-term relationship based on high-quality work and trust (which gets you paid!!).

    In any job, it is easy to get caught up with things that may take time away from what you are trying to appomplish. We have all had times in our lives when it feels like we are being pulled in a hundred different directions or when a single task becomes the most important thing in the world and we only focus on the one task versus the many other things that are going on.

    It is important to keep perspective on why you are doing the work instead of what you are doing. I focus on keeping as organized as possible, finding a routine that works, and don’t be afraid to take a break to keep you from getting burned out.

    Thanks again for the good info and insight and hope you have a very successful 2014!

    Best regards,
    Jeff Cavender
    Boise, Idaho

  • Miguel Payan January 30, 2014

    Big D,

    Always love your monthly reports. And the Featured Service aspect is great. I always like hearing about what is working for the other guys.

    Question: How do you define “billable hours”?

    Thanks!

    M

    • Dan Perry February 1, 2014

      Billable hours are considered the time that I’m actually at the customer’s house or shopping for supplies. It does not include answering the phone, going to the bank, invoicing, accounting, managing my tools and cleaning my truck, and all the other time commitments of running my operation.

  • Jeff Michaels February 14, 2014

    Dan,

    Thanks for all the wonderful advice! I left an office job last month and have started my handyman business in a ski resort town that already is saturated with builders. Strangely, not one company or person lists themselves under “handyman” in the phonebook or online. They prefer to be identified as “home improvement” or contractors. I’m still waiting on business cards, mailers, and finishing my web site before I really start pushing it. I do have 15 years in the construction trade and have always been building something on the weekends. Through word of mouth, I already scored a big gig that is a 3 week project, but had to come down on my price to get the job. I want to charge $50 an hour when I start but dropped my price to $35 an hour for this painting job. I was told my price was in the middle of the bids received. They said the high bid was WAY to high and the low bid was close to mine but they thought maybe he didn’t understand the full scope of the work. The lesson here is not to be too low! What are your thoughts on taking on larger jobs? I see it as a blessing and a curse. It’s guaranteed work but you’re unable to accept new jobs, potentially driving away new life long clients.

    Thanks for everything!
    Jeff

    • Dan Perry February 16, 2014

      Hey Jeff,

      Your welcome! That’s great that you’ve already landing a big job.

      As far as big jobs go, I think they are best for contractor’s who have hired help to do them faster. Otherwise, like you said, you can get caught up on a single project that keeps you from getting the smaller ones. However, you could always work your schedule so that you leave one day/week for small jobs.

      Personally, I like to stick to small jobs because I dedicate a lot of my time to this blog and it’s just too stressful when I have to take on larger projects.

      Thanks for the comment and I’m glad to hear you’re having success!

      Dan

  • Gonzalo February 23, 2014

    Good Morning, I recently heard you on January’s OSR podcast and enjoyed it. I was wondering if you would share some info regrading client visits with your handyman business. I’m having trouble keeping track of time and fees. Again, I appreciate the interview and hope to continue seeing great stuff on this website. Thanks

    • Dan Perry February 26, 2014

      Will do, Gonzalo!

  • South Surrey Handyman March 29, 2014

    Hi Dan,

    I just read you rant and trust me I am in the same boat, I just had my second kid in January and i am trying to run my business. Trying to find the time to work and do all the office work is nearly impossible especially when you are only getting 4 hours of sleep and your the only employee. But I can tell you something knowing that their are other people in the same situation is always comforting. I want to be able to be MR.MOM and make money doing what i love. I have a lot of learning to do and you have help me though this website. So I thank you.

    • Dan Perry March 30, 2014

      You’re welcome! I love the passion. Keep working at it because it’s definitely worth it.

      Dan

  • Hi Dan,
    I have a couple businesses as well. And I struggle to keep up on everything that needs to be done. Who are you using to get systems in place? Through you I found EMyth. The also have an EMyth contractors book, and online training.

    • Dan Perry April 1, 2014

      I’m not using anybody to get my systems in place, but that’s probably why they still suck! Lol.

      But really, I’m just evaluating my business and making changes as necessary. For example, I just recently hired a bookkeeper because I don’t enjoy that stuff. My next system I’d like to put into place is somebody to answer my phone and reply to customer support. Those are the two things I enjoy the least about my business that take up significant time.

      I think it really just comes down to evaluating your time and systematically addressing different aspects of your business. If something bothers you or wastes time, see if you can outsource it, batch it, or eliminate it.

      What do you think of the E-Myth?

      • Jess Zol May 26, 2016

        Hi Dan,
        I work for a company called Dispatch, and we have a desktop and mobile application to keep track of appointments, technicians, and costs in the field and in the office. A lot of home service providers use us to make it easier to track efficiency, and see where they can improve their process to better run their business. I think this app would be really beneficial to you and your blog readers, and if you want more info, feel free to check us out at http://www.dispatch.me/. A lot of our customers have seen a large increase in profits. Just a suggestion, but I really do recommend looking into it.

  • Heather Rees April 10, 2014

    Hi Dan,
    Just a quick little note to tell you that your website and advise was what FINALLY convinced my husband to go ahead with starting his Handyman business (after MANY years of throwing the idea around). After being on unemployment for a year and spending another 5 months trying to find a job in a VERY deflated area, and after reading a lot of your literature, he is now in his 2nd month of business and is super busy! Last month was his starting month and from day 1 of hitting the streets to get word out there he has been completely busy! only 17 working days in March and he brought in over $1,900.00 (after expenses)! I just wanted to give you a shout out to let you know that your advice and detailed information has completely changed our lives. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.
    -Heather

    • Dan Perry April 10, 2014

      Wow, Heather! Thanks so much for sharing this with me. You totally made my day and I’m so happy to hear that he is doing well and making great money already.

      Thanks and enjoy the rewards! You deserve it.

      Dan

  • Warren April 27, 2014

    Hello Dan,
    I started my handyman business in 2001. The need for larger projects turned into me obtaining my contracting license in 2005. We still perform a wide array of Handyman Services on top of our remodel work. Usually the smaller projects lead into bigger projects which has been helpful in growing the business. I am not tech savy so our online presence is not very large and I spend most of my time working in the business rather than on it. I have a vast knowledge in this industry but have hit a wall professionally. Your site has given me some ideas to grow and has been a breath of fresh air. Keep going!

    • Dan Perry April 29, 2014

      That’s awesome to hear, Warren. Thanks for sharing that!

  • Guy July 28, 2014

    Cheers Dan. Good positive stuff! Being more effective and getting more done? Tip for effectiveness – when visiting/chatting/quoting for a job talk through in detail what’s wanted and how you intend on doing it – this helps you to know exactly what’s wanted and helps you mentally consider effort and materials required ultimately resulting in customer getting what they want and you quoting accurately. Tip for productivity – avoid multiple visits if possible eg use rapid set filler in fixing holes in plasterboard – if you’re not working be letterbox dropping. Bonus tip – a4 paper cut in 5 with “[location] Handyman [price] [mobile number]” will get you more calls than business cards in letterboxes. Get to the top of Google when people search for “[Location] Handyman” for free through Google Local Business – Google it! Get 250 free business cards at vistaprint… Over and over again… I’ve got too much work so have just raised my prices by 50% and I’ve just stopped quoting hourly rates, just price including labor and materials. AU$365 for fixing hole in plasterboard wall! I can’t believe the money can be this good, why didn’t I moonlight years ago!?

  • Max September 24, 2014

    Have you stopped the income reports now it’s 2014?

    • Dan Perry September 24, 2014

      As of now I have stopped publishing income reports, but I will continue to share my knowledge and business insights in other formats.

  • Cody December 26, 2014

    Hi Dan. I was just wondering if you still update things on the site. I see on your site you have somethings marked as coming soon still and was just wondering.

    • Dan Perry December 26, 2014

      Hi Cody,

      Yes, I still update the site I just don’t do the income reports anymore. It’s been a few weeks since I posted a new blog or podcast, but that’s because I’m in the middle of doing some planning to figure out my next move and the direction I’m planning to take with this blog.

      Hope you are having a great holiday season!

      Dan

      • Cody December 27, 2014

        Ok great. Were you still coming out the with Handyman ultimate pricing guide soon?

        • Dan Perry January 1, 2015

          Yep, it’s in the works!

  • Derek Mills April 23, 2015

    Was reading many of the blogs on this site. I have been in business since 2003 are past two yrs have been over 300K in revenue. My biggest challenge is more work than we can handle. I have 2 employees one with minimial skills the other average skills. Finding talented help is the biggest challenge. The demand is forcing us to grow larger. The business is broken down in three divisions, #1 Handyman side areas of concentration; Bath remoldel, painting, trim/doors and finish work, decks, garage doors. #2 lawn care (this was added 2ys ago and is growing) #3 since we are in the north is snow removal (this was added 5yrs ago and is stable in income not wanting to expand) Again the biggest challenge is finding skilled workers. Any advise is greatly appreciated.

    • Dan Perry April 29, 2015

      Hi Derek,

      Chuck Solomon is a good person to talk to for trying to hire good talent. Not my expertise unfortunately.

  • Tiffanie May 21, 2015

    Thanks so much for sharing this blog. My boyfriend is in the process of going out on his own and your blog has been great research for getting started. I truly appreciate your insite. I pray that business is going well for you. Thanks again!

  • Tyler Hansen September 22, 2015

    Hey Dan.

    I have been listening to your podcast for 2-3months now. I started my painting business about six months ago. And have been trying to really get a hold of how to price jobs and get new leads. I have to say your podcast really helps me. I actually listen to it while I work lol. But I really liked the episode when you had the painting contractor come on. And he gave the tip of offering life time free touch ups. And marketing advice. Please keep it up. Really helps me.

    Thanks
    Tyler

    • Dan Perry September 22, 2015

      Thanks for letting me know, Tyler! I’m considering starting my podcast up again and you might just see some more episodes in the near future.

  • Jack Timmons February 27, 2016

    Marketing is essential to the handyman business if you want to see any kind of growth but effective marketing strategies have to be developed and tweaked to perform to lifestyle and the vision of the company and many will fail and some will make it. Definitely agree that specialising in a few area’s is more profitable but it all depends on the approach and the effort and desire to succeed and I have been a handyman service in Salt Lake City for a few years now and since implementing online marketing my profits went through the roof and I really owe appreciation for the majority of my client base to a fantastic platform for professionals Thumbtack.com I received their best of 2015 award and with minimal marketing efforts seemed to have tapped into a very low competition business and I am going forward with licensing and equipment procurement and supply as well as logo design and development for my business to stand out.

  • Adrienne August 30, 2016

    I just love your site Dan…Very very encourage…I came here for your review on Google Voice and stayed for all the great advice and resources…We aren’t in the same business industry, however, you are so encouraging and inspiring…I’ve been wanting to work for myself forever (okay not that long, but it sure does seem that way) and it’s been fear, other people’s opinion and what I thought really mattered, lack of formal education…I’ve started a few businesses and am now on my third and final venture…I think, no I believe, I am on to something..For once I have the desire, the drive and although I don’t have a “formal education”, I’ve taken advantage of MOOCs and just plain ole studying, reading and testing myself – which I believe they call: self-taught…I’m loving it…Got my first client…And boy does it feel good…

    I say all that to say, thanks Dan Perry…You are awesome…I’ll be visiting again…I find your site so encouraging…And I will be listing you as a resource on my own website. Thanks for sharing your experience…It’s very powerful…

    Much success to you kind sir!
    Adrienne

    • Dan Perry August 31, 2016

      You’re welcome Adrienne, and thank you for the awesome comment. It sounds like you have the motivation to build a great business for yourself. And as far as being self-taught, that’s the best way of really learning. Keep up the good work!

  • Rob Furlow September 13, 2016

    You blog is excellent. I have an issue that can happen and perhaps you can address. I know this may be a legal question but,
    I did handyman work 3 1/2 months ago (all in FL.) It was essentially a complete get it ready to rent rehab on a rental property for an investor (who was short on funds.) I agreed to accept $100/day + other expenses, with payments to begin as soon as it rented (all verbal but witnessed.) 19 days total- $400 was paid at completion, $1,500 remaining. The investor has dragged this out for over 3 months without getting it rented. Turns out they were trying for Section 8 and now some other government housing funding where the rent is guaranteed for 1 year.
    I imagine I blew it by being too trusting, not having a written contract and letting more than 90 days pass. I am looking for some “general” guidance here.
    What recourse does a handyman have?

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