Starting a Handyman Business: Things You Need to Know

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If you always try to improve your home by doing all the odd jobs or fixing minor repairs, starting a handyman business might be a great option for you!

So let’s have a look at what you need to know about starting your own handyman business. This guide will explain what exactly a handyman does, what skills and qualifications you need to become one, how to choose your prices and much more!

What does a handyman do?

A handyman or handywoman carries out all different maintenance jobs, including repair and home improvement work such as putting up shelves, and curtain rails, changing light bulbs, assembling furniture, painting and basic plumbing or kitchen fitting. They might also carry out some outdoor work such as clearing drains and gutters or be called out to deal with emergency situations like leaks or breakages.

A handyman can work both with house owners directly and with letting agents, housing associations, hotels, care homes or other commercial property owners.

a handywoman fixing a sink

What skills and qualifications do you need to start a handyman business?

Even though there are no qualifications legally required to start and run your handyman business, there are a number of skills you need to be successful.

To begin with, you need to understand building and construction and have knowledge of DIY, repair, painting, decorating, tiling, joinery and basic plumbing. You also need to be physically strong as some jobs might require heavy lifting.

If you don’t have some of the essential skill or lack industry experience, it’s always a great idea to take some relevant courses. One of the options is a four-day General DIY Home Handyman Course by The DIY School. This course costs £499 and will help you learn things such as how to fix dripping taps, unblock sinks, change door handles and locks, repair plaster areas and more.

Moreover, no matter what business you start, there are some business skills you will need to succeed. These include financial literacy, communication, marketing and sales skills and more.

But even if you don’t have some of those business skills, don’t let it stop you from going self-employed! All those skills can be learnt and we’re always here to help.

Things you need to do before starting your handyman business

Write a business plan

A business plan is an essential document that helps turn an idea into an actual business. It guides you through every stage of setting up and running as it outlines what you need to do in order to successfully launch and grow your business.

A well-written business plan can also help you secure funding, attract great employees and prepare for future scenarios.

Once you have your business plan written, you will know how your business fits in the market, how many competitors you have and how you stand out from them as well as how you are going to market your new business.

We have an article that explains what exactly has to go into a business and how to write it yourself.

before starting a handyman business, you need to write a business plan

Do market research

Before starting a business, you need to know that it has the potential to grow and be successful.

The first thing you need to do is identify your ideal customer. It will help you come up with appropriate marketing and sales techniques, so you give your customer what they want instead of what you think they want.

When researching your target audience, you need to identify basic characteristics such as age, gender and location as well as their socioeconomic status and psychographics. As you can see, it’s not enough to say that your ideal customer is anyone who owns a garden!

When you know your target audience, it’s time to test your idea with real people! Find a small group of people that matches your ideal customer and speak to them about your business idea. You can use online surveys, focus groups or even face-to-face interviews. Find out what they like and dislike about your idea. This will help you understand what changes you need to make and how to actually reach your audience.

It’s important to note that the survey conducted to mark National Gardening week 2022 found out that only 7% of the UK have hired a professional to carry out any garden improvements as most people prefer taking care of their gardens themselves. This means that you need to do very careful research and find out whether garden owners in your area will want to use your services.

Work out your costs and find funding

If you already have all the equipment needed to set up a handyman business, then you won’t need big starting capital. But if you’re starting from zero, all the tools and equipment can cost around £5,000 plus the price of a vehicle. You also need to consider the prices of insurance, marketing materials and premises.

While most people run their handyman business from a home-based workshop, others rent a small commercial or industrial unit. If you decide to rent premises, the cost will also include utility bills, business rates and solicitor's costs.

Once you work out your costs, you can then start thinking about how you’re going to fund your business. Not everyone is able to fund everything with their own savings. That’s why there are a number of options you can choose from, including getting a loan.

when starting a handyman business, it's important to work out your cost, so you can find funding
Photographer: Annie Gray | Source: Unsplash

Choose your prices

So how much can you earn when you start your handyman business?

Well, that really depends on how much you charge, the area you work in and how many hours you work.

As a handyman, you can either charge fixed rates for a particular job or an hourly labour rate + extra charges for materials required.

When it comes to charging hourly rates, you can expect from around £15 per hour in rural areas and up to £45 per half an hour in big cities. It also depends on the type of task, the urgency and the time of the day (you can charge more if work has to be done as quickly as possible and during ‘unsociable’ hours, such as weekends or late evenings).

Another thing to consider when choosing your prices is competition. Have a look at what your competitors are charging. The prices your competitors charge aren’t always the best for your business, so don’t just copy what someone else does. But if you have industry experience, provide high-quality service and there’s a demand for handymen, there’s no reason you should charge less than your competitors!

Register your handyman business

Before you start trading, you need to register your business to be legally recognised.

As the first step of registering your business, you need to choose a legal structure that fits your business. The options are registering as a sole trader, limited company or partnership. The process of registering depends on the type of your business.

Learn more about how to register your business here.

Things you need to be aware of when running a handyman business

What insurance your need

When starting a handyman business, there are several types of insurance you need to get:

  • Public liability insurance. This insurance covers you against injury to members of the public or claims against accidental damage.
  • Professional indemnity insurance that covers you against claims arising from construction errors such as not using the correct materials.
  • Personal accident insurance, which can cover medical costs and loss of income after suffering an injury.
  • Employers liability insurance if you have any employees.
  • Tool and equipment cover that covers your equipment against accidental damage and theft.
  • Cover for use of ant vehicles for business purposes.

Business rates

No matter if you trade from a commercial property or work from home, you need to be aware of business rates.

Business rates, also known as non-domestic rates, are a tax paid on business properties. It works very similar to council tax. It’s an annual bill issued on the 1st of April for the year ahead. It can be paid in full or by monthly instalments. The money collected contributes to the cost of services, such as police, education and housing provided by local authorities.

If you work from home, you might need to pay business rates too. But this will only apply if you use part of your home exclusively for business.

Read more about business rates here.

whether you're running your handyman business from home or from commercial property, you need to be aware of business rates

Providing quotations

It’s a good idea to provide your customers with a written estimate or quotation before agreeing to commence work. Any quotation should state the price and what is included in it.

Waste disposal

As a handyman, you will be producing trade waste such as bricks, wood, waste plasterboard etc. You must make sure that any trade waste you produce is properly and safely disposed of by a registered carrier. Registering as a waste carrier differs across the UK. Find out more:

How to promote your handyman business

It can be difficult to attract your first clients. But there are a number of things you can do to promote your new business:

  • List your business on consumer comparison sites such as Checktrade (costs from £70 per month + VAT), MyHammer (free basic listing or premium listing from £12 per month + VAT) or MyWorkman (costs £30 per quarter + VAT).
  • Build your network by attending industry or networking events and connecting with commercial customers, such as buy-to-let landlords or hotel owners.
  • Create your own website. People expect every professional business to have a website that contains all the essential information such as what services you provide, prices and contact details. To find out more about legal requirements for a business website, read here.
  • Use social media. Yes, even handymen need social media pages! It can give a better insight into what you do as well as your personality. People what to be sure you’re reliable, so sharing behind the scenes of your business as well as some tips related to your field can build trust and make people want to hire you!
  • Use local advertising. If you have a budget, you can promote your business in local newspapers, magazines or radio stations. You can also choose a cheaper option – leaflets. Let people know you’re starting a handyman business in their local area and show what they can expect from you. You can use leaflets to promote special offers and savings. When dropping leaflets, you might even get a chance to speak to your potential customers on the spot! This can make them trust you more and call you later to book your services!
  • Add your business to Google My Business. This allows people to find your business easily as well as lets you edit and update the information that appears in search results and maps. After registering, you can also reply to customer reviews.
  • Provide excellent service. This is probably the best way to promote your business! If you exceed your customer’s expectations, they will recommend your services to someone they know or will share a positive review online. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools, as people are more likely to trust someone else’s recommendation than adverts created by a company.

Are you ready to turn your passion into a successful handyman business?

We have a team of dedicated business advisors that have helped start hundreds of businesses. And now they are ready to help you!

Contact us here and start your journey with us today.