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My Monthly Report – February 2012

Each Month I’ll be writing a post that discusses how my handyman business is doing.  In these monthly reports, I’ll first explain the events that took place during the last 30 days and whether or not I hit my goals that I set the previous month.  Then, I’ll expose all the details of my income and expenses.  Lastly, I’ll end the post by discussing what my plans and goals are for the following month.

I’m sharing this for several reasons:

  • I want to help anybody looking to start a handyman business to understand what to expect financially.  I remember when I was first considering starting a handyman business, my primary questions were “how much can I make and how much will it cost to start?”  Well, it turns out I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m definitely learning a lot each month.
  • It’s a great way to track my progress and keep myself accountable.  If you read my post, 5 Steps to Ensure Success, I mention how important it is to share your goals with others.  Setting goals has helped to motivate me and I’d recommend it if your aren’t already.
  • Provide valuable and insightful details on running a successful handyman business.

 

Events and Accomplishments

February 2012, my third month in business, was a great month.  It was the first month in which my goals were to actually make some money instead of just setting up the details.  It was the true test of whether or not I am going to be successful in this business.  The month started out great with a few jobs right off the bat, but then things slowed way down.  Despite my best marketing efforts, I went a full week in the middle of the month without a single job!  However, the last week of the month I averaged about 2 calls a day and was almost booked solid.  I stumbled accross some interesting events that definitely have brightened my view of the future as a handyman

February’s Goals Reviewed

The first and most important goal for the month was to net $1,000.  Actual net profit:  $758.99.  Although I didn’t hit this goal, I’m considering this a great success.  Setting this goal and posting it on this blog was one of the most motivating things I’ve ever done.  I was so driven to achieve this goal that it really helped me get over a few personal fears that I had.  I didn’t take my sights off the target at any point during the month and because of this, I achieved more than I would have otherwise.

The second goal was to gain three quality customers.  This took some effort but I ended up building 5 relationships that I feel will result in future profits.  The best relationship that I built was with a local moving company.  I helped them repair a door they had damaged while moving furniture.  My uniform (a polo with my logo and a hat with my logo) and the fact that I actually answered my phone really sold my business to them.  Just last week the owner of the company recommended me to an older couple that just moved to my area.  They basically handed me a customer.  Awesome.

My third goal was to get my accounting in order for under $300.  This was easy.  I figured I didn’t need a high end accountant so took a recommendation from a friend.  The accountant I chose showed me how to use my accounting software and did my taxes for 2011 for only $125!  The software I purchased was $99 for a total of $224.  Not too bad.

My fourth goal was to do a muscle-up in Crossfit.  I put in a strong effort, but am still unable to complete one.  It’s alright because I enjoyed the challenge of trying.  Hopefully I’ll get one this month.

Flyers

In the mad dash to net $1,000 this month, I decided to print out some flyers and put them on potential customers cars at Lowe’s and Home Depot.  It was a huge failure as I didn’t gain a single customer with the 200 flyers that I handed out.  I also managed to get kicked out of the Lowe’s parking lot.  Apparently they don’t allow that kind of advertising.  hehe

Door to Door Sales

It snowed here the other day so I came up with the brilliant idea of going door to door and offering snow removal!  That’s dedication that I just wouldn’t have had without setting the $1,000 goal.  I’ve never done door to door sales before and it sucked every bit as bad as I thought it would.  One older lady did hire me and I ended up making $20.  I gave her my card and who knows, maybe she’ll call me for some services down the road.

I’d say this is a pretty good strategy for making money if you don’t have any business.  I knocked on 10 doors, four people answered, and one person hired me.  Dedicate an entire day to this and you could bring in a pretty healthy income.

CrossFit Gym Trade Agreement

The CrossFit gym that I go to looked like it needed a little work.  I approached the owner and offered to trade my services for my membership fees.  He agreed and I now have a regular customer.  I thought this was a good idea for a couple of reasons.  One, I don’t have to pay for a gym membership and two, I get to showcase my handyman skills to all of the gym members.  The owner of the gym has a good relationship with it’s members and will recommend my services if I do good work for him.  So far no new customers from this yet, but I think it will pay off in the future.

 

Income and Expenses

Income:

  • Existing Customers:  $0
  • Craigslist Leads:  $465
  • Service Magic Leads:  $637.50
  • Google Places: $350
  • Door to Door: $20
  • Flyers: $0
  • Gym: $150

Expenses:

  • Materials: $296.36
  • Accounting: $224
  • Magazine/books: $38.16
  • Advertising: $47.05
  • Vehicle Mileage: $245.87
  • Meals: $12.07

Total Income: $1622.50
Total Expenses: $863.51
Net Profit: $758.99

Taking a look at the income section, the largest contributor was from customers gained through ServiceMagic.  If you aren’t familiar with ServiceMagic, here’s how it works.  A customer goes to servicemagic.com and fills out their personal information and information on the project they need done.  ServiceMagic then sends this information out to three qualified contractors or handymen.  The contractor or handyman can then call this customer and sell them their services.  ServiceMagic makes their money by charging the service providers on a per lead basis.

This is a great service if you are just getting started out, but I wouldn’t base your entire marketing plan on this.  Focus on your own website for long term success.

The income stream that I am the happiest about is the google places income.  If you don’t have a google places account, go set one up right now!  The $350 that I made was from customers typing in certain keywords into the search engines and my handyman business profile showed up.  For absolutely no charge (other than my time to setup the profile), I gained 2 quality customers.  I’ll definitely dedicate a post to how to optimize your google places profile in the near future, so keep a look out for that.

 

Next Month’s Goals

Goal #1:  Total Income of at least $4,000 for the month of March

Almost all of my february income was from the last week of the month.  I currently have jobs scheduled for a total of about $1,500 for the first week of march.  If I can keep this pace up, I should crush the goal.  Also, please note that this is total income and not net profit like I did last month.  I want to focus on total income because it leaves my expenses out of the equation.  Otherwise, I tend to limit my spending on things that could improve my business just to meet a monthly goal.  I need to keep my long term goals in mind as well.

Goal #2:  Make 3 efficiency improvements 

I like running a handyman business, but I don’t want it to take all of my time.  I plan on evaluated some of the processes that I perform on a daily basis and figure out how to be just as effective, while spending less time doing them.

Goal #3:  Get my truck tatted up.

Right now I’m driving an unmarked vehicle.  My goal is to get some die cut vinyl stickers pasted all over my truck to help promote my business.  I’ve been putting this off for a while so I’m making it my goal.  Now I have to do it.  However, this means I need to stop driving like an a**hole.

 

Some Last Words

So far, I absolutely love owning my own handyman business.  I’m making much less money than I did as a mechanical engineer, but I  truly enjoy the work.  Sometimes it can be tough when you’re phone isn’t ringing and you don’t have any jobs, but it is still so worth it. Everyday I get up and and get to spend time on what I think it necessary and not what my boss thinks is necessary.  If you are thinking of starting your own handyman business, I highly recommend it!

To anybody that actually reads this stuff.  THANKYOU.  I hope it is providing you with valuable insights that you can use to improve your handyman business.  If there is anything else you would like to know, please post a comment with your questions.  I’d me more than happy to help you out.

Big D.

 

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  • Cole March 7, 2012

    How many hours do you think you put in to earning $1622.50? And not just construction time, but also time advertising, accounting, driving, buying materials… Just curious, that’s also a great number to have to you know not only how much time you’re putting in, but also what your time is currently worth. When you know what your time is worth you pass up jobs that may not be worth it.

    • Big D March 7, 2012

      That’s a really good question. I have to admit that I haven’t been tracking the amount of time that I spend on my handyman business very thoroughly. If I had to estimate, I would say an average of about 2-3 hours/day, 5 days/week was spent on tasks such as marketing, accounting, and just setting things up. As far as purchasing materials and drive time, I work that into my quotes to ensure I’m making a reasonable amount of money on each job. I’d estimate that I worked a total of about 40 billable hours in order to acquire the $1622 income. Based on these estimates and the fact that my profit was $759, I made between $7 and $10/ hour.

      $10/hour is far from ideal if that is considered alone, but I also consider the amount of value that I added to my business this month. I more than doubled my customer base and put systems into place that didn’t exist previously. The fact that I made almost $10/hour doing this makes me very happy. 🙂

      As far as passing up jobs, that is totally out of the question unless I absolutely despise the work or the work requires a license that I do not have. I simply quote the customer a price and the customer decides if the job is worth the cost.

  • Kaman March 22, 2012

    Looking forward to your next post!!

    • Big D March 23, 2012

      Thanks for reading! I’ll do my best not to disappoint.

  • ct contractor June 15, 2012

    Looking forward, to more infor, so must customers come from the net? And the your previous customers originally also cam from a web service in the past?

    • Big D June 17, 2012

      Thanks for reading! Yes, The vaste majority of my business is gained with online marketing (including previous customers). It’s a great way to kickstart a service business because of the low cost to reach customers. However, some of my business is gained from referrals from the people that found me online. A small portion of my business is from people that I already knew.

  • Stanley Twito February 27, 2013

    May I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody who actually understands what they’re talking about on the net. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular because you surely have the gift.

  • Kevin September 13, 2013

    I’ve been going only 5 weeks in my business in Western Australia. I was basically sick n tired off being an employee-assistant to a skill person.

    I also enjoy running my own business, but getting my head around the hourly rate change from wages to business charge out was a mind stretch however now that I have uniforms, business cards, public liability insurance & a vehicle to run I’m ok now with it & wouldn’t do a job ( business) for my old wages rate.
    So far I’ve only listed on a site similar to yours (service majic) in Australia but I need to schedule some time to create my own web page & Real Estate listings (property manager).

    • Dan Perry September 14, 2013

      Thanks for the comment, Kevin. And I agree, setting up a solid website is great investment in your business.

  • Adrian January 31, 2014

    How are things lately? What is your per monthly net now? Still growing or is growth leveling off? How do you price a job?
    Thanks for posting your experiences!

    • Dan Perry February 1, 2014

      Hi Adrian,

      You can see all of that info in my other monthly reports which can be found in the navigation menu or the sidebar.

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