This is the fourth of a series of posts that I will be doing each month. It also signifies the close of my fourth month owning my own handyman business. If you are interested in how to start a handyman business, this information is for you.
In this post I will be discussing significant events that happened in March of 2012. I’ll share any aha moments, my accomplishments, and finally, I’ll tell you how much money I made and how I made it. I’m doing this to help anyone who wants to know how to start a handyman business. Through my trials and errors, I hope to make your handyman business experience much easier.
Events and Accomplishments
March 2012 was by far the best month I’ve had in terms of income with my handyman business. I’ve noticed that all of the ground work that I put in at the beginning is really starting to pay off. I’m getting customers from my website, online directories, and word of mouth.
I’ve also noticed that I’m about a million times better at closing the sale when I do get a call from a potential customer. At first, I was just unsure on what to say. Now, when I answer the phone, my customers know they are talking to a professional immediately. This is something that only comes with time.
I remember my first 20 or so phone calls that I got where a bit sketchy. I’d get so excited that I’d start stumbling over my words, not asking the right questions, and just not leaving a good impression. When a customer would ask my price I’d choke and bid way to low. I got some customers this way, but nobody wants to make 10 bucks an hour on a job.
March’s Goals Reviewed
Goal #1 : Make $4,000
The #1 goal for the month of March was to have a total income of at least $4,000. I got a little cocky because I had a few jobs lined up early in the month, but the middle of the month got a little slower. I ended up with a total of $3,745 in total income. Not quite what I was hoping for, but a large improvement from the previous month. I more than doubled February’s income which was only $1622.50. If I stay on this track, I’m gonna need to hire some help soon. This really goes to show that the stuff I teach on my blog does work and I’m living proof.
Goal #2: 3 efficiency upgrades
The second goal for the month was to make 3 improvements in efficiency. This was an easy one and I actually made quite a few. For one, I decided to only do accounting once a month, and only deposit checks every other Monday. I figure this will save me about 3 hours/month.
Another efficiency upgrade I made was buying a toolbox that has a sole purpose of holding fasteners. It was under $20 and It was a great buy. No more dealing with separate boxes of screws or clogging up my tool box. It also makes it easier to take inventory of commonly used fasteners. I’d say this saves me about an hour a month and a lot of frustration.
A third notable efficiency upgrade was the purchase of an ipad. I’m still debating with myself if I should have just got a laptop, but it is still better than nothing. I primarily use this for scheduling, but I’m finding new uses for it every day. Since a lot of the time I’m learning how to repair something as I’m being paid to repair it (don’t tell my customers that!), my ipad gives me the power of google at my fingertips. The mobile internet also allows me to look up the prices of materials so I can quote my customers on the spot.
Goal #3: Vinyl decals for my truck.
I failed miserably at this goal. I guess it wasn’t really a priority. Having the goal did push me to get working on it and I should have the graphics on my truck by the end of the first week in April. I am really excited to get them however, because it is one of the last things I need to do to make myself look established. This means more money!
Lesson of the Month
I’m learning something new everyday with my handyman business, but there is definetetly one thing that I learned this month that stands out. I NEED TO CHARGE MORE.
I’ve had a recent shift in mindset. At first while working up a quote, I would have the customers thoughts in the back of my mind. I’d say this is a good thing for the most part, but not always. I would actually sit there and try to find ways that I could save them money by possible doing a task faster or not marking up materials. Big mistake.
I’ve now realized that I need to price my jobs like a robot would. I first make a list of materials and add up the total for those. I then multiply this number by 1.32 (25% markup on materials plust 7% for tax). I then figure out how long it will take me to do the job and I multiply the number of hours by my hourly rate. I include time taken to go to the store and cleanup time. I then stick with that number.
Sometimes this number seems high, but I stay with it. The important thing here is that you explain to the customer what the job will entail. When you sit there and list off all the materials you need and the processes that will take place, the value of the job automatically goes up in the customers head. You have to realize that in most cases they have no idea what something should cost. Use this to your advantage. I’m not saying rip them off, but make sure you are making enough money to live a decent lifestyle.
Income and Expenses
- Existing Customers: $830
- Craigslist Leads: $500
- Service Magic Leads: $900
- Online Listings (including website): $435
- Neighbors: $1080
- Direct Job Costs: $866.38
- Advertising: $199
- Work clothes: $25.81
- Vehicle Mileage: $408.48
- Tools: $185.23
- Office stuff (ipad included): $757.80
Total Income: $3745
Total Expenses: $2442.70
Net Profit: $1302.30
I have to say that I’m extremely happy with how the month turned out. I remember about half way through I was stressing pretty hard, especially since I just spent almost $700 on an ipad. Things starting picking up and if I would have had two more days in the month, I would have exceeded my goal.
Taking a look at the income numbers, my net profit for the month was $1302.30. Not quite what I need in order to live the kind of lifestyle that I want, but getting closer. If I didn’t buy the ipad this month, this would have been almost $2,000.
A large portion of my income this month came from existing customers. Last month I made exactly $0 from existing customers. To be expected since I just started the handyman business. This income stream should increase every month as I build my client base and hopefully the majority of my income will be from existing customers by the end of the year.
Everybody needs a handyman, they just don’t know it yet.
Another income source that wasn’t here last month was my neighbors. Here is a really good example of how in demand handy person services are.
I was doing some work in my garage when one of my neighbors decided to stop by and let me know they were moving. I’d waved to the guy a couple of times here and there, but I didn’t know him well. Anyway, they were planning to rent out the house and buy another house. I mentioned that I started a handyman business and he asked for my business card. He left and I continued doing what I was doing. No more than 5 minutes had passed and his wife comes over and gives me about $2,000 in handyman work! Sometimes it is just too easy.
Next Month’s Goals
Goal #1: Total Income of at least $5,500
I’m probably getting ahead of myself with this number, but screw it. Go big or go home.
Goal #2: Only take jobs that are worth it.
In March I did several jobs where I should have charged quite a bit more. This month, I’d like to make a point to always quote enough for each job.
Some Last Words
Every month just keeps getting better with my handyman business. I have a great sense of accomplishment with the business that I have created so far and the future is looking bright.
It does take a lot of work to get to this point, but if you enjoy what you do, it isn’t hard to put the time in. To anybody that is considering starting a handyman business but is a little afraid to pull the trigger: If you just start working on it and taking the steps that I lay out on my blog posts, I promise you will have the same successes a few months down the road. Starting a business is just like running a marathon. If all you think about is how far the finish line is away from you, it’s going to be hell. But, if you break it down and focus on just completing the next step, eventually you will get to the finish line.