If you are a skilled and knowledgeable handyman, you might be considering opening your own home repair business. The following steps are for a starter, one-person business with no employees. If you decide to expand, there will be workman's compensation insurance to obtain, and a payroll system to implement. If you are working from your home, hiring employees may require a "Main Street" business location. Deciding on a name for your business is just one of the many steps you will need to take when setting up your home repair business.
Clarify the scope of your home repair business. Define your expertise and outline what services you will actually be able to perform for your customers.
Investigate the necessity for a professional state license. Depending on your state and the scope of your services, you may be required to obtain a state license. For example, if you are making electrical repairs, you may be required to obtain an electrician's license.
Consider incorporation or establishing a limited liability company for your business. You will need to get a tax identification number (TIN) from the Internal Revenue Service and contact your state's Secretary of State office for an application and application requirements. Discuss with your accountant or attorney the best entity for your business and personal situation.
Obtain a business license. Contact your local municipality, such as City Hall, for information on attaining a business license. Some areas may have restrictions on operating a business from your home.
Contact your insurance company to purchase insurance to cover your business liability. Investigate the possibility of purchasing a bond, to provide greater protection and a sense of security for your clients.
Meet with your accountant to discuss the necessary records to keep, allowable deductions, and accounting procedures for the business.
Set up a bookkeeping system. You may decide to purchase a computer and accounting software, such as Peachtree, to create invoices and receipts, prepare billing and track customers. If necessary, seek advice from your accountant or knowledgeable book-keeper to help set up the system.
Install a fax line in your home and purchase a fax machine. If you have Internet service it is possible to use your computer's printer as a fax machine, and use an online fax service.
Prepare a price sheet or hourly rate for your services, along with a detailed range of services provided. Potential customers need to know the range of your services.
Sign up for cell phone service. A cell phone will enable your clients to contact you when you are out of the office or on a job.
Order business cards. If you are bonded, include that information on your business card, along with the name of your business and contact information.
Advertise your services in the local phone book and in small publications, such as the monthly newsletters of local organisations or free local weeklies.
Contact real estate and property managers. These companies use the services of a home repair business to make repairs on rental properties and listings. Let them know you are available and offer incentives for them to try your services.
Contact local senior citizen organisations and let them know of your services. See if you can post your business card or flyer at the local senior citizen centre. Senior citizens are often unable to make their own home repairs, and need the services of a home repair business.
Organise and inventory the tools necessary to perform the services you will provide. You may decide to keep the tools in a business vehicle, such as a van or a truck with a locking toolbox. Remember to insure your tools and vehicle. If they are stolen, you will be out of business if you don't have insurance or funds to replace the items. If you don't have the necessary tools or vehicles, you will need to obtain funds to make such a purchase.
Things you need
- Business license
- Bookkeeping system
- Fax machine
- Price sheet
- Cell phone
- Business cards