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How to Start a Handyman Business in 11 Steps

Looking to get your independent handyman business off the ground? Check out our handyman business startup guide for some helpful tips.

Small business handyman at work
April 20, 2023
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 7 min

If you have experience and an interest in handling hardware tools, providing maintenance services, installing appliances, and overseeing electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, then you might have a career in handiwork. But if you want to take your career as a handyman (or handywoman!) to the next level, consider offering your independent handyman services.

You get to work for yourself as an independent handyman with your own business. You call all the shots, including whom you want to work with, what services you offer, and how you market your business. You even get to create your schedule for recruiting employees.

While there are many benefits to starting a handyman business, it’s important to understand all the ins and outs of getting your business off the ground. Our handyman business startup guide below covers 11 steps to help get you on the right track.

11 Steps: How to Start a Handyman Business

We've got you covered if you're wondering how to start your handyman business. From helping you sort out your finances to explaining business insurance, our guide reveals everything you need to know about starting your handyman business from scratch.


1. Acquire the Skills

Before taking any steps toward starting a handyman business, consider whether you have the skills to go down this career path. Have you had any formal training, like schooling or apprenticeships? Or is handiwork just a hobby of yours?

It's okay if you haven't taken any classes or shadowed other professionals, but if that's the case, you may want to ramp up your skill sets. After all, your clients will want to work with someone with the knowledge and experience to complete their jobs, so applying for some training courses or joining a team of contractors may give you the confidence to start your handyman business eventually.


2. Identify Your Competition

The next step in our handyman business startup guide involves researching your competition.

Who else is running a handyman business in your neighborhood or city limits? Is the market completely saturated with these businesses, or is it completely opposite the case? Also, look into the kinds of independent handyman services they are offering. For example, do they provide a wide range of services or only have a few specialty skills?

Understanding your competition can help you identify gaps that your business could fill. For instance, no one specializes in electrical work, giving you a monopoly.

When you have a pulse on what others are offering, you can tweak your services to make them unique and stand out from the competition, making you more valuable in the eyes of your customers.

3. Determine Your Target Audience

Next, it’s helpful to pin down your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? Where do they live? And what do they need or want? Not only does understanding your target customers help you anticipate and solve their problems, but it also helps you market to them.

For example, if your target audience is people in their 60s and older who need handyman services, you may put your marketing efforts toward passing out flyers and getting involved in the community. But if you're going after college kids and newlyweds, you may want to advertise on social media apps to capture their attention better.


4. Choose Your Business Structure

Now it’s time to select your business structure, also known as a business entity, which determines your business’s legal status and how it should be taxed.

Some types of business structures include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability corporation (LLC)
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation

While you’ll want to look into all the options, many handymen tend to go with LLCs, which offer more protections than a sole proprietorship and potential tax savings.


5. Look into Business Licenses and Permits

After selecting your business structure, you can move on to business licenses and permits.

It’s important to note that city and state requirements may vary depending on where you conduct your business. For example, in California, you don't need to obtain a business license, but you can only perform specific services or make a certain amount of money with a contractor's license.

Check out the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) guide to learn more about what kind of license you may need to obtain.

6. Select Business Insurance

Accidents happen even if you plan to be the most careful and cautious handyman in town. And that's when you'll be thankful you have business insurance.

Purchasing business insurance protects your business and personal assets from financial loss from lawsuits and damage to theft, property damage, and injuries. And it's not just a smart idea to purchase business insurance—in some states, it's required.

Most handymen turn to general business liability insurance, which covers general claims, such as bodily injury, property damage, lawsuits, settlements, libel, and slander.

However, several other types of insurance may benefit your business (and again, maybe required), such as:

  • Business owner’s policy
  • Worker’s compensation insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Tools and equipment insurance
  • Product liability insurance

For more information on the different kinds of business insurance available, visit the SBA’s guide.


7. Determine the Kinds of Equipment You’ll Need

Any successful handyman has an arsenal of tools, so you'll need to have the same.

Start by inventorying any tools and equipment you currently have and make a list of the items you need to purchase. In addition to all the hand tools, power tools, and safety gear, consider other things you might need like a work van to transport your equipment from one job to the next.

As you make your list, star the equipment you'll need immediately and note any tools you can put off buying, perhaps until you score a few new clients.


8. Build a Budget

As you begin crossing some of these steps off your list, you’ll notice that you’re accumulating quite a few costs, from your business insurance to your equipment. Unfortunately, that's normal in the early stages of getting any business off the ground so budgeting can help.

Create a budget with all your expected costs. You can even make categories with the “must-haves” and the “nice to haves” to further break down your costs and help you prioritize the most urgent purchases.

Some examples of items to add to your budget include:

  • Licenses or permits
  • Business insurance
  • Tools and equipment
  • Work vehicle
  • Training courses
  • Marketing tools

Not sure how to manage your finances? Consider meeting with a financial planner for some guidance and insight.

9. Decide if You Need Financial Assistance

With your budget drawn out, this is where you can decide if you want or need financial assistance. Maybe you need help covering the cost of your power tools or payroll until you start landing gigs.

The good news is that you don’t have to ask your brother for a loan or see if your mom will donate some money because there are so many different avenues you can take to acquire funding. For example, you can apply for small business grants, look into loans, attract investors, or even turn to crowdfunding.


10. Consider Marketing Strategies

As you start your handyman business, you'll want the world to know about your services. And that's where marketing strategies can help.

Incorporating marketing tactics can help you boost brand awareness, spread the word about your business, and reach potential customers. The best way to do this is to employ several different strategies at once to help generate the most leads.

For your business, that might mean creating social media accounts, running ads on the radio, and sending out SMS texts. Other ideas include:

  • Writing newsletters
  • Publishing informative blog posts
  • Placing ads on social media
  • Handing out flyers around the neighborhood


11. Write a Business Plan

The final step in our handyman business startup guide involves taking what you’ve learned from each of the previous steps and using them to write a business proposal. A business plan is essentially your roadmap, which provides all the details about your vision, goals, and objectives. It helps you stay on track and provides potential hires and investors with an in-depth look and explanation of your business.

Your business plan should include the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market research
  • Description of management and organization
  • Information about your product or services
  • Marketing plans
  • Financial plans

Once you’ve finalized your business plan, use it as your guiding light when making future decisions about your handyman business.


Learn More About Marketing Your Business

Turn to an SMS platform like EZ Texting to help spread the word about your new business. Our platform can help you generate new leads, boost customer engagement, and build brand awareness. Contact us today to learn more!

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