Becoming a self-employed handyman can be profitable business if you do it right. However, there are many pitfalls that could cause your new venture to fail.
- Setting your prices to low or too high -Setting the right price for each of the varied jobs that a handyman may offer can be a challenge. Set your prices too high and customers will be put off and turn to your competition. However, if you go to the other extreme and undercut all you competition by setting low prices you may get the work but it may not be worth the effort. Therefore you need to research prices in your area and set a price that you feel comfortable with. It may be a good idea to have special offers for new customers, but you need to ensure that your ‘normal’ rates are set at a rate where you are making a suitable profit. Remember to take into account materials, time needed to complete the job, travel costs, tools, tax and insurance costs when setting prices. If numbers is not your strong point, get help from someone who is knowledgeable in this area.
- Cutting corners - When starting a new business the focus is often on earning as much money as possible. Therefore there is a temptation to cut corners and not complete jobs to a high enough standard that will stand the test of time. When paying for a handyman, people expect jobs to be done properly and to not need to have the work redone a month down the line. Not only will you lose this customer’s future business but will also lose the business that you could have gained from a happy customer sharing a positive experience with friends and families. When employing tradesmen such as handymen, most people turn to friends and family first as they want to know they are hiring someone they can rely on. Therefore, whilst using cheaper materials or rushing a job may earn you a bit more money in the short term, it can be very costly in terms of your reputation and future business.
- Taking on tasks you are not capable of - Turning down work is always very difficult but if you take on tasks outside of you skill set this could cause problems. There could be legal issues as some aspects of work such as with gas require tradesmen to be fully qualified and registered. Also, if you take on jobs which you are unable to successfully complete or make a bad job of this will again affect your reputation and future work. Another thing you need to make sure is not to overbook yourself. A customer is likely to be happier to wait longer for you to start work if you tell them this at the outset, than if you overbook yourself and have to cancel or delay work at short notice.
- Expecting customers to find you - When starting their business, many handyman may place adverts in local publications, advertising online or create a website. However people are very wary of letting unknown people into their homes. Therefore building up a good reputation through word of mouth is vital. Doing jobs for minimal costs for friends and family on the condition they help to promote your business, is a much more successful strategy.
When starting a handyman business reputation is everything. Remember that it is better in the long term to grow your business slowly and gradually build up a loyal client base than do things that may be profitable in the short term but will damage your reputation.