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3 Not So Common Advertising Ideas For a Handyman Business That Won’t Cost a Dime

There are a 101 different ways to advertise a handyman business.  Some methods obviously work better than others (as you can see in my monthly reports), and some methods yield results 1,000 times what you put into them.  In this article, I’m going to discuss some ideas that are a little outside of the box, but could just be those golden nuggets you’ve been searching for.

Here are 3 ideas for advertising your handyman business you may not have thought of.

#1  Hang Out with Your Customers

Last weekend a good friend of mine gave me a free ticket to a PGA golf tournament that was in a very affluent part of town.  I’m not a big golfer and I’ve never even considered watching a tournament.  But, this was a chance to experience something new, and at a minimum, a chance to have a couple beers with my buds.

The golf course was located in one of the nicest gated communities in town, and I noticed something that seemed to be consistent with everyone in attendance – they all had money.  Additionally, I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve never seen so many good looking people.

While sipping on a Bud Light (only beer available), I couldn’t help but let my business mind go wild.  I was trying desperately to figure out a way to get some of these people to hire me as their handyman.  How could I effectively reach these people and get them to buy my services?

A little while later I was sitting at a table in a covered tent perched above the 18th hole green.  While being surprisingly entertained at the event, an older retired dude started talking to me.  The details of the conversation aren’t important, other than the fact that he was loaded.  His retirement home was on the golf course, placing the value of his home at 1 mil minimum.  This guy was definitely in my target market.

After conversing for a while, the tournament came to an end I shook the guys hand and went on my way.  5 minutes later, I realized how I could get some of these people to hire me – All I had to do was simply go where they hang out and I would naturally end up connecting with some of them.

Looking back, I should have simply handed him my card and said “By the way, I run a handyman business in the area if you are ever in need of anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.”  He probably would have, too.

The point of this story is that simply hanging out where your ideal customers hang out can bring in highly targeted business.  Who knows, somebody you meet at an event like this could have 10 friends that end up hiring you.  A great way to penetrate a market that you otherwise couldn’t reach.

So, where do does your target market hang out?  Are there any events in their neighborhood that you could attend?  Why not go check it out, have some fun, and grow your handyman business in the process?

#2  Recruit the Media

I concept here is to get people to talk about you and control their conversation.  Getting publicity to promote a business is very common.  But, I don’t see many handymen taking advantage of this marketing method.  It’s probably because most small business owners just don’t realize the opportunity.

Have you ever watched the Today Show and wondered why they were featuring such a lame story?  I have, too many times to count.  I mean, is there really nothing else to talk about where they need to interview somebody that put up a viral video about kittens?  Seriously.

The reality is that finding a newsworthy story that boosts ratings can be very difficult when there are no natural disasters or celebrity mishaps to report.  Journalists have to constantly research blogs, videos, magazines, and other resources in order to come up with stories.  This is where you’re opportunity comes in.

Here’s one way to get a ton of publicity for free.

  1. Craft an interesting story about your business.  This could be several topics including a grand opening, job creation, anniversary, or other standard business story.  However, I recommend thinking outside of the box.  Be creative.  If your handyman business is unique in some way, leverage your uniqueness.  Do you have a really unique service package that you offer that is nothing like the competition?  Do you have a rags to riches story to tell?
  2. Do some research.  Read the newspaper to other publication you are trying to get featured in and take note of the stories that they highlight.  Think about what made the editor choose the stories that he/she did.  Consider any patterns that you see while cultivating your own story.
  3. Write the story yourself.  Now that you have a great concept and know what type of stories the publication usually features, do your best to write an intriguing article.  If your not a writer, just gather all of the interesting details so you can present them to the journalist of your choice.
  4. Put a Bow on it.  It’s going to help your chances of getting published dramatically if you have a story to offer the journalist  in a neat package with a bow on top.  Remember, it’s hard to find a good story.  Present yours with some professional photographs, the story, and be sure to tell the journalist why your article will help them.  That last one is super important.  The journalist doesn’t want to help you, they want to help themselves.  Help them so they can help you.
And that’s it.  Free exposure.  For more on how to get featured, here is a good article.

#3  Pick Up Where Home Depot Left Off

It’s not secret that Home Depot has horrible service.  Sometimes I go in and have 6 people tell me hello, but as soon as I have a question about where I can find something, there is nobody in sight.  It’s like they have some kind of 6th sense that helps them avoid the customers that actually need something.

Use their lack of service to your advantage by helping shoppers that you see struggling.

Here is a scenario that went down just the other week.  I was in hardware section and there were a couple of old ladies that clearly had no business setting foot in that store.  I quickly notice them and say, “Did you guys need help finding something?”

They were a little apprehensive at first, but they were desperate enough to say, “yes, we are looking for a screw this size for our license plate and one of those things that keeps the screws from coming loose.”

It took me about 2 seconds to find them their screw and split washer and by the end of the interaction, they were very grateful for my assistance.  So, I just said, “by the way, I run a handyman business.  Here is my card.  If you need anything in the future, just give me a call.”

I haven’t heard from them yet, but I have heard of others gaining business this way.  The key here is to find customers that are halfway through a project and are in over their heads.  Let them know that you have dealt with that problem before and you would be more than willing to help them.  Easy sale.

Have you used any of these methods for getting customers?  If so, please tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

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  • jim October 28, 2012

    Great website!! I started my handyman business in May of 2012. Looks like you started about that same time. I love your enthusiasm. Your blog alone should get you ranked fairly well with google. I found your site by searching ” dominate the handyman business” (cause that’s what I wanna do too!)

    I am wondering what part of the country you are in? If you wanna keep in private thats fine. I am finding out rather quick that there is a ton of potential in this industry. Lots of folks have put off home improvement projects the last 5 years or so. There is a lot of pent up demand out there. Seems you are setting yourself up to capture some of that.

    Best of luck in your new venture!

    Jim

    • Big D October 28, 2012

      Hey Jim,

      Thanks for reading! For the time being I’ve decided not to disclose my location, but I hope to reveal that in the future. I wouldn’t want the extra traffic to my handyman business website to effect my online marketing, whether positively or negatively.

      I did have the pleasure of checking out your website and I have to say I am very impressed. It really gives off the impression that you have been around for a while. Do you have a lot of construction experience or are you hiring all of your labor?

      Yes, I have seen a growing demand for handyman services recently and it’s very exciting. Establishing a good name right now should really help in the coming years.

      Good luck to you as well and keep in touch!

      Big D

      • Jim November 24, 2012

        Hi Big D.

        Thanks for the response. Thanks for the compliments on the website. Its a work in progress.

        I grew up working for my father every summer and on the weekends. He was a general contractor. I did not always enjoy the construction industry but am glad now that I have the experience.

        If you have a chance check out the book by Chuck Solomon. (Building your successful Handyman business) He’s a great guy and the book is fantastic. Hook up with him on Linkedin and start asking questions.

        I have also learned a ton of stuff on contractor talk. Its a construction forum. Lots of good info and a ton of great guys on there willing to answer your questions and help out.

        If Yelp is popular in your area try and get your customers to give you a review on there. It has been fantastic for me. I am now getting around 60% of my leads from Yelp. (start tracking where your leads come from if you aren’t already) The best thing about Yelp is that it is totally free!

        I started out doing most of the work myself but quickly got to the point where I needed some help. Finding reliable guys has been the hardest part for me so far. I got some great advice from remodeling magazine…”be slow to hire and quick to fire”.

        Keep this great blog going and you will rank very high in the serps in no time.

        Jim

  • Blanca December 5, 2012

    If you are a handyman business owner and you are looking to take advantage of Pareto’s principle often referred to as the 80/20 rule or the law of the vital few, you might want to know the top 4 marketing tips for effectively promoting your handyman business. By focusing on the small, but important, marketing concepts that are going to give you the biggest result for the time and money invested you can gain significant ground and then double back later to add additional streams of prospects for your business.

    • Big D December 5, 2012

      I 100% agree that you should focus on the 20% of marketing strategies that give you 80% of the results, as Pareto’s principle states. The key is figuring out which strategies work and which don’t. The only way to determine this is to test.

      Blanca, which 4 strategies are you referring to?

  • Raul Roman December 20, 2012

    Great article. I also open my home repair business on May 2012, after finished college (HVAC). I was working as an electrician before and construction labor long time ago.

    Time are toughs, thats why I learn to focus on customers needs and gave a little extra for same price.

    Thanks again and keep posting.

    I took Business Administration and Computer in College (South America), that help me to create my own web page ,logo etc.

  • samuel morris April 2, 2013

    great advice,

  • Handyman Services April 11, 2013

    You’re even good with informational content like you have here. I like your views and your writing technique. really very useful and very helpful blog site for all thanks

  • Joe Seabolt September 6, 2013

    This is great….. and very useful information, I too just opened up shop in the handyman industry and I’m also very excited about it. Florida has a lot of “don’ts” for a businesses like ours, I stay accustomed with property maintenance and small cosmetic repairs….it’s a very competitive field here. Best advice I can offer others is don’t take on what you know you can’t handle. be honest and firm about what you can. Definitely need help in the marketing area…not my forte!

    • Dan Perry September 8, 2013

      Thanks for the tips. I’ll do my best to help you with the marketing part of the business.

  • Emanuel September 10, 2013

    Loved the article! Great Man!

  • dan schmidt October 1, 2013

    I was in Home Depot purchasing a few tile for a repair job, a couple next to me were confused about what tile was available. I helped them find what they needed and gave them my card. A couple of days later they called me and i got the job!

    • Dan Perry October 2, 2013

      Haha, that’s awesome.

  • Timothy Kendrick June 19, 2014

    Love the articles, my experience with jobs coming from home improvement places has a different take. I was in a home improvement store lookinf for some electrical products to re-wire a hot tub. I was in the Marine Corps and didn’t really have time to do the work but couldn’t find an electrician that was reasonable and that I could get any good reviews from. I had a man approach me that asked if I needed help, and after talking for a few minutes I asked him to come to the house and take a look. I ended up hiring him, and he did a great job. I am now retired fro the Corps, and am looking at starting my own handyman buisness. Helping someone out in a location like that is a great marketing tool, they are obviously thi king of starting a project and if they look like they need help they probably do. Thanks again for all of the articles.

    Tim

  • K.Cisneros December 10, 2014

    D, First off thank you for all the great information. I tried a few of your pointers and I must say they are slowly but surely paying off.Google business has generated a few leads, a place I’ve tried for a month now is Porch.com.Its been a good experience for my handyman business so far.I average 2-4 leads a day.I know it’s a low number, but I’ve got to start somewhere! Again Keep up the good work, Your insight is much appreciated.

    • Dan Perry December 10, 2014

      2-4 leads a day is great! Good work on actually implementing this stuff.

  • Spencer Wight September 22, 2015

    I was thinking of having a grand opening for my handyman heating and cooling business. What would be a good place to do this? Maybe at a local department store? I was thinking of hone depot but I don’t think the will let advertise the heating and cooling side of my business. Maybe a golf outing is an idea? What are your thoughts?

    • Dan Perry September 22, 2015

      Cool idea. My recommendation is to have it somewhere your ideal clients are. Who are you thinking of targeting primarily for your services?

      I don’t think Home Depot is a great spot, though. At least I wouldn’t do it there because my customers rarely if ever shop at Home Depot because they pay me too. 🙂

  • andrew October 19, 2015

    Dan
    I just recently went back on my own… I was about to join HA tomorrow to generate cash flow so I can do some other marketing. Alot of negative feedback on HA. Very confused now…. Dont have alot of cash flow and really need to make a good choice.

    • Dan Perry October 20, 2015

      Andrew, are you using Craigslist? That’s a free method that can be effective when times are slow. I wrote a post that shares some great tips and tricks to help you get better results.

      http://www.handymanstartup.com/craigslist-advertising-tips/

      Another free strategy that you can use if you have time is Social Media. You can start interacting with customers in your target market. A great way to do this is post pictures of your old jobs or projects you’ve done. This can be done on Facebook, Instagram, or even Twitter.

      Also, on Facebook you can search for groups of people in your target market. For example, sometimes HOA’s will have a facebook group. Join that and start interacting with people.

      The customers are out there, but unless you want to pay, you’ll need to hustle to get them.

  • Charles Brown October 26, 2015

    Hello Dan,
    I was looking for some cool and not so common techniques to help my handyman friends find more clients and landed on this article. I really loved how you advice on the basis of your personal experiences.
    I have been looking for this kind of information since a long time and all I could find was advertise, market and so on. These are some very common ways and I think they aren’t that effective anymore.
    Getting into the shoes of the clients, connecting with them, being a part of their life is what present day handymen need. Clients must know you and count on you when they need some help.
    Thanks for this useful post. Really gave me new insights on how to move forward to get more clients.

  • Kostas November 17, 2015

    I would like to register with you said.

  • Donald January 23, 2016

    Great info. Thanks for the article. I’ve been doing handyman work on the side and doing very well with Craigslist. It takes some work, but it’s worth it. I’m also getting some good leads through Thumbtack, but it’s very competitive on there.

  • Henry August 8, 2016

    Can you please help me to keep in touch with my old customers whom I previously work for. As a Handyman remodeling bathrooms how I can keep in touch with my customers.

    Thank you so much

  • Gabriel September 30, 2016

    Good article,i have been searching for this type of write up,but good i find this.I’m new to the environment that i am in now and i have more than 10 years experience in plaster ornament ceiling and opening decor,that can make any home look royal,Elegant and add more value to it,my job included plaster crown molding,plaster ornament arch opening design and plaster wall ornament touch and more. am very creative and passionate about this job.few month ago i make a move how to start this business and i move around to seek people opinion and i get to know that i ll need home improvement license before i can run this business,i have stated the licensing process and i believe that i ll have it soon.my challenge is this i observed that most people in this environment did not know much about plaster crown molding.what they have used to is hard woods and MDF molding and which plaster are more reliable than all this i mentioned.sometime i move around in the neighborhood and i ll see crown molding been install with suspended(drop) ceiling and there ll be a space in-between after caulked.i have addressed this with some trim carpenter and they understand my professional plight about it.my question is that how can i market plaster ceiling and crown molding to people thanks.

    • Dan Perry October 2, 2016

      Gabriel,

      It sounds like what you offer is a higher end, decorative service. If I was you, I’d network with some interior designers because they could refer you to their customers. They would be happy about it, too, because they could offer something to their customers that most designers can’t. And, you’ll be hitting a higher end market.

      From an online marketing perspective, I think video will be your best bet. I would create a series of videos showing the benefits of what you do and how it can transform a home and add value to it.

      Dan

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