Steps to Begin Your Own Handyman Business

Starting your own handyman business offers enormous potential. Along with becoming your own boss, you’re in control of your revenue, you can scale your business without limits and you have the opportunity to branch out into other areas when you’re ready.

If you’ve ever thought of starting a handyman business, you can earn a substantial income if you deliver quality service and work, along with dependability.

It’s probably somewhat overwhelming to think about starting a new handyman business, but the best thing to do is break it all down step-by-step, working through each as you create a thriving business.

What Is a Handyman?

The term handyman is a catchall term for a person of either gender who performs general repairs and maintenance. You can have a broad skill set and not be an expert in all areas or be specifically certified to work as a handyman. 

The general nature of the work is something that can be appealing to a lot of people.  

A handyman can work in commercial or residential environments. You might repair electrical or plumbing systems, work on heating systems, make minor surface repairs, paint, install light fixtures, and more.

When you work as a handyman, you’re like a manager of odd jobs. These odd jobs have to be done to keep a home or building functioning as it should. 

To become a handyman, you might be licensed in one specialty area, but it’s not a requirement. You could work for someone else to learn and build your skills. Some handymen will also learn skills by volunteering on construction projects for charities.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll probably be traveling to a variety of job sites throughout the day, which could involve working indoors and outdoors. Your days will vary a lot, which could be one of the many things appealing to you about starting this type of business.

Many of the tasks you could be hired to do are things homeowners could do on their own but don’t have the time, or maybe they aren’t physically able to. 

Types of Handyman Services

There are limitations to what a handyman can do. There are some areas of specialty where you can’t work without a license. Still, there’s a lot you can do when you provide these services.

  • General maintenance: Cleaning gutters, removing old grout, applying caulk, replacing window screens, removing dry rot, fixing doors, and lawn maintenance. 
  • Repairing flooring: Repair or refinish different types of floors (wood, vinyl, laminate, or concrete).
  • Deck work: Repair broken rails, replace deck boards, deck staining, and power wash outdoor areas.
  • Drywall repair: Patch-up drywall and stucco damage (cracks, holes, and dents)
  • Painting: Fresh and touch-up paint jobs for the interior and exterior of homes and buildings. 
  •  Assembly: Assemble furniture, cabinetry, or exercise equipment.
  • Installing trim: Install or repair trim, baseboards, door casings, and crown molding.
  • Replacing fixtures: Install faucets, replace door handles and cabinet pulls, and change out lighting fixtures that are already wired. 
  • Installing tile: Tile installation for floors, bathrooms, and kitchen backsplashes.

While it’s important to know what you can do, it’s also critical to understand what you can’t do. What you’re legally able to do depends on your state.

In most states, you can only do major construction like remodels or additions if you’re licensed as a contractor.

Some states have handyman exemptions. These are exceptions to licensing laws for contractors. The exceptions limit what you can do as a handyman based on the construction job’s cost. The exemption amounts usually vary between $500 and $3,000.

In some states, it’s illegal to do almost any electrical work if you don’t have a contractor’s license. State laws often prevent handymen from doing extensive plumbing work without a license. 

7 Steps to Start a Handyman Business

If you’re convinced you’re ready to start a handyman business, the following steps will get you there. 

Decide on the Service Offering

The first step to beginning a successful business is to define what you’re going to offer and the type of work you’re going to do. 

Maybe that’ll mean that you specialize in one particular area. The pros are that you can build your business based on your strengths and your skillset, and it can sometimes be easier to market and advertise when your focus is narrower. 

Your services could also be diverse if you’re a jack-of-all-trades.

Before you decide on the service or services you’ll offer, along with your skills, think about what you enjoy. 

What tools and equipment do you currently have, and will that work with your plans, or will you have to make investments?

How much demand will there be for your particular service area? 

These are all questions to ask yourself as you begin to plan your handyman business. 

Write a Business Plan

A business plan details your goals and how you’re going to achieve those. Having a business plan helps you get organized, and helps others see your vision, especially when asking for funding.

  1. Research your target market and competition: As you research, you should look at things like the homeowners in your area, the age of homes, and the demographics of people who are most likely to need handyman services. This part of your research will help you understand your potential customers and the demand for your services. You also want to look at the service providers already working in your area. How many are there? Do they focus on one service area or many? Is one particular area too saturated? Is there a demand for specific services? Who will your key competitors be?
  2. Outline your goals and objectives: Be specific with your goals and objectives. Here is where you’ll define your services. Define your short- and long-term goals. Your short-term goals will relate to the daily operations of your business. Your long-term goals are things you want to achieve, like when you hope to book a certain number of clients or reach a specific amount of revenue. 
  3. Create a financial plan: Your financial plan should include monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. If you’re just starting, you won’t have income statements, cash flow information, or balance sheets, but you can create projections of what you hope to achieve in the future. Early on, your financial plan will include spending estimates for hiring if you aren’t going to work alone. You might have to invest in new equipment. You should also plan for advertising and marketing costs to get the word out.  
  4. Choose your business name: When you choose a name for your business, you want something memorable that will be easy to keep at the top of people’s minds. Your business name is going to define your brand. It’s something you’re going to have for a long time. You’ll have to check your state’s naming guidelines to ensure you aren’t choosing something already being used. You don’t want a name too similar to your competitors, and you want the name to be web-friendly for your website and social media.

Develop a Schedule and Set Rates

When you’re setting a schedule for your business, you need to be efficient. You don’t want to spend too much time driving between jobs that could be better spent in other ways. 

You also want to ensure you accurately estimate how long jobs will take you so you don’t have scheduling problems. If you’re overestimating, you might finish early and have gaps you could have filled with other customers. If you’re underestimating, you might be rushed or late. This could affect your quality of service.

 When you’re developing a schedule, remember the following:

  • Don’t plan to schedule clients every day of the week. When you do that, it can cause burnout, and you might end up getting less work done. Give yourself downtime, and this will help you be more efficient and drive more revenue because your work quality will be higher.
  • Batch-schedule your small jobs. You might have jobs that will take thirty minutes to an hour, and rather than scheduling them throughout the week, schedule them together. Then you can get to them all at once and save other days for your larger, more time-consuming jobs.
  • If you have smaller jobs, you can schedule them in arrival windows rather than giving an exact time. This will give you some padding in your schedule.

When setting your rates, you’ll decide between variable or flat hourly rates, or you might prefer to do it by the job.

  • The average rate for a handyman is currently between $40 and $100. The national average rate is around $60.
  • You can organize your rate list based on the scope of the job rather than hourly. Is it small, medium, or large?
  • A small job takes a few tools and not much time. You might charge anywhere from $75-$150 for these jobs.
  • Medium jobs are more time-consuming and require some power tools. For a medium job, you might charge around $150-$300.
  • Large jobs can be more specialized in the work required and the tools you need. Depending on the work, you could charge from $300-$1,000 for a large job.

When you’re deciding on a rate, your location matters. Some cities and states are more expensive than others. For example, if you’re in a big metro, your rates might be higher than those in a rural area.

You will also have to decide on a radius you’ll work in, and if you go outside of it, you may charge extra.

Some handymen charge minimum fees. This means that if you charge by the hour, for example, you might have a two-hour minimum. Even if you work less than two hours, you’ll still bill for the two hours. If you bill this way, be upfront with customers about it.

When you’re deciding on your prices, you want balance. You want a profitable business but don’t want to overcharge your customers. You can figure this out by first determining your break-even point. Break-even is how much you need to ensure you aren’t losing money and are making a profit.

To calculate your break-even, you’ll look at:

  • Business expenses
  • Taxes
  • Cost of living
  • Your experience level

Once you have a break-even, you can determine how much you need to make hourly or per job. 

Choose Your Business Structure

The structure of your business will determine how much you pay in taxes. It also affects the paperwork needed to start your handyman business and your personal liability. Before registering your new business with your state, you need to decide on a structure. 

Sole Proprietorship

If you choose a sole proprietorship structure, you have just one owner. You aren’t incorporated and pay personal income tax on your business profits. You can operate under your own name because you don’t have to create a separate business name if you don’t want to. 

A sole proprietorship is simple as far as setting it up, and they’re popular with small business owners. When you grow, you can also transition to a limited liability business or corporation.

The big disadvantage of this business structure is that it lacks government protection. You’re taking a big risk because any liability is on you personally as the business owner.

Sole proprietors report income and expenses on their personal tax returns, paying income and self-employment tax on their profits. 

General Partnership

In a general partnership, two or more people agree to share responsibilities, as well as their profits and assets. If you have a general partnership, you both take on legal and financial responsibilities.

The risk of a general partnership is that both partners can be responsible for business debts. You could also be sued for the debts of your business, as can your partner.

A general partnership is what’s called a pass-through structure. This means that income goes directly to the business owners. Each partner then has to report their profits or losses on their personal tax return. Your partnership itself isn’t taxed.

General partnerships can lead to disagreements because each partner can decide to enter into deals and agreements without the other partner, yet both have to follow them. 

Limited Partnership

In a limited partnership, two or more partners are working together. Limited partners don’t have involvement in management for the most part, but they have liability that’s limited to whatever they invested in the business. 

This is most often used if you’re investing as a partner in a business but you aren’t going to work in it. It’s unlikely you’d use this structure if you’re starting a handyman business. 

Limited Liability Company

A limited liability company is also called an LLC. This structure protects you as a business owner and is a very popular option for people who start a handyman business.

An LLC combines parts of a sole proprietorship or partnership with a corporation. For some businesses, it can be the best of all worlds. You have the protection from personal responsibility for liabilities and debts, and you report your profits and losses on your individual tax returns.

LLCs are flexible, protecting you while also being easy to set up.

If you have an LLC, and you’re sued as a handyman, for example, your business structure will prevent your personal assets from becoming part of that. If you go bankrupt and have an LLC, your personal assets are also protected.

Since the profits go directly to you as the owner and are taxed as personal income, you avoid double taxation. Double taxation occurs when both a company and its owners are being taxed. 


A corporation separates you legally from your business. A corporation is taxed, can make a profit, and can be a legal liability. A corporation is your best protection from personal liability, but the cost to form one is higher. You also have to be careful with record-keeping and reporting if you start a corporation.

It could be that you start with something simpler and more flexible like an LLC, and then as your business grows and your needs change, you could become a corporation, but you certainly don’t have to. 

Corporations are typically geared toward medium or high-risk businesses that need to raise money or may go public. 

Register Your Business and Obtain Licenses and Permits

Registering and getting licensing for a business will depend on where you’re located, including your city and state. You may also need certain permits to do business. 

Your state may require you to get licenses that are specific to working as a handyman, as well as getting city licenses.

You’re also going to need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is used to identify your business entity. Every business, even one without employees, needs an EIN. This identifies your business for tax reasons, and it’s similar to a Social Security number. 

Purchase Necessary Equipment and Supplies

You may already have the necessary equipment and supplies to launch your handyman business. If not, think back to your business plan. What are your goals, who are your targeted customers and what services will you offer? This will help you figure out the equipment and supplies you need now and what can wait.

It’s better to start small, with the basics, and then, as you grow, you can expand your offerings and buy new equipment.

You might apply for a business credit card at this point too. To qualify for a business credit card or any kind of business financing, you’ll need to share both business and personal financial information.

You’ll have to provide your business name, legal structure, industry, estimated monthly spending, and EIN. 

It’s also a good time to set up a business bank account if you don’t already have one because you always want to keep your finances separate to avoid confusion and liability issues. 

Market Your Business

When marketing your new business, there are in-person and traditional approaches, plus online and digital channels to pursue. It’s an exciting time to be a business owner because many marketing options are available online. They’re accessible and affordable.

Two things to start with are a website and social media profiles. You might be able to make your own website; if not, you can hire a web design contractor. Get a domain name as close as possible to your business name to keep your branch cohesive.

With social media, start with where your targeted customers will most likely spend time. For example, Facebook and Instagram are two options. Complete your profiles to let people know what you offer.

As you get clients, word-of-mouth will become critical in your marketing. Every time you do work for someone, encourage them to leave a review for you on your social media pages and also on sites like Yelp.

You can also promote yourself on sites like Angi, especially as you’re getting started and may have less visibility.

For in-person marketing, think about partnering with other local businesses. For example, maybe you can do free work for a local business in exchange for them posting about your company on their social media profiles.

You can also attend local networking events to get the word out. Your personality will become the face of your brand, so put yourself out there as much as possible to connect with new opportunities. 

If you have a bit of a budget for marketing to start with, you can grow your business through paid advertising on Google, social media, or your local media.

A handyman service has the unique advantage of being well-suited to print advertising. It’s relatively inexpensive to send out mailers or put up signs in the community as advertising. 

Are You Ready to Start Your Business?

If you’re ready to go, doola has everything you need to start, operate, and grow your business as a handyman wherever you live. As your business expands, doola’s Bookkeeping services are easy to track your expenses, stay compliant and keep up with your taxes while you watch your profits grow. 


The following are answers to some questions you may have about starting your own business as a handyman.

How profitable is a handyman business?

The profitability of a handyman business depends on your level of service and what you can do, your marketing, and how much growth you experience. Earning six figures with a handyman business each year is possible, especially as you grow.

Is handyman a good business to start?

A handyman business can be excellent to start because it requires low overhead and is scalable, which is good if you don’t have much money to put into it upfront. Handyman services will also always be in demand because everyone needs maintenance work done around their homes.

What do most handyman charge per hour?

It varies depending on your location, the scope of the project, and your skill set and experience, but the national average for handymen is around $60 an hour.

Do you need qualifications to be a handyman?

You don’t necessarily need any educational qualifications or certifications, but to be a handyman, it’s good to have some experience in contracting and work similarly to what you hope to do for clients. 

What is a good name for a handyman business?

Create a name that’s unique but not overly so. Your name should be easy to remember, and it should be something that’s going to work well across all of your branding and marketing.

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