Essential Handyman Skills to Grow and Grab Opportunities

May 9, 2022 · 5 minutes to read

A handyman installs a lock in the door using a drill screwdriver

You need to learn and master various trade skills to become a handyman, such as plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry. However, being a handyman requires more than just knowing how to work with your hands. There are other skills you’ll likely need to acquire to make your small business a success.

While you may not think of time management or bookkeeping as traditional handyman skills, they may be just as essential as your handyman qualifications. This article covers three areas you might consider developing as you build your handyman business: home maintenance and building, business operations, and interpersonal skills.

Home Maintenance and Building Skills

These are probably what you think of when you hear “handyman skills”. Consider these the essential services your customers will likely expect you to provide.


Many handymen offer basic carpentry services to their customers, including installing cabinets, making shelves, repairing broken furniture, or anchoring shelves to walls. However, you may need a license before accepting larger jobs. Cabinet making, home remodels, and building decks or porches are considered large carpentry projects.


Handymen can often handle small electrical work. This includes jobs such as replacing light switches or installing lighting fixtures. You may need a license to perform electrical work in your area to ensure that you are adequately trained and can safely work with electricity.


Performing basic plumbing work is often a big part of a handyman’s job. This may include fixing a running toilet or leaky faucet, unclogging drains, and replacing kitchen and bathroom fixtures. As with other skills, you may need a plumbing license before taking on more complex projects, like replacing pipes or replacing a water heater.


Customers often hire handymen for household painting projects. You may need to prime and paint walls or touch up small areas after completing other work. Re-staining woodwork and applying waterproof sealing to decks and porches are also considered painting jobs.

Appliance Installation & Repair

Installing and maintaining home appliances—such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers—can combine your electrical, plumbing, and carpentry talents.

General Maintenance

Beyond the we’ve already covered, many other tasks are required to keep a home in working order. Customers may call you to clean gutters, replace carpeting, replace paving stones, repair cracks in their driveway, or wax floors, among other jobs.

Business Operation Skills

While it’s crucial to learn handyman skills like those discussed above, they’re not the only abilities you’ll need. Running a business requires its own skills that you may need to master.

Record Keeping

Small businesses need to keep accurate records, handyman companies included. Record keeping involves organizing receipts, writing invoices, filing permit applications, and renewing licenses on time. Documenting your work through before and after photos could also be considered record keeping.

Bookkeeping & Accounting

Accurate record-keeping is part of bookkeeping and accounting. Financial documents and statements can help you stay on budget and understand which jobs are the most profitable for your business. Careful bookkeeping and accounting could also make tax time much less stressful!


Finding new customers can help you grow your business. A strong marketing plan could help you reach the people in your area most likely to hire you. Marketing a small business involves activities like building a website, maintaining social media accounts for your company, advertising, and even putting your logo and phone number on your work vehicle.

Time Management

With hard work and a little luck, you could find yourself very busy with customer jobs! This is where good time management skills come into play. Accurately estimating how long projects will take can help you set reasonable customer expectations and stay on schedule. It can help you better plan your days, so you can make the most of your working hours.

Interpersonal Skills

Many handymen are sole proprietors—a single person working on their own. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll never need to interact with others. Strong interpersonal skills can help you work well with customers and other tradespeople.


Even handymen need to be strong communicators. Getting information across to your customers is essential, whether you’re writing an invoice or talking them through an issue.

Patience & Conflict Resolution

While we hope that every customer is a dream to work with, this probably will not be the case. Some customers may require extra patience, and you may need to use your conflict resolution skills to diffuse difficult situations from time to time. These abilities can go a long way towards avoiding negative reviews and keeping customers.


Handymen are typically called to work on small projects by themselves. But, there may be times when you need to work with other tradespeople. Working well with others can help projects go smoothly, whether you are putting the finishing touches on a project or handing work off to a more experienced pro.

How to Improve Handyman Skills

Developing strong handyman skills, as well as learning business management and honing your interpersonal abilities, could help your business grow. If you are missing any of these skills or feel like you need a refresher, you might consider training options.

Trade schools could help you brush up on your carpentry, plumbing, or other skilled trade talents. Community colleges are a good option for learning business management, including basic accounting and marketing. Online seminars are available to help you improve your interpersonal skills.

As you can see, being a handyman is more than just knowing how to swing a hammer. Business management and interpersonal abilities are also essential handyman skills to add to your toolbox!

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