I’d love to tell you that starting a handyman business is easy as setting up a website, putting up ads on Craigslist, and slapping “Bob’s Handyman Services” on your truck. It may be this easy in a booming economy where contractors have so much work that they actually turn down business. But, times have changed. These same contractors that were once fat and happy, are now dropping their pants with $10/hour handyman services. How can you possibly compete? With a little thought and strategic planning, you’ll not only be able to compete, you’ll be throwing you’re leftovers to these contractors (for a small fee of course). It starts with targeting the right customers.
In my last post I discussed how to Evaluate Your Skills and Determining What Services to Offer. If you havn’t yet done this, I recommend you do. Understanding your current skill set will help you target the right customers as you start out. You may have to target less desirable customers until you hone the skills required to go after the good ones. This article should shed some light on which skills to acquire. Think both short and long term during this exercise.
Who needs your services?
Write down a list of groups people that may need your services. This can include groups of people such as single women, the elderly, property owners, and apartment complexes. It’s OK to be general right now, but later we’re going to want to define these groups more specifically. An example would be a single business women, 25-40 years of age, with an annual income of $65-$100K that work 40-60 hours/week.
Why do they need your services?
People don’t just go out and hire a Handyman because their bored, unless you are offering those types of services…hehe. But let’s not go there. They are looking for somebody to solve a problem that they can’t solve. This can be for a number of reasons including lack of skill, overly busy schedule, or they are just flat out incapable. Put some thought into why they need your services and it will be much easier to market to them.
What services do they need?
If you are targeting the elderly, they are obviously going to want different services than an overworked single mother. You’re going to need to offer handicap ramp maintenance and elderly assistance hardware as opposed to drywall repair and child proofing.
Who will pay you what you want?
Just because somebody needs your services doesn’t mean they can pay for it. You’ll have a really hard time marketing quality handyman services to Craigslisters (trust me on this one). If you want to market “the lowest rate in town,” Craigslist is an awesome go to. If you are selling quality home improvements and excellent service, you’re gonna need a marketing strategy tailored to people who are looking for that. However, Craigslist does have it’s place in my business during slow times.
Who do you want to work for?
This might be the most important question to ask yourself. The income from working for rich older women could be higher, but you’ll be dealing with a picky and demanding crowd. Working for property owners or apartment complexes is likely to bring in a smaller income while giving you less of a headache. I’d recommending targeting multiple customers (not with the same material). That is, if you’re intention is to increase profits.
Now that you understand who needs your handyman services, what services they need, and why they need them, you can design a marketing plan that draws customers and their cash to you. A common mistake is to try to appeal to everyone and therefore appealing to no one. Design each marketing campaign to target and connect with a very specific group of people. Each group that you target will require a different strategy.
The first step in a great marketing plan is a good business name. Once you are ready to name your handyman business, I recommend you read the following post: The Ultimate Guide to Handyman Business Names.
Til’ next time….