How to Become a Professional Handyman

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How to Become a Professional Handyman

May 9, 2022 · 7 minutes to read

Do you enjoy helping others while working with your hands? If yes, working as a professional handyman might be a career option for you. Your services will help homeowners whittle down their to-do lists and keep their homes safe and comfortable.

A handyman arriving to work with paint tool

The path to become a handyman is relatively accessible for many people. There are several low-cost ways to receive handyman training, where you can learn and develop the skills necessary for success. Once you’ve mastered the basics (and maybe a few specialty talents), you might be ready to start your own professional handyman business!

If you’re considering this job path, read on to learn more about:

  • What a handyman does
  • The job outlook for handymen in the United States
  • Where to find handyman training
  • Starting a small business
  • Handyman license requirements
  • Buying business insurance

What are a handyman’s duties?

Handymen provide essential services for busy and unskilled homeowners. The work you do helps them maintain and improve their properties by completing minor repairs and regular maintenance.

A handyman’s skills combine those of a plumber, electrician, carpenter, HVAC contractor, landscaper, and other home maintenance professionals. You are a “jack of all trades”, taking on small jobs that specialty tradespeople may not have the time to accept.

Examples of common tasks that a professional handyman is hired to do include:

  • Replace a leaky faucet
  • Fix a running toilet
  • Replace a light switch
  • Install a lighting fixture
  • Repair holes in sheetrock
  • Touch up paint on a wall or trim
  • Install new appliances (i.e., dishwashers, washing machines, dryers)
  • Hang photo frames
  • Anchor bookshelves to walls
  • Clean gutters
  • Replace broken paving stones

Job Outlook for Handymen

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a positive picture for aspiring handymen. The average annual salary for general maintenance and repair workers is $40,850 or $19.64 per hour. Job growth between 2020 and 2030 is expected to increase by 8%, on par with the growth rate for all occupations during that period.

Many handymen work with individual homeowners. However, you could be contracted by an apartment complex, a real estate agent, a school or university, or other entities in need of your services on a regular basis.

Where to Find Handyman Training

Getting trained is the first step toward becoming a professional handyman. There are many ways to obtain the necessary skills, from formal coursework to DIY learning.

Vocational Schools and Community Colleges

Enrolling in a handyman course is the most formal way to learn the skills necessary to become a handyman. Many future tradespeople start in high school with shop and technical education classes. Vocational schools, adult education centers, and community colleges may offer handyman classes to further this learning and build upon it.

Apprenticeships

Working as an apprentice or assistant to an established handyman is another way to develop your handyman skills. Formal apprenticeships can take years to complete, and what you learn may be limited by your boss’ knowledge and expertise. However, this can be an excellent way to practice your skills while earning a wage.

Volunteer Work

Another way to gain hands-on handyman experience is through volunteer work. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity that build homes for the less fortunate could provide you with informal training and a chance to practice your handyman skills while networking and positively impacting your community. However, volunteer experience might not count towards any licensing requirements in your state.

Home-Based Learning

Working on your own home can be an effective way to learn simple home repairs. Your local library and online sites, such as YouTube, provide free resources for learning DIY home maintenance. Hands-on experience is great for practicing your handyman skills, but you may need to complete formal training to learn and master more complicated skills.

Starting a Handyman Business

Once you’ve mastered your handyman skills, it might be time to start your own business. There are many benefits to being your own boss, such as:

  • Setting your work hours
  • Controlling your prices and the services you provide
  • Choosing your clients and projects
  • Seeing your work positively impact homeowners

While many handymen offer various home repair services to their customers, you might set yourself apart by specializing in a specific area. This skill should be something you are experienced at but that is also profitable for your business. For example, if you are a whiz at appliance installation, you could highlight this service and market it to potential clients.

If you are considering starting your own handyman business, you may need to:

  • Research the local market, including sizing up the competition and reviewing their pricing
  • Choose a name and logo for your business
  • Apply for a business license, and register your business name (if necessary)
  • Set up separate business finances and apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS
  • Obtain a handyman license and/or work permits (if applicable)
  • Purchase business insurance
  • Create a marketing strategy to advertise your business and services

For more detailed information on setting up a small business, our guide to starting a profitable handyman business might help.

Do I need a license to become a handyman?

You do not need a handyman license in many states if you only complete minor repairs and home maintenance. Each state will define “minor” work differently, often through setting a minimum cost per project or total annual revenue for handyman services. For example:

  • California handymen do not need a license for projects that total under $500.
  • Handymen in Pennsylvania do not need a license, but you may need to register with the state if they make more than $5,000 per year doing home improvement work.
  • Ohio does not require handymen to be licensed for projects totaling less than $1,000.

Though you may not need a state-level license to work as a handyman, your city or local jurisdiction may require one. You might also need licenses at the state or local level to accept certain types of work, such as electrical or HVAC installation. It’s sensible to check the licensing requirements in your area when starting a handyman business or before accepting projects.

Business Insurance For Your Handyman Business

As you build your small business, you will probably want to protect it. Business insurance is one way for a professional handyman to shield their finances from common workplace risks. It may also be a requirement to get a handyman or business license in your state.

There are many types of business insurance to consider. As a handyman, you may find these forms the most beneficial:

  • General Liability – Third-party property damage and bodily injury claims are common risks for handymen. Your General Liability policy will cover events such as unintentionally breaking a customer’s belongings or causing a “slip and fall” accident that results in an injury.
  • Business Owners’ Policy – This coverage, often abbreviated as BOP, can be customized to protect you against various risks you might face. Your BOP might include equipment breakdown and business interruption, along with General Liability coverage.
  • Workers’ Compensation – Most states require businesses to have Workers Compensation coverage before hiring their first employee to protect against claims of workplace injury and illness. In some instances, you might be required to have a policy as a sole proprietor.

Business insurance can provide important protections for your small business. Instead of paying potentially expensive claims from your own pocket, your insurance policies would cover the costs associated with them for you. That way, your hard-earned cash stays in your account, where it can be reinvested into your handyman business.

Good Luck!

Professional handymen are an essential part of the home repair and remodeling industry. You help busy homeowners every day by doing the tasks they are unable to do themselves. With your assistance, they can take pride in their property and feel comfortable in their own homes!

Business insurance for handymen can help protect your growing business. Compare policies today with BizInsure.


*As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.
**This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your handyman license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.

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