Starting any kind of business is a job that needs your full attention 24/7. And, like with any kind of business, you need a certain investment and of course expertise in some field of work.
What is a Handyman?
A handyman is a person with some general knowledge, tools and experience around home repairs, maintenance tasks, and home improvement projects. A handyman does not do building work. Builders work with the very structure of the property, while a handyman repairs and maintains its current state.
How to Become a Certified Handyman?
You can get your handyman training in various ways. You can find a mentor and work for them for a few years. There are also options for community colleges, courses and school programs that teach plumbing, ventilating, electrics, etc. You might even get a certification once you’re done. You can look for a contractor or a small business to work for a while.
Or, you can just work on your own home to gain experience. Spread the word in your neighbourhood and offer to help your neighbours. Once you feel like you’re ready to turn your education into a business, you can try to join the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals. You will have to do a certification exam, and once you pass, you can join the vast organisation that would serve as the certification you need to call yourself a professional in your field.
How to Create a Business Plan
Once you’re ready to show the world that you are a professional, it’s time to work on your presence in the market. There are four general points you need to look at.
- Set the budget. Nothing is well gained if you don’t put any investments. The fee you paid for your membership in the ACHP was just the beginning.
- Research the market. Check out your competition – their scale of work, prices and type of services they offer. Check out your customers and the needs they have.
- Promote yourself. You need your name to be known in order to have the service leads coming. This process needs to get renewed periodically if you expect results.
- Expand. Since you most probably started local and with just a bunch of services, you would want to keep forward if success is present.
How to Set the Right Budget
The most important things you should pay are:
- Insurance. The first thing any customer would want from you is to be insured against accidents. No one would let any worker without insurance in their house.
- Organisation fees. The fee you paid for ACHP, and in case you get included in other organisations, is not a one-time thing, you would have to pay monthly, or yearly, depending on the organisation.
- Tools. The real money investment comes here. A handyman needs all the tools he can get for just about any work project. With time, you would need to replace some. There is also the maintenance of these tools. You have to keep them in good shape, so there is also time investment. Additionally, you might want your tools to be well organised in your own personal tool shack.
- Vehicle. If you work in a big city like London, you’ll need personal transportation. If you already own a car, it would do just fine, as long as you maintain it well.
- Telephone. You probably have your own mobile phone, but it’s recommended to get a new one just for business calls.
- Promotion. And, of course the marketing is what takes your business off the ground. You should invest a lot in self promotion. You can hand out fliers, glue posters on the walls in your area, or use the Internet and create a website, like all businesses in the 21st century do.
How to Research the Market
To research the market, you might only need an Internet connection and a local newspaper to get a grasp on what’s happening in your local area. There are three main things you need to pay most attention to:
- Customers. There are tons of reviews online. See what the customers are saying firsthand. What are they satisfied with? What made them disappointed? What services did they order, and what prices were they willing, or unwilling to pay? Bear in mind that every client is different with their own contrasting ideas and vision. So, don’t take everything you read literally, let it just be your initial orientation.
- Competition. Check out who else is working in your area. In most cases, you will see your competition promoting themselves with a website. You can find tons of information about their offers, prices, scale of work and much more.
- Services. Pay a very close attention to the services that are wanted and the services that are offered in your area. Researching the services means that you should pay attention to both your customers and your competition once again, in order to see the exact supply and demand of each option. This way you can know which services you should perfect and which ones you can leave for later. There are online forums about every local area in UK, where topics start with “Wanted”, or “Offer”. You can literally get your first job from there.
How to Promote Yourself
And, here we are, at the most important part of your business development. Because, no matter how good you are with your hands, if you don’t spread the word properly, you are doomed to failure.
- Make a website. The best thing you can do is to give as much information as you can about yourself and your business. Fill your website with all the services you offer, your past experience, you certifications, your previous jobs and happy customers, the areas you cover. Everything that comes to mind. Try to include many photos and videos of your work, so your future customers would know what to expect. Don’t forget to add a photo of yourself. Many clients would close your website if they don’t know the face of the person that would come in their home.
- Utilise social media. The whole world is on social media, and you should be too. Create a business page in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and update your status regularly. With social media you can also target your audience and find out what kind of people usually need your services. You can offer specific discounts and deals that way and attract even more customers.
- Run your business on your phone. No matter how you look at it, smartphones are the future of communication technology for both individuals and businesses. This is why investing in a good phone is very important for your business. You have to make your website mobile responsive and you can even invest in a service app for even greater ease. Not to mention, you can instantly respond to questions and bookings, no matter where you are.
How to Create a Stable Online Presence
Invest some time to learn the arts of online marketing, PR and SEO. Utilising these tools the right way will guarantee you a visible place amongst top results in famous search engines like Google or Bing. It will get people discover and talk about you and your business more.
When creating your own website, be sure to make it user friendly, meaning that a user will navigate easily through it and find what they are looking for quicker. Use separate categories for the different jobs you specialise in. Also, include photos of your work and some customer reviews to prove that people should choose you.
Tell the visitors of your website, who are also your potential clients, a little about yourself, like a short biography, qualifications, skills, all the areas you cover and all possible contact methods so that people can reach you.
How to Expand the Business
If you have been successful so far, you would probably want to prove yourself even more. It’s now time to expand, and to do this, there are a few very important things to do.
Learn New Skills
Technology is always advancing and the more gadgets there are, the more things you would need to learn. Keep up with the innovations in order to be able to offer more services.
Get in Touch with More Organisations
A really good idea is to offer volunteer work once in awhile. Find local charities, such as The Caring Hands Charity, where you can offer free handyman services to elderly and handicapped people. You will be helping the needy, and the fact that you do volunteer work can often be the reason why your future customers would choose your name.
Stay Connected with Other People in the Niche
Different franchises often like to stay in touch with each other and help each other’s businesses. They might be your competition, but good professional etiquette is very important. And, establishing good relations can be very valuable long term.
Bio: Lisbeth Larose is a professional writer of business content and is currently working with a handyman franchise company in UK. What makes her happy is helping business owners succeed and grow.