There are many handyman myths floating around the internet. These false ideas often prevent talented tradespeople from starting their own businesses. They might mistakenly believe that the possible rewards aren’t worth the risk simply because they are working with faulty information.
This short handyman business guide helps bust some of the most common business myths about the trade, from your skill set to handyman insurance.
1. A good handyman can do everything.
Handymen are considered the jack of all trades in the home repair and maintenance world. Homeowners hire them to do a wide variety of jobs, such as:
- Replacing light bulbs and lighting fixtures
- Hanging shelves, artwork, or framed photos
- Patching drywall
- Fixing a leaky faucet or pipe
- Unclogging drains and toilets
- Repairing appliances, heaters, and HVAC systems
- Basic garden maintenance and landscaping
Looking at this list, you might think that you must know how to do everything before you can start a business. But that’s not necessarily true. Many handymen offer a limited number of services, especially when they’re first starting out.
It’s handy if you can help homeowners tick every item off their to-do list, but it’s not a requirement for starting a handyman business. Many handyman businesses offering limited services are profitable. As you develop your skills and learn new ones, you can begin to advertise these to customers. Of course, you might prefer to focus just on areas that are the biggest money-makers for your business.
2. Small jobs aren’t worth your time.
Many handymen avoid small jobs because they feel they’re not as profitable. Accepting a large project from one customer may seem like a wiser decision than helping five customers with small jobs. However, this may not always be the case. There are some great benefits to taking on smaller projects.
Small “to-do list” jobs can be very profitable if they’re planned well. This might be done by limiting your service area and setting a minimum price for your work. For example, you may be able to knock out four quick jobs in a single morning. If they’re priced at $75-100 per job, that’s not a bad day’s work!
Another benefit of small jobs is that they are generally less stressful. Larger projects might take several weeks to complete. You’ll need to order materials and possibly hire other contractors to help complete the work. These projects are usually more complex, requiring greater skill and closer management. So, while they may bring in the big bucks, you might decide that taking on a few each year is enough.
3. Charging by the job is the only way to make a profit.
Experienced handymen generally make more money by charging by the job rather than by the hour. They tend to know exactly how long a job should take, the amount of materials needed, and the work involved. For them, charging by the hour may not make much financial sense.
But what if you’re new to the handyman game? Writing an estimate takes time, especially if you don’t have the experience to guide you. In this case, it may be more profitable to charge an hourly rate.
Charging by the hour simplifies your pricing. Your customers know right away how much you charge, and you won’t be tempted to underbid (which is how handymen often lose money). This strategy can also help you weed out customers who might otherwise waste your time. They’ll likely leave you to your work in the hopes that you’ll finish early.
4. Business insurance isn’t necessary.
In many states, you don’t need a license or insurance to work as a handyman unless a project costs over a specified dollar amount (which varies from state to state). For this reason, many handypeople feel that handyman insurance is unnecessary. If a customer isn’t happy with your work, you’ll only need to refund them a few hundred dollars at most, right?
This is where many handypeople receive a rude awakening. An unhappy customer may mean more than just refunding a job. Damaged property and accidental injuries could leave you with medical bills, replacement costs, and other calls for compensation. These expenses would fall squarely on your shoulders if you don’t have insurance.
General Liability, tool coverage, and other types of handyman insurance help create a safety net for your small business. They protect your finances by paying the costs associated with claims and lawsuits for you, so you’re not left out-of-pocket if they happen.
Handyman myths busted!
Starting a small business is hard enough without myths and misinformation holding you back. As you strike out on your own, refer back to this quick handyman business guide if you need help separating fact from fiction!
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