Handy Business

Startup Costs: $2,000 - $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

If you are handy with a hammer and able to build IKEA furniture without losing your mind, you can really nail success as a handyman or handywoman. There is a national shortage of skilled workers, which is why many people find it difficult to get to show up for smaller jobs. So if you have a variety of skills — from hanging shelves to painting to solving minor plumbing issues — setting yourself up as an all-around fix-it person is a surefire way to build a lucrative business.

"Handy person services paint, repair flooring, and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems, among other tasks," the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports of this profession. In 2022, adds the BLS, the median pay for a "handyman" was $45,000, or about $22 an hour (which may be a low estimate; see our handyman's quotes below.)

Clearly, there is an unending need for handyman services; individuals in this segment are limited only by the extent of their training and the state certifications they hold (i.e., you must have a plumber's license to legally work on plumbing issues).

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How much money can you make as a handyperson?

"The lowest, you'd probably make the same as someone working in a fast food restaurant -- if you're just a guy jumping around on a bus or bicycle and they don't have vehicles. Once they reach a level like mine or higher they're definitely in the six figures"  -- Alan McNair, licensed contractor/handyman and owner (doing business in the five boroughs of New York under the name Got Work?).

What are the startup costs?

"There're different levels: you're looking at $100,000 minimum. At my level I have vehicles, I have equipment, supplies, warehouses, manpower, a payroll, licenses. For someone smaller the mandatory legal part is  you have to have half a million dollars of insurance; workers compensations -- ar least $2 million -- you should have a membership with the Better Business Bureau, not to mention social media and paying somebody to do that for you as well. There's lots of overhead; you can't start by just handing out flyers anymore" — Alan McNair, licensed contractor/handyman

What kind of experience do you need to have?

"Got to a technical school like Apex Tech and get a journeyman's license, which is a license you get for certification by working for a plumbing or electrical supply company; they can certify you as a journeyman" — Alan McNair

What’s the most important thing to know about this business?

"Having hands-on experience because books don't teach you anything. The most important thing is expertise: knowing what the problems are, the solutions arae before you get the job" — Alan McNair

Booking customers

“[Breezeworks] has saved me a lot of stress with handling appointments alone. It has literally saved me hours, even days, of work a week with my receipts, my invoicing and my books. It keeps me organized and gives a professional front to my brand that I think really sets me apart from the competition.” — Ramon “Ray” Gonzales III of Nashville, Tenn.-based Hey Ray Handyman

Related: Get the No.1 Guide to Starting Your Own Business


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