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Handyman Service

 
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Handyman Service


Not sure if this is the right spot for this. Please move if its not. Sorry in advance.

Im kicking around the idea of starting a handyman service, i feel comfortable doing a little bit of everything. If a bigger job comes along ill play it by ear to step down.

Now i have a general idea on how to start but hints, tips and tricks are always welcome.

I will not be doing work that will require a permit (like i said bigger job) just some odds and ends things. I.e paint a room, fix a door, chalk a tub, ext.

Should i invest in cards? How should i go about with a work order, if any? Im not the best business man ever, ill swing a hammer all day though.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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Re: Handyman Service


As a semi retired carpenter I work as a handyman.

I enjoy it because i go from one thing to another.

Try it, you might like it.

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Old 03-14-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Framer53
As a semi retired carpenter I work as a handyman.

I enjoy it because i go from one thing to another.

Try it, you might like it.
Thats the plan. Want to start makeing some extra coin on the side. Any advice for a new guy?
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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Re: Handyman Service


I've been doing this for quite some time now. I have a contract I seldom use and business cards I seldom hand out. I have been lucky...all of my work has been word of mouth from the very start. I started out doing a lot of work for a realtor, who was a slum landlord. Word just got around. I do woodworking also but not as much as I do handyman stuff. For me, either the woodworking stuff has gotten me in the door with handyman stuff or vice-versa.
Most of my clientele are retired folks. I clean windows, gutters, pressure wash, light electrical, light plumbing, tile work, drywall work & repair, lots of painting, trim (lots of crown), misc yard work, etc, etc, etc.
One thing that has gotten me through some of the leaner times is this... I have 3 customers that will guarantee me 2 days (16 hours) of work per month. For that guarantee, they get a reduced rate on labor. They have to let me know in advance what they want done so I can get the materials needed while I'm out & about. The clock starts when I leave my driveway. They pay for the ride to and I pay for it fro.
This type of thing has led to more work just by passersby's..."do you do this or that"? "Yes ma'am...I do".
Anyway, I always say that I do all the dirty or little jobs nobody else wants.
It comes in handy that I also have a severe addiction to tools. I love buying tools I cannot live without and have never used.
It's worked out well for me.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:36 PM   #5
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Re: Handyman Service


I take it you're currently an employee, and want to start this up on the side? Nothing wrong with that, as long as you're not using the boss's tools (or his customers, without asking him).

Definitely have business cards. Get some insurance for a few hundred bucks, because you need that for PA's HIC registration, which will give you one heckuva lot more credibility. Oh, and register as a HIC.

Pick up some software for tracking everything and invoicing. Quickbooks Pro is pretty decent.

If you're going to make this fly, you have to be professional about it. If the investment of a few hundred dollars backs you off, you're not ready.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinstaafl
I take it you're currently an employee, and want to start this up on the side? Nothing wrong with that, as long as you're not using the boss's tools (or his customers, without asking him).

Definitely have business cards. Get some insurance for a few hundred bucks, because you need that for PA's HIC registration, which will give you one heckuva lot more credibility. Oh, and register as a HIC.

Pick up some software for tracking everything and invoicing. Quickbooks Pro is pretty decent.

If you're going to make this fly, you have to be professional about it. If the investment of a few hundred dollars backs you off, you're not ready.
I have no.problem droppin a few hundred if i know im gonna make it back. Im just a little concerned about how to go about getting those smaller jobs. Ive done jobs for family and friends but none via word of mouth
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:27 PM   #7
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpenter eyes View Post
I have no.problem droppin a few hundred if i know im gonna make it back. Im just a little concerned about how to go about getting those smaller jobs. Ive done jobs for family and friends but none via word of mouth
Make up a letter and send it out to everyone you've done work for announcing what you are offering.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:29 PM   #8
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robie

Make up a letter and send it out to everyone you've done work for announcing what you are offering.
Isent that soliciting??
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:32 PM   #9
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpenter eyes View Post
Isent that soliciting??
If I sent a business update to folks I've already done work for...I'd call that marketing.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robie

If I sent a business update to folks I've already done work for...I'd call that marketing.
touche
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:40 PM   #11
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Re: Handyman Service


This last few weeks was the first time in 14 years I've ever advertised on Craigslist, figured why not try it. While ignoring a kazillion spam/scam emails I picked up two separate jobs/each being a full day and checking out two more this weekend. Great fillers and best of all it's free....but as mentioned about the HIC, the only reason I got the contacts (per conversation with HO) was that I am licensed
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:58 AM   #12
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Re: Handyman Service


I'm another carpenter that does small repairs and maintenance work as well as renovations.

I second the advice on cards and insurance..

Another thing that has helped me is a website..while work you get from word of mouth is definitely the best (people tend to be a bit more comfortable IMO) if you do marketing a website will help big time.

Try Yolasite. You can build your own for free, upload pictures and a description of what you do.

That's the other thing. Take pictures of your work, before and after.

Good also to have some cash in the bank for a rainy day-in the winter you can have some slow times when just starting out in business.

Show up when you say you will, provide a proper estimate/quote, do a good job, clean up after yourself, keep yourself and your vehicle presentable, return phone calls/emails, and you should be fine..

One thing i've learned-don't be afraid to turn down a job if you have a gut feeling that you really don't want to do it-either because of the job itself or the customer. Some jobs just aren't worth doing, could save you a lot of stress (or time and money) by just moving onto a better job.
good luck
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:18 AM   #13
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Re: Handyman Service


Find out what you are allowed to do and what you can't. In Georgia to do electrical, Plumbing,and Hvac you have to be licensed. That means no hanging a ceiling fan even though it's really easy. Know your limitations. If you aren't confident in your abilities get someone to help that knows how to do it. You can get paid to learn and still offer service. Remember if you don't do it right you will have to go back and do it over for free. It's allways better to do it right the first time.

Get nice business cards. Give 2 of them to everyone you meet. One for them, one for their friends. I just ordered 2000 for 70 bucks. It's worth it. Put your cards on the bulletin boards at the local hardware stores, paint stores, and grocery stores.

Have insurance. Hopefully it will be a waste of money. But if you ever need it it will be worth every penny.

Do the best work you can do even when you might have underbid the job. The job itself is advertising and you don't want someone to see a half assed job with your name on it. You will underbid. Recognize it when it happens and raise your prices. It will keep all of us in business longer.

Don't be afraid to ask questions about things you don't know. Doing "Handyman" work is harder than just having one trade. You have to know at least the basics of many trades. You also need the tools for many trades so it is more exspensive.

Hope this helps. Good Luck.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:21 AM   #14
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robie View Post
I've been doing this for quite some time now. I have a contract I seldom use and business cards I seldom hand out. I have been lucky...all of my work has been word of mouth from the very start. I started out doing a lot of work for a realtor, who was a slum landlord. Word just got around. I do woodworking also but not as much as I do handyman stuff. For me, either the woodworking stuff has gotten me in the door with handyman stuff or vice-versa.
Most of my clientele are retired folks. I clean windows, gutters, pressure wash, light electrical, light plumbing, tile work, drywall work & repair, lots of painting, trim (lots of crown), misc yard work, etc, etc, etc.
One thing that has gotten me through some of the leaner times is this... I have 3 customers that will guarantee me 2 days (16 hours) of work per month. For that guarantee, they get a reduced rate on labor. They have to let me know in advance what they want done so I can get the materials needed while I'm out & about. The clock starts when I leave my driveway. They pay for the ride to and I pay for it fro.
This type of thing has led to more work just by passersby's..."do you do this or that"? "Yes ma'am...I do".
Anyway, I always say that I do all the dirty or little jobs nobody else wants.
It comes in handy that I also have a severe addiction to tools. I love buying tools I cannot live without and have never used.
It's worked out well for me.
Ditto. Welcome to my world.

And it will help you tremendously if you know the right people to dish you work.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:28 AM   #15
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by dsconstructs View Post
This last few weeks was the first time in 14 years I've ever advertised on Craigslist, figured why not try it. While ignoring a kazillion spam/scam emails I picked up two separate jobs/each being a full day and checking out two more this weekend. Great fillers and best of all it's free....but as mentioned about the HIC, the only reason I got the contacts (per conversation with HO) was that I am licensed
When you advertise on CL, you have to HIDE your email address and then put it in your message or a link to you web page where your email is listed. I didn't do this first either and yes the amount of spam is crazy but once I learned to use the option to hide my email address I was spam free. Just make sure you put it in your message or a link to your web page where they can get your number and email address.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:27 AM   #16
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Re: Handyman Service


I am a retired industrial electrician, but remodeled many of my own houses and worked for relatives all my life. So when I RETIRED, ha ha!, I took up this business, which I prefer to call as Home Services & not handyman.........

I registered my business with the county, bought liability ins, and bought business cards. That was 6 yrs ago & I have been busy all the time. I have many customers that have been with me from the start. I cover just about everything in or around the home. I Just love it, as it is extra money & so satisfying...........

Buy Job Invoice books with your own copys & don't rip them out of the books. Then it is easy for bookkeeping which I do myself. I tried quickbooks,etc, but to me was just an extra step. Of course everyone has their own ways.

DON'T be tied up with relatives once you start this business. IT has to be all Business once you make the step.........Good Luck!!
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:53 AM   #17
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Re: Handyman Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by PS0303 View Post
When you advertise on CL, you have to HIDE your email address and then put it in your message or a link to you web page where your email is listed. I didn't do this first either and yes the amount of spam is crazy but once I learned to use the option to hide my email address I was spam free. Just make sure you put it in your message or a link to your web page where they can get your number and email address.
Excellent point, I quickly removed the email address from showing and it did slow down the spam/scams but not completely for me. That's alright though, easy enough to delete the bs to get to some $.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:09 AM   #18
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Re: Handyman Service


Also, agree with the comment about a website. Even if it's a simple one to start to give people a place to check your work/read about your services. Not just that but to help make you look established, including a facebook page/G+ page etc.
I have a kitchen remodel coming up that the customer chose to contact me only after stalking me across the internet LOL They liked the website, and continued digging and seeing that I had a current facebook page, G+ page etc they "knew I wasn't trying to hide from anything"
In the end most important IMO is keeping in mind, referrals/repeat customers are KING of all leads. Do what you do well, and don't be afraid to pass on the ones that you aren't qualified or comfortable with.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:32 AM   #19
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Re: Handyman Service


I just did the free CL ad following the above advice for carpenter work. Thanks for the advice. I check out the other ads and out of the 14 that have been placed none are Lic or insured. A couple even said that they can work cheaper then a Lic person. Yeah Ok. I even worked on why it is better to have Lic and insured contractors do the work when they call. I will post next week to see how it works.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:29 PM   #20
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Re: Handyman Service


Thank you for the advice so far guys

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