How to start a home repair business

Starting a home repair business is a great way to get your feet wet as an entrepreneur. There is a fairly low barrier for entry because you can start out as a one-person operation and the cost to start up is low.

I started my handyman business as a solo operation in 2012 and continue to operate in this manner. It can be very profitable (think six-figure income), low risk, I work for myself, and most importantly, I enjoy it.

During the last ten years as a professional handyman, I’ve learned a ton. In this article, I share a simple, step-by-step process for starting a home repair business. Obviously, this is somewhat simplified, but it should be enough to point you in the right direction.

Once you get more serious, you can check out my complete step-by-step guide here.

Since you are interested in starting a home repair business, you are probably handy and possess most of the skills required, or at least enough repair skills to get started. A common misconception most people have about this industry is that you need to have a ton of construction experience and know-how to do everything. This just isn’t so and I’m living proof. If you have the desire to help people, can work well with your hands, and can solve common problems with a home, that’s all you really need.

Okay, so enough talking about why this business is so great. Let’s get down to how to start a home repair business.

It’s as easy as 1,2,3………4,5,6…….7,8…OK, there are a few steps.

As with any other business, there should be a lot of thought and planning during the initial setup. I’m not a fan of writing a business plan and believe it’s only necessary if you are trying to get outside funding. However, some planning and research are essential before you dive in.

Step 1: Are you cut out for this business?

The success of your home repair business isn’t going to be determined by how smart you are or how well you planned your attack from the beginning. The long-term success of your business will be determined by your motivation and your ability to get stuff done. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, the motivation will slowly wither away and so will the profits. Hopefully, you actually enjoy working with your hands and fixing stuff.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you are a self-starter or need direction and external motivation in order to be effective. You’re in charge, and nobody is going to be holding you accountable to get critical tasks done or make tough decisions.

Step 2:  What services are you going to offer?

Start by listing your handy skills and then try to figure out which services you would enjoy doing.

Are there any services that get you excited to think about? I know that I really enjoy setting up home theatre systems so that is one of the primary services that I offer. Whenever I get the chance to set one up, it’s the highlight of my work week.

Oftentimes people enjoy what they are good at. If you are really good at repairing washing machines you might find yourself enjoying it even though somebody else would hate it. That feeling of excelling and being the best at what you do can really make a difference and keep you motivated.

Licensing is required for certain trades and the laws governing these licenses vary in each state. Make sure to check your state laws before offering or advertising any home repair services.

Another thing to consider when deciding what services to offer is your target customer, which leads to the next step.

Step 3:  Whose homes will you repair?

Choosing a customer base is a very important part of the process and there are a couple of things that are worth considering. First, choose a customer base that actually needs home repairs and is willing to pay for it.

That second part is critical.

An example that immediately comes to mind is single women 50+ that live alone. These customers not only have money but are more than willing to give it to an honest home repair person so they can live comfortably. This is only one example and there are several profitable customers to target.

The second thing to consider (something that most people forget about) is the type of client you want to work with. Liking the customers you serve will make business much more enjoyable.

Now that you’ve chosen your target market, getting to know them will help you reach them with advertisements. Try to learn how they shop and where they go when they need a home repair, and then be found in those places.

For more on choosing a target market: Targeting the Right Customers

Step 4: Setting up Shop

Now that you know what home repair services you will provide and who you will provide them to, it’s time to get everything in order so can start raking in the cash. You may choose to postpone some of these steps and complete them as you go, but keep in mind that it gets more difficult to focus on these items while balancing a full schedule.

Here is a list of some of the tasks you should complete for the initial setup.

  1. Choose a name for your home repair business.
  2. Choose a business structure for your business.
  3. Open a business bank account.
  4. Have a logo designed. It helps you look professional and helps your customers remember you.
  5. Get some business cards and begin handing them out right away.
  6. Set up a business address separate from your home address.
  7. Get some liability insurance if necessary.
  8. Buy the essential home repair tools.
  9. Get the software you need to make running your business easy.

When I started my home repair business, the first thing I did was tell my friends and family what I was doing. This allowed me the opportunity to start getting business right away and helped fund some of the items on the above list. It’s not likely that you will be overwhelmed with business from telling friends and family, but it may just provide that extra bit of money and motivation you need to move forward.

Step 5: Market Your Services

This is where you will spend the majority of your time during the first couple of months in business. Just because you set up this awesome & well-branded business doesn’t mean that phone calls are going to immediately start pouring in. People don’t know you exist and it’s time to let them know.

So, whenever you aren’t working for a customer, you should be working on your marketing.

What’s the best way to advertise a home repair business you ask?

Well, the quickest way to get customers is probably Thumbtack or Angie – but these options are also expensive and frustrating.

Craigslist is a low-cost tool to consider, but this will tend to attract low-paying customers.

When it comes to the best way to advertise, there’s actually no contest. A well-optimized website and online presence will generate more leads and customers than any other method you could possibly consider. And, if done properly, it’s very cost-effective.

In fact, all of the leads I get are generated completely free (well, other than the cost to keep my website live, which is about $15/month).

Can you succeed as a home repair expert?

If you’re reading this, you’re obviously considering the home repair business as your next career move, and probably wondering if you can make it work.

Is there enough demand to support another home service pro? Can you make a decent income by repairing homes?

Surprisingly, there seems to be an endless demand for good repair people, and the market continues to grow. With an aging population and people outsourcing more of their tasks than ever, more and more people need this kind of service.

You can make an excellent income providing home services IF you are willing to work hard and provide a quality service. In fact, I’ve personally made up to $200 per hour on certain repairs, and typically average about $90-$100 per hour.

If you’re serious about starting a home repair business, whether part-time or full-time, then I recommend you start by downloading my free report below. Not only will it help you avoid common mistakes, but it will give you a ton of insight into how to succeed from day one.

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