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You’ve got an eclectic skill set--carpentry, masonry, electrical, plumbing and painting--so how do you turn those skills into a business? Starting a handyman business is like starting any other business: You need to embrace that you’re a businessman first, and your skills are your business’ product.
Embracing a Businessman’s Mindset
Many handyman never move past the realm of jackleg in the minds of most of their customers simply because they refuse to embrace those recognised processes of real businesses. Jacklegs neglect to do those things that legitimise a business, such as doing written estimates, sending invoices, showing up on time, completing the work when promised, and ensuring that customers are fully satisfied with the work.
If you want to start a handyman business, having the skill set is the least of what’s needed. You need to accept that this is a business even when dealing with friends and associates who will probably be your first customers. Businessmen are in business to make money. Cutting corners to bring a job in under cost, and undercutting your profits to give a customer a break, will only work to doom your business’ success over the long haul. Do your due diligence.
Set prices consistent with the going rates in your area. Determine upfront what your profit margin will be and apply that margin consistently across the board on all jobs. Know who your competition is and try to best them on some dimension, whether price, hours of operation or another customer benefit. Join the local Chamber of Commerce or trade guild so your business recognition grows.
Select a name and a logo for your business. Have business cards and formal invoices printed at a stationary store or online for free at Vistaprint.com. Place small ads in local community newspaper and print up flyers on your computer. Post flyers on community notice boards in supermarkets and ask some local businesses such as hardware stores if you can leave flyers with them to distribute.
Hand out flyers door to door or put them under car windshield wipers in several local shopping centres. This will be the first promotion effort for your business. You may need to periodically repeat your promotion efforts.
Run your business professionally. Get accounting software such as Quicken so you can see how your business is operating financially. Open a business bank account and set up your business legally with the state as a sole proprietorship or S Corporation.
Guarantee your customer’s satisfaction and make that your company’s slogan. Handyman businesses rely heavily on positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers. Your business is only as healthy as the last satisfied customer. Ensure that customers are satisfied, and your business will prosper and grow.
- Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images