A step-by-step guide about how to become a handyman in Ohio

Feb 14, 2022 · 6 minutes to read

Handyman with tools in tool-belt.

Starting up your own handyman business in Ohio can be a profitable and enjoyable venture. From job security, competitive rates to being your own boss, being a handyman has a lot to offer. While you may feel like you want to just start fixing stuff and making money, there are a few things to consider first.

Whether you are a known jack-of-all-trades already or a complete novice, this step-by-step guide will set you on your way to becoming a handyman in the buckeye state, whether it be in Toledo or Cincinnati.

Step 1: Consider formal education

While it’s not compulsory to complete formal training to be a handyman in Ohio, applying for a technical college or passing an apprenticeship will set you up in the long run. A handyman’s day-to-day can often involve dangerous activities and learning how to navigate them is important to longevity of not just your business, but yourself.

Technical colleges are specifically designed to provide you with a comprehensive program that’ll let you develop both your practical and theoretical skills in a safe environment. Getting started on your own can be intimidating. Technical colleges can fast-track your road to employment through providing you with network opportunities and lay the foundations for a long career as a handyman.

Similarly, completing an apprenticeship will give you a heap of experience that you can take and apply to your own handyman business. It places you at the ground floor of an actual company filled with a faculty of fellow handymen who has connections in Ohio circles.

They usually last three to five years and give you valuable on-site education and significant preparation for getting licensed.

Both technical colleges and apprenticeships also allow you to specialise in one craft, which can go a long way to developing a niche for your handyman business.

Step 2: Find out if there is a market for your handyman services

An essential step you when you are thinking about starting a handyman business is to assess the market. You may have the skills and the general know-how of getting things done, but if you open in an area that already has established handymen you might be losing out.

It’s simple supply and demand. Even if there is demand for your services in the area, the fact that there is an oversupply of handymen who already have an existing customer base means you are not needed.

Conversely, if you move to an area where there is no demand for handymen, your handyman service – or your supply – is also not needed.

Your number one priority is to find a regular customer base that need your handyman skills. But how do you do this? Firstly, check out what other local handymen are up too. While it might give you new ideas and pick up some good habits, it also allows you to see if you can exploit a niche in the market.

The good thing about being a handyman is that you are not just selling one thing – you can do a variety of different jobs. Stay alert and see what is being demanded but not supplied in your area and fill that space.

Step 3: Get Licensed

The first thing you might hear when you are entering the handyman industry is that Ohio doesn’t have a state-level handyman license. But what they don’t tell you is there are many types of handyman work that you will need a specific license to perform.

Special contractor license

A special contractor license is needed to do work that requires special training in order to perform. The individual requirements depend on what jobs you want to do and where you are in Ohio, but work in areas such as HVAC, refrigeration, hydronic, or plumbing usually require a special license.

Contractor specialty license applicants must:

  • Be a US citizen or a legal resident
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have at least five years of experience as a tradesperson in one or more contractor specialty areas.
  • Request an FBI background check.
  • Pass an examination in one or more of the specialty areas.
  • Purchase liability insurance.
  • Submit a notarized application packet.

Commercial Contractor license

A Commercial Contractor license is another type of license that handyman in Ohio often possess. Fortunately, they’ve made it simple for construction industry contractors to get licensed in Ohio. The state has standardized licensing for most trades, with most handyman jobs only requiring this type of license.

The criteria needed to obtain this license is like many special contractor licensing. You will also need to carry a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability coverage, which will be discussed in the next section. A $25 fee per license must be paid by specialty contractors in Ohio, while general contractors will need to contact local licensing boards

Handymen in some cities in Ohio are often limited to only do work on basic projects, such as painting or minor repairs, if they do not have either a specialty contractor or general contractor license. Some regulations also limit unlicensed handymen from charging more than $1000 per job and ban working on commercial properties.

So for these reasons, it’s recommended to get licensed if you are planning on doing more than the odd job.

Step 4:  Get handyman insurance in Ohio

Getting handyman insurance in Ohio is another essential step that you need to take before you can start your handyman business. While you may know your toolbox like the back of your hand and dedicate yourself to doing high-quality work, you need to be prepared for the occasional mistake. Accidents happen to the best of us and Bizinsure’s handyman contractor insurance in Ohio is there to protect your small business.

Handyman insurance could help protect your business finances from costly claims and lawsuits from unhappy clients, vendors, and other third parties. As previously mentioned, to meet the requirements for the Commercial Contractor license your handyman business legally has to carry a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability coverage in Ohio.

General Liability insurance* protects small businesses in the event of a third-party claim of injury and property damage. It is sometimes sold as commercial general liability (CGL) insurance or “slip and fall” coverage. A General Liability policy typically covers your legal expenses as well as the cost to remedy the situation, up to the policy limits. These protections usually apply even if a claim made against you has no merit.

General Liability coverage is available through BizInsure. With just a few clicks or a single phone call, you can get multiple competitive quotes from leading insurers for your handyman contractor insurance in Ohio.

Select your preferred policy and get coverage instantly, so the only thing you need to worry about is adding a bit of spark to your client’s day.

*As with any insurance, the 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.

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