How to Start a Home Handyman Business

If you have some skill with home improvement, DIY or fixing things, then running a home handyman business could be right for you.

A handyman business has several advantages over other types of business:

It demands vocational skills that few people have

You’ll be in demand if your work is high-quality

Handyman services aren’t easily replaced by automation

You can build up a strong local reputation

Of course, you’re likely to face competition from other tradesmen, but if you find the right niche, do some research and get your marketing right, then word-of-mouth will help you build your handyman business.

The question is, just where do you start?

Here at Incfile, we know the answer, and we’ve shared it with more than 500,000 people who we've helped form their businesses. Since 2004, we’ve supported tradesmen just like you.

To get you started on the right foot, here’s our simple guide to starting up a successful handyman business. From highlighting important facts to validating your ideas, and from choosing the right structure to your options for managing your business, you’ll find the answers you need.

Read on for some insight into creating your own home handyman business and becoming an entrepreneur. In this guide we will cover:

Facts and figures about the success of handyman businesses

How to choose the right business structure

How to find out if a handyman business is right for you

Where to find handyman business groups, forums and support

Ideas for the type of handyman business you could form

Helpful software for handyman business owners

How to validate your handyman business idea

How to start your handyman business with information on equipment, employees, location, permits, finance, taxes and more

Business plans for handyman companies

Why You Should Start a New Handyman Business

How successful can you be as a handyman? Let’s dig into the facts and figures.

$4 BILLION

The overall revenues of handyman service franchise industry (groups of various types of tradesmen working together) a year in the U.S.

6
%
Annual growth in the franchise part of a handyman business a year

A successful handyman could earn as much as $3,000 a week

The most popular home handyman specializations include maintenance, plumbing, painting, flooring, landscaping and electrical

Is a Handyman Business Right for You?

Although it can be exciting to form a handyman business, there will be significant demands on you as a small business owner. Here are some of the things you can expect.

A Day in the Life of a Handyman

Here are some of the typical tasks you’ll be performing for your handyman business on a daily basis:

Deal with phone calls, emails and other contacts from potential clients

Travel to job sites to assess work and estimate costs

Create quotes and send them out to clients

Buy materials and tools for completing jobs

Travel to job sites for work

Provide home handyman services to clients

Market your business using local promotions, your website, social media and other means

Send out invoices, take payment and manage your finances

Carry out business administration

Skills Needed by a Handyman Business Entrepreneur

The following skills will be very useful in your role as a handyman small business owner:

Ability to quickly understand the amount of work and materials needed to complete a job

Experience with completing similar jobs in the past

Good vocational skills in your chosen home handyman area (painting, landscaping, carpentry, plumbing, etc.)

Excellent interpersonal skills for dealing with potential customers and existing clients

Networking skills so you can connect with other tradesmen and commercial clients

Strong understanding of financial management and cash flow

Some skills in marketing and promotion

What Your Handyman Customers Are Looking For

Clients who hire a home handyman want reliability, quality and value. Reliability means you turn up when you say you will and you’ll complete the job to the agreed scope, timeline and price. Quality means you’ll approach the work with a careful eye, complete it with skill and deliver a finished product that meets your customers' needs. Value means that you charge fairly for your time, you don’t add unexpected fees and that your quote is reasonable for the work you’re doing.

It’s also important to note that not every customer is looking for the lowest quote — some clients are happy to pay more for higher quality work.

What Type of Home Handyman Business Should You Start?

When it comes to starting a handyman business, you have plenty of choices. When you want to turn your hobbies or fix-it skills into a successful business, these are some good places to start.

1

General Repairs and Maintenance

Perfect for the all-around handyman, this type of work is mainly about repairing and maintaining. You might be repainting brickwork, fixing flooring, touching up paint or completing similar tasks. It’s certainly a good starting point if you don’t have deep, specialized experience in other areas, and it’s in high demand.

2

Painting and Decorating

From new homeowners who want to customize their space to established clients looking for a refresh, painting and decorating is a popular choice. It’s also an area that’s relatively easy to get into, as you don’t need special skills or certifications — just an eye for detail and a steady hand.

3

Plumbing and HVAC

Depending on the type of work you do, you may need formal tradesman qualifications to become a plumber. These types of vocations are among the best paid, and there’s certainly plenty of demand (whether you’re working on water tanks, heating, cooling, drainage, installation or something else).

4

Electrician

Another formalized tradesman vocation, electricians are also in high demand. You'll also have an advantage of specializing in areas like whole-house rewiring, lighting, data cabling, repairs and more. You'll need licensing and training to perform this work.

5

Landscaping and Yard Maintenance

A yard is just an external room, but sometimes it needs even more work! From routine maintenance like mowing, weeding, pruning and mulching to entire landscape makeovers, there are plenty of opportunities for good landscapers.

6

Kitchens, Cabinets and Carpentry

If you’re good with wood, then installing kitchens, building cabinets, hanging doors, putting up shelves and doing trim work could be a great choice. This also gives you plenty of options for the size of job you want to take on. Fitting out a new kitchen might take a week or more, and you could intersperse that with much smaller jobs to fill out your time.

7

Franchise Handyman Business

There are plenty of franchise opportunities for a forward-looking handyman entrepreneur. You could work under a particular brand and pay money to belong to the franchise. In return, you get help with marketing, training and other internal parts of your business. It's definitely worth thinking about if having more structure is attractive to you.

8

Other Areas

We’ve covered some of the more popular jobs for the home handyman above, but there are plenty of other choices. These include:

  • Flooring installation and repair, including traditional wood, vinyl, tile or carpets
  • Bathroom and shower installations
  • Insulation for attics, walls and other spaces
  • Fence, gutter and deck installation, as well as maintenance and repairs

Validating Your Handyman Business Idea

These are all great starting points for a home handyman, but you will need to build on them to make the business your own. It’s your unique skills and approach that will really help your business stand out.

Getting started is relatively easy, but sustaining a living and building success is harder. Before committing too much time, energy and money into your new handyman business, it’s important to test the marketplace.

Identify your handyman business’ unique selling points (USPs)

What do you bring to your clients that they can’t easily get elsewhere? Do you specialize in particular skills, or do you serve specific types of customers? Finding your unique selling points — what you do better than anyone else — is a great way to stand out.

Look at who your competitors are in the space

Establish how much competition you’re likely to have from other tradesmen and handymen in your area. Some competition is fine, as it shows there’s demand for your services, but too much competition can make it hard to build up a client base. That’s why we recommend going niche and finding one or two areas you can really excel in.

Understand your market

You need to understand exactly who you’re going to be providing handyman services to. Will it mainly be new homeowners, seniors, people in a particular locale, commercial building owners, businesses or something else? This will be essential to your marketing, communications, and finding clients.

Talk to clients

Speak with potential customers to understand what they want from your handyman services, and validate this by asking if they would commit to spending real money on them.

Get involved with business communities and discussion groups

One of the great things about the handyman industry is that there are some awesome communities and discussion groups. Get involved in them and learn the ins and outs of your chosen market before committing.

Not every idea you have will make it to becoming a handyman business. There are all sorts of reasons to say “yes” or “no” to specific businesses, so think about what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can choose a handyman business you’d be great at.

Your Handyman Business Needs a Plan

If you’re a home handyman business, you might be wondering if you really need a business plan? Yes, you do.

Why You Need a Business Plan?

You need to define how you’re going to run your handyman business, market yourself, get sales, make a profit and grow. This can only come about by creating a watertight business plan. It will help you get your thinking in order and show your commitment to your handyman business.

You will also need to look at customer and financial projections for your handyman business. What are your expected sales and revenues? What is your profitability? How much money will you keep in the business to grow it? How much will you pay yourself? What will be the costs of your materials, advertising and everything else that goes into running a successful tradesman business?

Business plans do vary slightly, but they should all cover the following areas:

1

An executive summary with the most important points from your business plan

2

Your goals and what you hope to achieve with your handyman business

3

A description of your handyman business, background information and context

4

A market analysis and likely demand

5

An overview of how your handyman business is structured

6

Your business model

7

How you will market and sell your offerings

8

Financial projections, revenue and profitability

9

Appendices

We’ve got the perfect guide to writing your business plan.

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Handyman Business

There are five main business structures you can have in the U.S., and it’s important to choose the right one. We’ve shared your options below. They are:

Sole Proprietorship

This is the "default" business structure and is what your handyman business will be if you decide not to create a more formal structure. We don't recommend this type of business as it doesn't give you the legal protections you need.

Partnership

This is a type of business that is formed when two or more people work together without creating a more formal business entity. Like a sole proprietorship, it may not give you all the protections your handyman business may need.

Limited Liability Company or LLC

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is ideal for most handyman businesses. An LLC is easy and inexpensive to set up, and it has the least administrative requirements of any formal business entity.

S Corporation

This is a more complex type of business and isn't generally recommended for smaller organizations, like a handyman business.

C Corporation

These are the largest and most complex types of businesses and are typically far more than the average entrepreneur or handyman business owner will need.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of businesses, please see our in-depth guide. If you’ve still got questions, we’ve answered them to help you choose the right business structure for your handyman business.

In most cases, our recommendation for your handyman business would be to create an LLC. We’ve got a complete guide to everything you need to do. LLC formation does vary from state to state, but we’ve got you covered, wherever you are.

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Setting up Your Handyman Business Operations

Once you've legally created your handyman business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

Location of Your Handyman Business

Although it’s likely that you can run much of your handyman business from a home office, there are a couple of areas where you may need more space. First, if you’re building items offsite for installation at a client’s home, you’ll need a shop with the right space and tools for whatever you’re working on. Second, if you need to hold materials before using them, you’ll need a storage location. Look into the costs of renting these spaces versus buying them outright for yourself.


Don't forget that if you work from home, you can write off part of your utility and housing costs against your taxes.

Equipment for Your Handyman Business

Like any modern business, you’ll need a computer and a smartphone to help you run your business. In addition to that, you’ll need tools and possibly specialized equipment. Good tools are likely to be a significant portion of your startup budget, whether that’s simple hand tools or large, floor-mounted shop tools for bigger jobs. If you need larger equipment for one-off jobs, you can easily rent them from a local provider so you don’t have the capital cost of buying specialized equipment yourself.


You’ll also need to buy materials for your handyman jobs, although you can build that pricing into your quotes and estimates. If you need a truck or van for your handyman business, you can normally depreciate that against your profits so you pay less tax.

Marketing Your Handyman Business

Marketing will be a huge part of your handyman business. Naturally, you will need an awesome website, but you'll also need to get branding, newsletters, digital ads, social media accounts and other channels in place. You will probably want to focus most of your attention on local advertising. Look at Google Local listings, Facebook local groups and locally-based social networks like Nextdoor.

Finances and Taxes

You will need a separate business bank account for your handyman business. You might also want to consider a business credit card. Additionally, you will also need to keep careful bookkeeping records and file business and personal taxes. Here at Incfile we can even help you file your taxes.

Employees

To begin with, you probably won’t need to hire anyone else for your handyman business, especially if you’re a good administrator. As you get busier, you might want to go into partnership with another handyman, or even train an apprentice.

Software

The right software and processes will make running your handyman business much easier. See our list of the best apps and software at the end of this guide.

The Complete "Start Your Business" Checklist

A Clear and Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Business the Right Way

Rules, Regulations and Taxes for Your Handyman Business

You can’t escape real-world licenses, permits and regulations. You will need to explore local, state and federal licenses and permits, and we can also help out with researching your business licensing needs.

Taxes

Taxes are a fact of life if you’re in business, and there are various ways you will need to file and pay them. This can include self-employment tax, state income tax and federal income tax. Depending on where and how you’re selling products and services, you may also be liable for sales and use tax.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend holding back around a third of your earnings to pay your taxes. We can also prepare and file your tax returns for you.

Insurance for Your Handyman Business

Most handyman businesses should have comprehensive business insurance. There are various types.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers compensation insurance provides coverage for job-related illnesses, disabilities or injuries that affect employees. Regulations for this insurance vary from state to state. It typically covers areas like medical costs, loss of earnings, compensation and retraining.

General Liability Insurance

This insurance protects your handyman business from claims due to being sued. This may include injury to members of the public, property damage, personal liabilities, legal defense and more. It can help protect your business from financial penalties and bankruptcy. This type of insurance could be essential to your handyman business, since you’ll regularly be in people’s homes and you’ll be working with materials and tools that could be dangerous to others.

Home and Auto Insurance

If you are working from home on the administration of your handyman business or driving a vehicle for work, check whether your existing home and auto policies cover you for work use of your home or car. If not, you should either expand your policy so you’re covered or get dedicated business insurance.

Maintaining Your Handyman Business

There are certain forms and legalities you need to follow to keep your handyman business in good standing.

1

File an Annual Report

Most states require all businesses to file a report once a year. This report has details of any major changes to who owns a business and other major impacts on a business’ legal status. We can file your Annual Report on your behalf.

Annual Report
2

Pay estimated taxes

You will be expected to pay estimated taxes on what you plan to earn in the current business year. Typically, you will need to pay estimated taxes in April, June, September and January (of the following year).

3

Renew Business Permits and Licenses

Your business will probably have several licenses, permits and other regulations. These typically need to be renewed every year.

4

File your taxes

You will need to file your taxes once a year.

5

Pay payroll and sales taxes

If applicable, you will need to make payroll and sales tax payments on a regular basis.

5

Prepare Your Taxes

You will need to work with your accountant to prepare all the taxes you need to pay.

Conclusion

With the right attitude, skills and approach, you can build a very successful home handyman business. Identify your areas of expertise, market yourself well and put together a business plan. This will help you build good word-of-mouth and grow your client base. Whatever type of tradesman you end up being, we wish you the very best of luck!

Start your Handyman Business with us, today