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