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My Monthly Report – June 2013

Welcome to my June 2013 monthly income report!

This marks the end of my 19th month in business as a handyman and also my 19th report.

Just in case you’re a Handyman Startup first timer, I write these reports each month discussing my business in detail.  I share how much money I made, what marketing methods brought me that money, my expenses, and other useful insight for all you handymen who want to go pro and dominate the home service industry.

If you want to make more money while only working for customers you like, these reports are for you.  If you don’t enjoy your current 9-5 job and desperately want to quit, these reports are for you, too.

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

  • Record Profits for my Handyman Business and an awesome hourly rate.
  • How my truck graphics paid for themselves twice over this month.
  • Another reason to treat your existing customers like gold.
  • Why I failed at my goal and what I plan to do about it.

A Win For the Truck:

If you’ve read my other reports, you may notice that the vinyl stickers on my handyman vehicle do not bring in a whole lot of business. However, the branding on my truck is still a critical part of my overall marketing strategy.  While it doesn’t bring in leads directly, it helps to sell my services and creates brand recognition.

This month I witnessed my truck help land me a $700 job.

It all started when I was working for one of my best clients, a lady that found me via my website and has been hiring me at least once a month ever since.  Consequently, this client had recommended me to pretty much the entire street.  Well, at least everyone that she knew on the street.

I was just finishing up installing a higher security door lock on her entry and garage doors and was just about to leave when the neighbor lady came out to greet me.

The neighbor then mentioned that she had seen me there several times before and recognized my truck.  She also stated that the customer I was working for recommended me highly.

Long story short, she ended up hiring me to install a shower enclosure and a few other small jobs that totaled a little over $700.

The point of this story is that my truck had a huge impact on me getting her business.  Sure, the recommendation was a critical part of that, but my truck is what got her to take action.  If I would have been driving an unmarked, or even poorly marked truck, it’s likely that she wouldn’t have noticed and would have gone about her day, completely forgetting about me and the recommendation she received.

This experience, among many similar experiences, has really demonstrated the value of a well branded work vehicle.

Old Customers Popping Up All Over the Place

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is when an old customer that I haven’t seen or heard from for six months calls me for more work.

Just when I think that I’ve lost a customer’s business, they pop up out of the blue and hire me again.  I love it.

This month two of me best customers that I hadn’t heard from for months called me up and hired me for over $2,000 worth of work.  It was a huge surprise because I had thought they both found somebody else.  I mean, these customers were hiring me every month if not every week prior to just not calling anymore at all.

Before they finally did call, I sat there wondering what I did wrong.  Thinking “maybe I charged them too much” or “maybe they just found somebody that offers a better service.”

Needless to say I was really happy that they called as I thoroughly enjoy working for both of them.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because this isn’t the first time this happened.  I’ve had customers call for more work up to a year after the first time they hired me.

I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned from this.

The first lesson is pretty obvious – always do good work.  By consistently doing your best to deliver on exactly what you say you’re going to do and really keep the customer’s best interests in mind, there is no way that your business won’t grow.  By doing good work, customers will go out of their way to keep your information on hand for the next time they need you.  This is in addition to recommending you to others of course.  Instead of having to continuously search for new business, old customers will just come to you.

The second lesson to take away from this is the importance of existing customers.  As you have seen from my monthly income reports, at least 50% of my income (and way more in most cases) is from existing customers.  If these two customers would not have called me back, my income would be much lower or I’d have to spend a bunch of time trying to get new business to make up for the gaps in my schedule.

I’d like to think that these customers hire me again and again because I offer great service and follow through on my commitments.  I know that I’m not perfect and I miss calls and the occasional appointment, but when it comes down to it they know I’ll get the job done right.

Simply making a strong effort to do the same will likely bring you similar experiences.

Income and Expenses

Income:

  • Existing Customers:  $4,803.77
  • Search Engines:  $1,477
  • Referrals:  $760

Expenses:

  • Direct Job Costs:  $1,303.86
  • Mileage:  $261.03
  • Phone:  $69.82
  • Insurance:  $94
  • Mailbox Rental:  $126
  • Tools:  $15.97
  • Bank Fees:  $10.63
  • Work Shoes:  $129.27

Total Income:        $7,040.77
Total Expenses:    $2,010.58
Net Profit:               $5,030.19 (last month:  $4,137.68)

Billable Hours:  76
Income from Labor:  $5,606.52
Average Hourly Rate:  $73.77

Another amazing month for my handyman business!  Not only did I have record profits this month, but I also had the second highest hourly rate since I started my business.

Those are pretty damn good numbers considering there were only 4 weeks in June and I only worked 3 days per week.  Well, that’s not totally true.  One of the weeks I ended up working an extra day just to keep up with the demand.  But still, my new schedule kicks ass and I can’t believe I made that much working as few days as I did.

As I mentioned earlier, existing customers are extremely important to my business.  This month they accounted for 68% of my total income.  That is something you just can’t ignore.  Without my existing customers I would have spent way more time marketing, quoting, and would have probably had a lower hourly rate.  My existing customers help me to remain more consistent with my work load and make me feel more secure with my income.  I really can’t stress their importance enough.

If you take a look at my expenses, you may notice that I haven’t done any marketing this month as with the previous 5.  I didn’t spend one dime to gain new customers.  However, I still gained 7 new customers this month.

How did I do it?  I built a good website and an excellent online presence which passively brings me new business every week.  This allows me to just go to work and essentially wait for people to call me, instead of working my ass off trying to get in touch with them.  Gotta say I love the digital age for that reason.

Another thing worth mentioning is my hourly rate which was almost $74/hour.  This is evidence that I’m getting more efficient with how I work.  I’m better about having the right tools with me, the right hardware, and knowing exactly how to approach jobs.

Monthly Goals

Last month I set a goal to investigate the possibility of limiting my service area significantly.  Did I do that?  Nope.  Epic failure.  I was actually so busy this month planning for a week long camping trip, producing content for this blog, and working for clients that I really didn’t have much time to do any thinking!

So, this month I’m going to make it my goal to edit the content on my website to limit my service area by about half.  I’ll still service existing clients outside of this area of course, but I’d like to limit how far I have to travel for new business.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind-of scared to do it.   I mean, telling more people that they can’t hire me feels wrong on so many different levels.  But, I also believe that my future success and happiness rides on my ability to make tough, uncomfortable decisions.  So, I’ll go with a slightly modified Nike slogan for some motivation “Just fucking do it!”

Enjoy my monthly reports?  Then you’ll love this.

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  • Christina July 11, 2013

    Awesome! Great work!

  • Tim Bourque July 11, 2013

    I started following your web site about a month ago and have gotten some great advise from it. My web site went live a week ago and I have received four new customer calls. I used a free Google phone number as you suggested, only I forward the calls to my cell with the Google number instead of the callers number so that I can track my web sites performance. Thanks for the great advise you provide on your site.
    Tim

    • Big D July 14, 2013

      Your welcome! Good to hear you are getting results!

  • Evin July 11, 2013

    How did you learn how to create a shower enclosure? What do you do when people as you to do something you’ve never done before?

    • Big D July 14, 2013

      Evin,

      I didn’t create the shower enclosure. The shower enclosure was purchased from Home Depot and I just simply installed it. This was the first one I’d ever installed, but I have removed several others and am familiar with how they are built so it was a piece of cake.

  • mike July 11, 2013

    Love your blog and have follow it for about a year . i find myself checking your website on a daily base for new content. lately i feel you have not put a lot of effort on recent posts, for example you have reposted old content and pass it off as new. also you used to feature a service on the monthly report but have not done so in a few months. i would like to know what happen to the ticket you were planning on fighting for quoting the paint job to the undercover inspector . thanks for sharing your insights, they have given me that little push i needed to start my own handyman business

    • Big D July 14, 2013

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comment and constructive feedback. I’ll take that in to account when writing my next blog posts. Also, I stopped doing the featured service because it didn’t seem like people were getting a whole lot from it.

      Unfortunately, I’m still waiting to hear the final decision. As you may know, these things can drag out for a really long time. I currently have no updates to share but am hoping to find out in the next month or so.

  • PATRICK FEARICK July 13, 2013

    That mailbox rental is steep. Id rather invest a 125$ a month into an IRA or something. Was also wondering how you handle your taxes? Are you reporting everything? Do you pay sales tax in Cali? Thanks

    • Big D July 14, 2013

      Hi Pat,

      I don’t pay $125/month for a mailbox, that is for six months.

      Yes, I do claim everything and I only pay sales tax on things I purchase from the internet. I’ve decided not to include my tax information here because everybody’s situation will be so different.

  • Tim M July 14, 2013

    I know. Sometimes I hear from people who I haven’t heard from in years. Though when the regulars, the ones who call me every month or so, don’t call I’ve had the same worries? Was there something I didn’t do as well as they liked? Was the bill too much? Did they know they can call to get me to fix anything a did, usually for free? Then they call again, and I find out they were happy with everything.

    The one time I know of that they did call someone else, was because I told them I couldn’t be out there for over a month. They called someone else who could be out there the next week. After he came, they called me the next day, and said next time they weren’t taking any chances with anyone else!

    That’s a good argument for limiting your clients once you get busy enough. You are in a large city so distance is a factor. In a smaller area you just want people to be able to rely on you, and leave a day open, that you can always move someone into at the last minute, for emergencies or jobs that run longer than you thought.

    Congrats on having so many people who rely on you. I imagine you’ve seen how much time it saves not to have to answer phone calls, pay visits, etc. The people you know, and their friends, probably just say “Come do it,” and don’t ask for an estimate.

    It would be interesting to see your actual hourly income, factoring in all the non-billable hours as well. Though that would mean keeping track of all kinds of other things.

    • Big D July 14, 2013

      Thanks, Tim!

      I’ve actually been thinking about tracking all of my time to get an overall hourly rate. I’ll try to do that in August and include the results in my August monthly report.

      • Ron T July 15, 2013

        Hey D , I took your advice and purchased the service call app . I took the plunge and started my part time professional handyman buisness ,your advice and tips are a big help. I am presently working on what I call good customers so buisness is slow ,but I am getting the clients I want to do work for. Thanks for your blog.

        • Big D July 15, 2013

          Only working for your ideal clients is a great strategy! You’ll take a short term loss, but you’ll avoid a lot of headaches.

  • Sylvia July 18, 2013

    Very nice website and startup resource you have here. We need more handymen! I can’t even count how many odd jobs I have around my house. My kitchen faucet has been leaking for over a year!

    I love seeing successful entrepreneurs offering to mentor others. Great work here Big D!

    • Big D July 18, 2013

      Thanks Sylvia!

  • Sue Loomans July 19, 2013

    Thanks for passing along your tips and experiences — it’s great to see how they lead to your solid monthly income. Hope we can do the same here in Wisconsin!

  • Aaron August 8, 2013

    About to make the leap into the handyman business. After many years teaching how to do these kinds of things it’s time to start making it pay. Enjoy reading your site. It’s been a big help! I just hope I can be as successful as you have been with it. Keep up the hard work!

    • Big D August 8, 2013

      Thanks Aaron! Good luck!

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