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My Monthly Report – May 2012

Welcome to my sixth monthly report!  I write these every month and this one marks my sixth month in business as a handyman.  In these reports I share how much money I made in the last month, how I made that money, and anything else interesting that happened.  I also share quality tips to help you either start or grow your own handyman business.  It’s no wonder this is my most popular content.

If you are new to the blog, I’m not a millionaire (not even close).  I’m not even a seasoned veteran business owner.  This is my first business and trust me, I have made a lot of mistakes.  What I do have is the desire to succeed and make good money running my own successful business.  I would also like to help you do the same (if you’re interested).  Unless you like sitting at a desk and working 9-5?  Didn’t think so.  I didn’t and that’s why I quit my job and started a handyman business.  So far it’s been an amazing ride with each month surpassing the last.

This month has been no exception and I had record income and profits.  The best part is that I actually worked LESS.  Sounds counter-intuitive, but by applying some basic principles to my everyday business operation, I was able to significantly increase the ROI on my time put in.  I’m still making a very modest income, but getting results from choices I made feels amazing.  Keep reading for exactly what I did.

Before we dive into my income and expenses, I’d like to share some interesting events from the past month.

Events and Accomplishments

May was an amazing month.  Now that my handyman business is pretty much set up (website, truck decals, uniform, logo etc.), this month was all about making money.  All of the work that I put into my business the first 5 months is now starting to pay off.  Now don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of things I plan to do to improve my business, but I’m just going to let it sit on auto-pilot for a couple months.  Just chill and let the customers roll in.

Don’t Sweat an Open Schedule

May started out really slow.  For the first 4 days of the month I was in Hawaii on vacation and I had zero work scheduled for when I returned.  The week following my vacation I only worked for a single customer!

As you might guess, this had me a little worried.  I started thinking that my previous business was just a fluke and maybe I hadn’t built a robust business that will continue to bring in new customers.  After all, nobody was calling me.

It’s really easy to have these doubts and negative thoughts when first starting out.  You just never know if anybody is going to call.  If you continue to dwell on these thoughts you can get into a real funk.  It’s just not worth worrying about.

I found it’s best for me to look at an open schedule as a positive thing –  as a chance make my business better.  I hope for days that no customers call me so I can continue building my online presence.  I love to test new marketing strategies and make small tweaks to see how I can increase profit while cutting down on time invested.  To me, this is why I’m in business.  The sky is the limit when you don’t have to answer to a boss!

Whenever I have these slow times I like to spend time optimizing google placesbuilding links to my website, or brainstorming services that I can sell to existing customers.

The lesson here is that people will call.  This business isn’t a constant flow of customers.  Enjoy the time you have off and work hard when customers do call.

The Power of Being Honest

I’ve always been a very honest person, even to a fault sometimes.  Even when a girl asks my opinion, I’m completely and sometimes brutally honest.  It’s just in my nature and I can’t help but to say what I believe to be the truth.  My girlfriend can attest to this! haha

I’ve never noticed the power of being so honest until this last month.  I found that the more honest I am with my customers, the better they respond.  Instead of trying to hide that fact that I plan to make a profit from them, I’ll explain in straight out if they question my pricing.  If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll tell them I’ve never done it before.  I’ve even told customers that I just started as a handyman 6 months ago.

Here’s the crazy part.  The more honest I am, the more these customers want to hire me.  A little thrown back at first, I quickly figured out why.

BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE IS HONEST!

These customers have been lied too, ripped off, told they were going to get one thing and then received another, and the list goes on.  People are tired of being fooled by the fine print.

When you enter another person’s home, it’s an intimate experience and one of the most important things is that those customers can trust you.  Just like any other relationship, it will never last without honesty.  Honest contractors are so far and few between that customers crave that honesty and once they get it, they don’t want to let it go.

I’ll back this up with an example.  Two weeks ago I met a customer named Theres.  Theres is an older women that lives by herself, likes her home to look very nice, and has a lot of very fortunate friends.  When I first talked to her, I was a little intimidated because she was asking me a lot of questions that other customers typically didn’t bother with.  She wanted to know all about my business and my experience and how I was going to install her vapor barrier.

I was completely honest with everything and by the time I finished the job for her, she had a full page of her friends that she was going to refer me to – from doctors to attorneys.  Really good clients with money.  People that I want to do business with.

This wasn’t another one of those people that says their going to refer you and you never hear anything further, she actually did.  Within a week, I had already talked to 3 of her friends and been hired by one of them for a $600 job!

Just by being completely honest, I was not only able to get a great customer, but a serious promoter of my business.  I didn’t have to give her a discount or or provide her with over the top service, either.

I was simply honest.  Now, on with the fun part….

Income and Expenses

Income:

  • Existing Customers:  $2507.19
  • Craigslist leads: $760
  • ServiceMagic Leads: $175
  • Website and Online listings: $415
  • Neighbors: $20
  • Network: $1300
  • Referrals: $175

Expenses:

  • Direct Job costs: $950.30
  • Advertising: $90
  • Vehicle Mileage: $424
  • Insurance:  $95
  • Uniforms: $54.86
  • Phone: $39.29
  • Tools: $20

Total Income:      $5,352.19
Total Expenses:  $1,673.47
Net Profit:             $3678.72   (last month: $2,190.35)

Another record month and I couldn’t be more satisfied.  This month the net profit for my handyman business increased by $1518 when compared to last month.  This is still a fairly modest income, but you just can’t be mad with results like these.  I’m extremely thankful and appreciative that I’m able to have the opportunity to have this success.

Even though I made a pretty decent income this month, I still see the opportunity to significantly increase my net profits.  This month, I took two vacations.  One to Hawaii and one home for memorial day.  I also went a whole week with very little business.  If I was to get to the point where I had consistent business throughout the month without taking a vacation, I could easily hit a profit of over $5,000.  That’s roughly $1800/week (then subtract expenses) in business which I actually hit one of the weeks in May.

My Hourly Rate

This month I decided to keep track of all my hours so I could show an hourly rate for the month.  My primary goal that I set at the end of April was to hit $40 for all billable hours.  I did this so I could avoid doing jobs that weren’t worth my time and to force myself to quote a little higher than I had been in the past.  It definitely helped and I was able to dominate my goal.

Here are the results:

Billable Hours:   101.5
Office Hours:      19.5
Total Hours:        121

Labor Income = (Total Income) – (Materials x 1.25)* = $4,194.32
*I mark materials up 25%

Hourly Rate = $4,194.32/101.5 = $41.32

Monthly Goals

Last Month’s Goals:

I set two goals last month with included hitting $40 dollars/hour and making one customer experience improvement.  I was able to meet the $40/hour which also led to a higher income for the month.  That goal paid off very well.

As far as customer experience improvements I sort of slacked off.  I had the intention of sending a follow-up e-mail to all of my customers thanking them for their business, but I only ended up doing this with one customer.  The results from that customer were great because I received a review on Angie’s List and google places.  I would still like to implement this strategy, but it may have to wait until I can set up an automated system.  I just don’t enjoy adding extra work at the end of every day.

This Month’s Goals:

Goal #1:  Average $40/hour for all billable hours

This was such an effective goal that I’ve decided to keep it going into this next month.  I’ll continue to track the hours I work on each job so I can see how effective I am being with my time.  This should help me quote sufficiently for each job so I don’t give anything away for free.

Goal #2:  Gain insight on a potential product offering

I still haven’t actually developed a product to sell to my existing customers.  I’ve starting building a list of all of my customers information which I one day hope to market a quality service to.  Looking at other service businesses that are similar to handyman businesses, the ones that are most successful seem to be the ones that offer a weekly, monthly, or quarterly service to their customers.  I’ll keep my mind open for any potential and ask my customers what they want.

I Need Your Input

So far my handyman business has been a great success and I’ve learned a ton about running a business, dealing with customers, marketing, figuring out pricing, and the list goes on.  Before I started my journey as a handyman I read several books claiming to be able to teach me how to run my handyman business.

But, the truth is, none of these books offered the information that I really wanted to know.  This forced me to figure things out for myself.  I did pretty good I’d say, but I believe there should be a product available that teaches someone looking to start a handyman business everything they need to know and guides them through the process.

That being said, I know what I wanted to know when first starting a handyman business.  But, I would love to hear what YOU want to know.  Is there any information you’ve been looking for but just haven’t been able to find?  Or maybe an aspect of the business you just want to know more about?  If so, please send me an e-mail with your questions and recommendations.

I’m working on developing a product that I believe will be the best resource available for starting handyman business.  If there’s anything you would like me to include, please let me know.  I’d really appreciate your input.

Till next time…

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  • Mike June 11, 2012

    This is great Big D! Keep up the good work, it’s only going to get better.

    • Big D June 14, 2012

      Thanks Mike! I hope so….

  • ct contractor June 15, 2012

    Sounds good, I was thinking of adding handy man service to my company, but I have had friends claims you can’t make a living doing handyman stuff. I will keep watching.

    • Sarah June 30, 2012

      ct contractor,

      Not only can you make money doing this business, you can make an excellent living, and build a strong business that is a legacy for your family.

      My husband and I began our company 5 years ago, and have built a consistent brand that resonates with our clients. We do what we say we will do, and back everything up with exceptional quality, service, and follow up. It is a lot of work, and the number one thing that you need to do is NOT SELL YOURSELF TOO CHEAP! Too many people think that they cannot charge $40/hr for handyman services, but in reality, you can charge twice that if you are doing good work and backing it up. You need to charge enough to cover your expenses, and make a profit.

      Dan has great advice, and I’d keep going. Keith and I love what we do, and 3000+ (and growing) customers later, we wouldn’t change a thing!

      Cheers,

      Sarah

      • Big D July 6, 2012

        That’s inspiring Sarah! Thanks for the comment. It’s always great to hear from a successful handy person. Keep up the hard work!

    • Jeff November 16, 2016

      Well – I earned roughly $230k last year with net net after expenses and advertising $110k

      I work alone hiring when I need help.
      Best advise is this.
      In jobs you do not want- over bid and rely on reputation- if you get the job- Don’t panic. Hire a laborer who knows how to get it done- accept a modest profit- do something else that day on your own and supervise.
      It’s a good living but like any other- it takes more than 9 to 5- limiting your time to an hourly wage is death to the bottom line.

      Most people value honesty and quality over price tona limit.
      You don’t need every job.
      You need quality customers lime quality customers need labor.
      Some people feel “Handy Man ” means cheap labor.
      “Handyman” means many things- like a bar tender- you get to know people- help them with problems- fix the problem- offer solutions- and soon you will be visiting thise clients just to talk.
      I left a 100K office job for this and can not be happier.

  • lance December 7, 2012

    That is the best advice Ive seen so far. I have been a maintenance man for a local apartment complex for the last 10 years and recently been laid off. I have always been doing side jobs for various people in my town. I am wanting to start up my own handyman business but not exactly sure how to go about doing this. What I do know is I need to get a license and insurance. I’m working on a name for my business but that is were i am stuck. Not sure if I should go with something clever or to the point. I noticed every other handyman business has a simple name but the ones that I see that are have a clever name seem to stand out.
    As far as advertising were should I start ? Should I give out business cards to local realtors or/and hardware stores ? Any advice would help.

    • Big D December 8, 2012

      Hi Lance,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad you found my advice useful.

      As far as your business name goes, getting something memorable is nice, but the most important thing is that it contains the word “Handyman” or at least clearly communicates that you are a handyman. Check out the “how to” section of the blog for an article I wrote about coming up with a handyman business name.

      For advertising, if you have a lot of experience as a handyman approaching realtors can be very effective. I would also recommend advertising on Craigslist, setting up a google places account, and signing up for online directories such as YP.com and Yelp.com.

      Keep working at it and in no time you will have plenty of customers!

  • Chris February 7, 2013

    Just wanting to thankyou for all of the info and time that you have put into the website, i have found it really helpful. Been feeling very nervous about trying to kick start my own business but you have boosted my confidence greatly by reading your blogs. Keep up the good work bigd!
    Chris

    • Big D February 7, 2013

      Your Welcome, Chris! Glad I could help!

  • Kai April 7, 2013

    I have worked as a property manager for a minute now. I am tired of working like a dog for very little money. My husband has always helped me turn many of the homes along the way. Because I was so tired of being spoken to like dirt, I decided to quit. I was so fed up I didn’t even give a two weeks notice. I said F them! Now, I’m here…still talented and motivated as ever and got my right-hand man with me, my husband who can fix absolutely anything. I asked him if he wanted to work for ourselves and he said sure. Let’s put some ads up and see how it goes. I’m more confident than he is and he’s the one with the master skills. I’m just the customer service rep booking appointments and seeing what’s wrong.

    How long does it take to see profit? My husband already has good clientele by the way.

    • Big D April 7, 2013

      Hey Kai,

      I love your enthusiasm! It already sounds like you two will be a formidable team.

      If you husband already has some good clientele, I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t start making money within the first month. However, how long it takes for you to be profitable (in the technical sense) will depend on how much you pay yourselves as profits are whats left over after you pay yourselves a reasonable hourly rate and all expenses have been deducted.

      For more information on how long it took me, you can read my the rest of my monthly reports or get my Yearly Report, which is much more detailed and will give you a better idea of what to expect during the first year as well as what led to my successes.

      Thanks for the comment and I wish you the best!

      Big D

  • Sam C December 28, 2013

    Hi all,
    I have been doing handyman business for a bout 7 years now. The business is not mine in fact my father in law started it but because of the language barrier it was not very profitable for him. Up until 7 years ago my life carrier was in food business, for some reason I decided to try and get out of food business. For the time I wanted to help my father in law until I decide what I should get into. Here I am 7 years later I’m a partner. We do not do any advertising so far it has been word of mouth type of business. I have managed to increase the gross income from about 10000.00 per year to almost 80000.00 per year that is for company. I want to know your opinion about hiring help to expand the productivity and increasing the income. Do you or any of your followers think that is a good idea or not.
    Thank you for your blogg I think the time you have in this business is not important, but it is that you are happy with what you do and the willingness to think outside of the box.

    • Dan Perry December 28, 2013

      Hey Sam,

      Thanks for sharing your story. Great job on increasing your revenue by 8x!

      Deciding to hire employees can be a good idea depending on your goals with your business.

      If you enjoy doing handyman work and just want to make a solid income doing something you love, then hiring employees may not be a good idea. You’ll end up managing and answering phone calls instead of doing the work you enjoy.

      However, if your main goal is to build a bigger, more profitable business, then hiring employees is definitely the way to go and can help your business tremendously as long as you have the right systems in place.

      Dan

      • Doug Schmitt April 20, 2015

        Loved reading your article. Especially about the honesty part. I have been working for corporations for over 35 years and have been screwed. I have opened my own deck cleaning business and looking forward to working and am looking forward to perhaps taking on other handy man jobs to see where this leads. Who knows. Love people and enjoy the jobs.
        Doug Schmitt
        Pampered Decks, LLC

  • jose leon February 20, 2016

    Where do I (how) get a handyman license?

  • Bernard March 1, 2016

    Congrats on your business. After 25 years of doing handyman work I will pass along some important lessons.
    1 Learn the value of a repeat customer and add on services.
    2 Understand the difference between Mark up and Margin.
    3 Do not go equipment poor.
    We run our handyman services using John Deere Gator Utility Vech.
    We average $70,000 net profit per year{8 months}
    We specialize in 5 areas of maintenance/ repairs.{best profit}
    Some of our clients have being with us for 25 years.
    Trust is very important. It is also important to show your customer that they are not just a number on the profit page…get to know them.

    • Annie June 23, 2016

      Bernard, would you mind sharing the 5 areas that you specialize in?

  • Kevin Ma June 6, 2016

    Can you help me with my business project?

  • michael king August 7, 2016

    I want to start building my business.I have my license and 22 yrs of experience but just really dont know where and how to generate the business.Im just starting to understand the marketing concept but not how to apply it.Any suggestions.

    • Dan Perry August 7, 2016

      Hey Michael,

      I would recommend you check out my 2012 Yearly Report. It comes with a bonus Startup Checklist to give you a step-by-step system for starting your business.

      I’ll also be holding an marketing training course in October that you’ll have the option to invest in.

      Dan

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