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The Handyman Startup Podcast: Small Business | Marketing | Lifestyle | Home Improvement
65 minutes | Jan 13, 2015
HS023 – Business And Accounting Advice From Construction Accountant Randal Dehart
Need help with your bookkeeping or accounting? Good news! In this episode, I interview Randal DeHart, the leading expert in outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services for small construction companies across the USA. And,Randal isn’t just an accountant, he’s also a former plumbing contractor with twenty years of experience. Not only does he understand handyman businesses from a accounting perspective, he understands it from the contractor’s perspective. Randal’s been involved in the construction industry pretty much since he was born as his dad was a contractor. After going to school to become an accountant, he decided, like many of us, that he didn’t want to work in an office. So he changed his direction and set out to become a plumber. After very successfully starting, growing, and selling his plumbing company, he got back into accounting and now does it full time, focusing solely on helping contractors, handyman, and other tradesman grow their businesses through an intelligent and strategic approach. I’m honored to have Randal on the show and I’ve personally gained a lot of highly valuable business knowledge from him. Here’s what we discuss in this episode: The biggest mistake new handymen make when choosing a business structure and how to avoid it. Randal’s definition of a quality service (it’s more simple than you think.) How focusing on the right target customer (and he shares which ones) took his plumbing company to the next level. Why you should never have your bookkeeper do your taxes. and a whole lot more! Resources mentioned in the podcast: Get a free Contractor Services Bookkeeping Guide. Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill (affiliate link) $100K Handyman Pricing Guide (Has since been upgraded to an online course called “$100K Handyman Pricing“) Learn how much you’ll save in taxes by filing as an S corp in this article. To learn more about Randal DeHart: Listen to his podcast: Contractor Success Map Visit his website: FastEasyAccounting.com Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoyed this podcast! If you did, and you’d like to hear more, please take a couple of minutes and leave a review on iTunes!
52 minutes | Nov 10, 2014
HS 022 – How to Jumpstart Your Handyman Business – Interview With Brand New Handyman Justin Terrill
Are you still on the fence with whether or not a handyman business can actually work? Or, are you hesitant to get started? If so, you’re going to get inspired by this episode where I share a great interview with brand new Australian handyman business owner, Justin Terrill. This is the first time I’ve had a handyman on the show who is just getting started, and it turned out amazing. Justin started his handyman business only a couple of months ago and is already booked out two weeks in advance while charging a premium for his services. He was previously a teacher, when he realized that he enjoyed working with his hands much more. So, he put his skills that he learned from working on a farm to good use and got started with his handyman business in Sydney, Australia. I got in touch with Justin when he contacted me to thank me for helping him get started. As a member of the Handyman Web Academy (Now called Handyman Marketing Machine) and a reader of this blog, he took action on the knowledge that he learned and has had amazing results. It was inspiring to talk with Justin, and even though he’s just getting started, I learned a lot from him. Whether you are just getting started or have been in business for a while, Justin’s got some great insights to share. Here’s what we cover in this episode: The marketing methods Justin used to jumpstart his business. Why customers aren’t just looking for the highest skilled handyman and what they want instead. How a handyman business is surprisingly profitable. Challenges of going from employee to business owner. Talking money with customers and tips for getting more comfortable. The importance of choosing your clients. Simple and effective tips for getting more referrals. The importance of a professional image. Resources mentioned in the Podcast The Handyman Web Academy (Has been updated and is now called “Handyman Marketing Machine“) Turn Your Skills Into Profit – Referred to as “the startup guide” in the podcast. Justin’s Website: Prime Handyman Solutions Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed this podcast. If so, please do me a favor and leave a short written review on iTunes. Also, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
32 minutes | Oct 17, 2014
HS 021 – The Power of Branding Your Handyman Business (plus tips for success)
When I started my handyman business 3 years ago, I didn’t look like the typical handyman. I didn’t have much experience, I didn’t have a reputation to help spread the word, and I looked like I was 18. Let’s just say customers weren’t sprinting to their phones in a mad dash to call me. That’s why I knew I’d have to go through extra steps to make myself look professional. I had to find a way to look like I was actually an established business. Otherwise, what reason would a customer have to even trust me? So, I spent some time branding my business. I did all the things necessary to make it appear as if I’d been doing this for a while. I went out of my way to differentiate myself from other handymen. As it turns out, overcompensating for my weakness ended up helping my business tremendously. Not only did the extra time branding my business convince customers I was worth hiring, but it increased my perceived value in their minds. The fact that I looked like I was a kid didn’t matter anymore. I presented myself as if I had my shit together, and that was enough to convince them to at least give me a shot. Of course, haveing a pretty logo designed and putting on a uniform didn’t get me customers by itself. I still had to put effort into generating leads. But it certainly helped close the deal on many occassions and it continues to do so. That’s why in this podcast, I discuss the power of branding and tips for creating your brand. Whether you are just getting started or have been in business for a while, a great brand can take your business to the next level. Here’s A Sample Of What I Cover in This Episode: 5 questions you must ask yourself before even naming your business. The steps I took and recommend to building a great brand on a budget. What a brand can do for your business. Tips for creating a brand that you are proud of and enjoy for years to come. Here are some resources mentioned: Free video training to help you generate leads 24/7 Fiverr.com – Get a decent log for just $5 A logo design you love, or 100% of your money back at 99designs.com (affiliate link) As always, thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher and leave me a review in iTunes!
60 minutes | Sep 18, 2014
HS020 – An Inside Look At A Plumbing Franchise – Interview With Linda Stanfield
Have you ever thought about becoming a franchisee? If so, you’re going to love this Interview. In this episode of the Handyman Startup podcast, I talk with Linda Stanfield, owner of Benjamin Franking Plumbing in Chandler, Arizona. Linda has worked with her husband to grow their own Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and has had a lot of success doing it. She’s also a great person who is interested in improving the home service industry and is willing to share what she’s learned to help others. With over 15 years as a business owner, Linda has a lot of valuable lessons to teach and it was a pleasure having her on the show. Regardless of whether you are buying a plumbing franchise, or starting a handyman business, the insights that Linda shares are extremely valuable. Here are some of the topics we cover in this episode: How the home service industry is changing and what you need to do to adapt. The secret to giving amazing service. Benefits of becoming a franchisee. What to consider when purchasing a franchise. The power of simply wearing a uniform. The importance of learning your financials. The key metrics to focus on in your business. Recommended Resources Mentioned: The Handyman Web Academy – Online marketing made easy for the home service industry (Now called “Handyman Marketing Machine”). Linda’s personal website – LindaStanfield.com Linda’s book recommendation – “Where Did the Money Go?“ Thanks for listening! And, if you haven’t yet done so, please leave a review on iTunes and let me know how I’m doing! You may even get featured on the next episode. Comments or Questions? Have any thoughts on a topic for the next show? Know somebody I should interview? Or, just want to share your thoughts on this episode. Let me know in the comments below!
38 minutes | Aug 19, 2014
HS019 – How To Craft A Sales Story That Attracts Customers And Builds Loyalty
In this episode of The Handyman Startup Podcast, I discuss a fundamental part of any good marketing strategy – Your story. You may be thinking, “who cares about my story, I’m just a regular dude starting a handyman business.” That’s what I thought when I first started my handyman business, too. I thought customers just wanted to have an experienced handyman fix what they needed fixed and to leave when they were done. Man was I wrong. Customers do care about your story. In fact, it can significantly impact their hiring decisions. If you can craft a decent story that includes at least one of five key elements, you will not only attract more customers, but you’ll attract more loyal customers. I’m talking about customers that recommend you to their friends, give you online reviews, and hire you over and over, without you even asking them too. My story has certainly helped me with my business, as it has with Christy Webber, Nick May, and Chris Maxwell-Gaines. So, I spent some time researching and breaking down what makes a good story and why a good sales story is so effective. I’ve recorded this podcast to share what I’ve learned with hopes that it will help your business. Enjoy! Here’s what I discuss in this episode: The 5 critical components of a good sales story. Examples of good sales stories. How to use your story to generate more leads and build loyalty. What a sales story is NOT. Additional Recommended Resources: Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk and Book: “Start with Why“ Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability. Thanks for listening! If you get a chance, I’d really appreciate a written review on iTunes to let me know what you think.
38 minutes | Jul 25, 2014
HS018 – Interview With Ed Padilla: Home Inspector, Handyman, and Founder of ACHP
In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I sit down with Ed Padilla, founder of ACHP (Association of Certified Handyman Professionals). Ed has a really interesting story. After being trapped in the corporate rat race for several years, he realized that he wanted something else. So, he quit his job and capitalized on the demand he could see present for home repairs. In 2006 he started Padilla Home Inspection and Handyman Services. Soon after getting started, he noticed that handymen had a terrible reputation in the eyes of homeowners. Tired of getting the stink-eye every time he entered a home, he had the urge to change this perspective. Three years later, he took action and created ACHP, a non-profit, member based organization to help handymen all over the country appear more reputable to homeowners. Now, ACHP is growing and offering benefits to it’s members such as great insurance rates. I’m honored to have Ed on the podcast. He’s doing great things for the handyman industry and by listening to him you get the sense that he really cares about our industry. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Where to go for your general liability insurance and what to consider. Insights into the home inspection industry. How to limit liability as a home inspector and handyman business. The importance of confidence when starting your own business. The most important skills you need as a handyman. Quality over quantity. The benefit of taking your time on your jobs. What is the ACHP and why is it important? Resources mentioned in the podcast: ACHP website (go here for general liability quotes and more) ACHP LinkedIn Group (Great place to interact with other handymen even if you’re not a member of ACHP)
39 minutes | Jun 27, 2014
HS017 – Grow Your Handyman Business With Chuck Solomon
In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast I’ve got a special guest – Chuck Solomon. Chuck is a former handyman business owner, an author of multiple books, and a business consultant. He’s literally written the book on how to start and grow a handyman business. (See resources below for a link.) He’s also just an all around nice guy who’s looking to help tradesmen like you grow your business. Just like most handymen, Chuck kind of fell into the business and before he knew it had a list of customers asking him to do all kinds of work. He capitalized on the opportunity, offered excellent service, and soon enough he was running a successful biz. After 10 years, Chuck decided to hang his hat and sell his business and became a consultant. He’s now using the valuable knowledge he gained during his own journey to help others. Back in episode #10, Jim Copenhaver talks about the importance of mentors. Chuck was one of the mentor’s he was speaking of who helped him build his business. Talking to Chuck in this episode is very humbling as it makes me realize that there is still a lot I can learn about this business. Here are a few things we cover in this episode: Why you shouldn’t give free quotes and what to do instead. How to build instant credibility with customers. Who you should hire first if you’re looking to grow. How to find and hire skilled labor step by step. How to qualify customers and avoid tire kickers before they waste your time. Resources mentioned in the podcast: Chuck’s books: “Building Your Successful Handyman Business” & “Upkeep“ Chuck’s website: ChuckSolomon.com (Want help growing your business? Chuck offers consulting services. Contact him through his website.) The Handyman Web Academy – Learn how to generate your own leads online. (Now called “Handyman Marketing Machine”) Thanks for listening! And if you get a chance, be sure to leave a written review on iTunes. It helps me tremendously and you may even get a shout-out on the next episode.
43 minutes | May 17, 2014
HS 016 – 7 Lessons Learned From 3 Years In Business
In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast I share 7 of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last 3 years in business. These are lessons that have changed my mindset and the way I view business, people, and the world in general. Today marks exactly three years since I quit my engineering job and decided to venture out on my own in an attempt to control my own destiny and design a better life for myself. Deciding to quit on that day was the best (and hardest) decision I’ve ever made for myself. Because of that decision I was able to start a successful handyman business, create this website, and enjoy the entire experience (well, most of it). That’s pretty cool considering that while working as an engineer I was depressed, out of shape, and really unhappy. Things have pretty much made a 180 degree turn for the better. While quitting my job was a great decision, it wasn’t always easy. There were a lot of struggles over the last three years and many times where I wanted to give up and just go get another job. There’s a steep learning curve as a beginning entrepreneur. But, with the support of my readers, friends, and family I was able to stick it out. Through those struggles I learned a LOT, often times things that I didn’t even know I needed to learn. That’s what this latest podcast is all about – those major lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m excited to share these with you today because they are things I think about all the time. It’s great to share my story with the hope that it may help you along your journey to dominate life and start a successful handyman business. Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect in this episode: Why you shouldn’t care if a customers say your too expensive. Why saying no is such a valuable skill. Why you shouldn’t even worry about your competition. How to learn what you don’t know you don’t know. My best tips and secrets on how to enjoy this business to the fullest and design it exactly how you want. Related Resources: How to get more customers – Handyman Marketing Machine The Ultimate Handyman Pricing Guide Michael Port – Book Yourself Solid JamesAltucher.com (I don’t mention this in the podcast, but I think his blog is worth mentioning. Check it out.) Thanks for listening and if you get a chance, please leave a written review on iTunes. It helps the show gain more exposure and you may even get featured on the next podcast. Comments or Questions What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting your business? Or, if you haven’t started yet, which one of my lessons hit home the most? Let me know in the comments below!
44 minutes | Apr 1, 2014
HS 015 – How To Go From Mowing Lawns to $32 Million In Revenue With Christy Webber
In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I’ve got something special for all you landscaping contractors out there. I bring on Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes in Chicago, IL and uncover her story and how she went from a small town lady mowing lawns, to running one of the largest Landscaping companies in Chicago. I know this isn’t the typical type of guest I bring on the show and Christy isn’t a handyman, but the lessons she shares are applicable to all trades. Christy’s story is incredible, especially considering that she didn’t graduate with a business degree. In fact, her education was in physical education. She knew nothing about operating a business and just got started mowing lawns. And that’s the key to her success, she just got started. Her determined attitude and love for her job helped her build a business that currently employs roughly 400 people! Listen in to find out how. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Why some companies fail in bad economic times and others succeed. How to scale a service business even if business isn’t your strong suit. How integrating your story into your business can get your customers working to help you. Struggles with employees and how to deal with them. How to overcome fear and finally get started with your business. How brutal honesty with your customers can take your business to the next level. The importance of letting go and allowing others to help you. Links and Resources Check out Christy’s website here. Handyman Web Academy Info (Now called Handyman Marketing Machine) As always, thanks for listening! And a special thanks to Christy Webber for joining me on the podcast and sharing her story to help others succeed. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Comments or Questions Did you find Christy’s story inspiring? If so, let me know in the comments below. Then, sign up for my e-mail newsletter to get updates when future episodes are released.
42 minutes | Mar 6, 2014
HS 014 – How To SERIOUSLY Limit Your Service Area
Looking for an easy way to increase your profitability? Consider limiting your service area. That’s what Michael Rodriguez (a.k.a MROD) of BelleCreak Handyman & Remodeling did. In fact, he built his business while focusing primarily on a single subdivision. Listen in to this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast to learn all about it. I’m fascinated with what Michael and his partner Alex were able to achieve. It really goes to show how in demand a good handyman service can be. Now, I understand that is may sound counterintuitive that limiting your service area can actually be more profitable, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Here are some of the benefits of limiting your service area. Save time – Time is your most valuable asset and you want to use it wisely. Driving all over town all day isn’t providing any value to your customer, and it’s wasting your time, especially when there are plenty of customers within a small area to keep more than one guy busy. Save Money – Gas isn’t cheap, neither are tires and regular car maintenance. Why travel extra miles when you have plenty of work close to you? Better service – By limiting your area, you can actually provide a better service. You’ll have a faster response time and be more available to your customers. Increase Profitability – You have two options to increase your profits when limiting your service area. You can either pocket the time and money savings, or you can lower your prices to stay more competitive. Either way, your profits will likely rise. In this episode… In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I sit down with Michael Rodriguez and discuss exactly how he built his business with a very limited service area. That’s not all we cover, either. MROD was generous enough to share his best practices and what he’s learned while building his business. Here’s what to expect in this episode: A cheap and effective method for generating leads. (Hint: Anyone can start using this right away) How to build a successful business in a single subdivision. The power of having a partner in this business. How to sell more services to your customers once you’re in the door. An easy way to make your customers feel special and build instant trust. Plus a whole bunch of handyman business insight from a handyman who just got started last year. Links & Resources BelleCreek Handyman – bchandy.com ThumbTack.com Interview with a Californian handyman – Here is another example of an interview with a handyman who introduced me to the idea of limiting my service area. The E-Myth Landscape Contractor – Mike highly recommended this book and says that it’s very applicable to handyman business. (affiliate link) Thanks for listening! And thanks to Michael Rodriguez for sharing what he’s learned to help others. I definitely appreciate him taking the time out of his busy schedule. I always enjoy connecting with other handymen and hearing their stories andI hope you enjoy it, too! Know anybody else who would like the podcast? If so, do them and me a favor and share it! Comments or Questions Do you limit your service area? If so, how has it effected your business? Let me know in the comments below!
47 minutes | Jan 20, 2014
HS 013 – Social Media For The Handyman Business (Interview With Rick Mulready)
Time for another episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast! In this session, I sit down with social media expert, Rick Mulready. We’ve all been hearing the buzz about social media over the last couple years, and there is no doubt it can be a powerful marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes. Just take a look at Dollar Shave Club, who built a business based on social media marketing almost exclusively. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and the like are reshaping how we think about promoting our businesses and as far as I can tell, they aren’t going away any time soon. That’s why I asked Rick Mulready of the Inside Social Media Podcast to join me to discuss how us handymen and other home service providers can take advantage of social media to get more customers. Rick has over 12 years of corporate internet marketing experience gained from working for companies like AOL, Yahoo!, and Funny or Die. Now, he shares big brand social media strategies with small business owners on his podcast. Social media is what he does. Beyond that, he’s just a good dude. So, I figured who better to share some valuable marketing advice with you! Here’s what we cover in this episode: What social media can do for your business. Which social media platforms YOU should be using. How to get the most from your social media efforts with a limited time investment. How to get more Facebook likes without shelling out your cash. Best practices for gaining traction on Facebook. Additional Resources: To Learn more from Rick, visit his site and podcast here: RickMulready.com Lowe’s is doing a great job with Social Media. Check out this article to learn from them. Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed the podcast, I’d be really thankful if you’d share it or reviewed it on iTunes. Click here to share a pre-populated tweet. Comments or Questions What’s your preferred social media platform? Where do you hang out on the internet? Let me know in the comments below!
46 minutes | Dec 18, 2013
Interview With Successful Painting Contractor Nick May
Hire artists for contracting? That’s what Nick May, founder of Walls By Design, did. He’s a successful interior painting contractor with over 14 years of experience and get this, he only hires artists! Surprised? Be sure to listen to this episode to find out why. Here are some other topics we cover in this interview: Why targeting high end customers actually brings in a wide variety of customers and gets your phone to ring. A unique way that Nick builds relationships with industry partners in order to get into those million dollar homes. How hiring employees makes you better at what you do. How to hire your first employee (more specifically, how I should hire my first employee.) Where to look, who to hire, and when. While Nick isn’t a handyman, his knowledge and ideas can be applied to any home service business. He has a ton of great marketing info to share and you can hear is passion while he talks about how to get more customers. Here is my favorite quote from the interview: “Almost all marketing methods will work for somebody. You’ve got to find what works for you.” Wise words for sure. Other important notes from the podcast: Are you looking to get the phone to ring with quality customers? I’ve got your back. I’m currently preparing to launch the Handyman Web Academy in January, and it’s going to be better than ever. I’m using the feedback I’ve received from those who signed up in October to make a great product even better. In the mean time, how would you like some FREE video training on how to get your phone to ring? I’m working on it right now and it will be ready soon, sign up here to get access when it’s ready (it won’t be posted on the blog). As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please show me some support and give me a review on iTunes! I’d really appreciate it.
40 minutes | Nov 21, 2013
Crafting A Sales Story, Strategic Partnerships, and The Power of Wingin’ It.
In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I bring on Chris Maxwell-Gaines, co-founder of Innovative Water Solutions in Austin, TX. Chris started his home service business back in 2004 and has since grown it to the point of having 14 employees and over a million dollars in revenue. He’s got a lot to share from his 10 years of experience. So, I brought him onto the show so you can benefit from his knowledge and grow your business. I love Chris’s story because he started his business without a plan and was literally wingin’ it in the beginning. He had his first customer sold before he even had a service to offer! 10 years later he’s reaping the benefits of his courage. A great example of why you should just get started. Here are a few highlights from the interview: How crafting a story can jumpstart your business. A powerful way to use web based content marketing. Strategic partners and what they can do for your business. Why wingin’ it is sometimes the best option and why you should just get started. Chris doesn’t provide handyman services, instead he installs and maintains water caching systems, among various other services. However, his insights and tips can be applied to any home service business. For those of you interested in water conservation systems, Chris is your man. Not only can he install them for you but he is offering a comprehensive training program for contractor’s looking to add water conservation services to their businesses. If you’re looking to add another revenue stream, be sure to contact Chris and he’ll get you set on the right path.
43 minutes | Oct 16, 2013
The Importance of Mentors, Sticking To Your Guns On Pricing, and the Power of Online Reviews
It’s been a while since my last podcast, so I wanted to bring The Handyman Startup Podcast back with a bang! In this episode, I interview Jim Copenhaver, a successful handyman business owner from Chicago, IL. Jim has successfully built Punch List, a thriving handyman business that currently employs at least 4 full-time handymen. But get this, he’s only been in business for a about a year and a half! He obviously knows what he’s doing, that’s why I asked him to join me on the Handyman Startup Podcast so I could pick his brain and share his secrets with you. Here are some of the things we cover in this episode: Why finding a mentor can skyrocket your success. The challenges of having employees. How to hire and keep good employees. Why milking the clock will actually lose you money in the long run. Why Jim charges hourly for most of his services. How to use the power of online reviews to grow your business faster than ever. and much more. Whether you are looking to go big and hire employees or just want to keep rollin’ solo, this interview is packed with golden nuggets of tips and advice that will propel you forward with your business. After listening to the review, I’d love it if you’d do two things: #1: Leave a comment below telling me the most valuable thing you gained from this podcast. #2: Leave me a review on iTunes! (if you haven’t already)
30 minutes | Oct 4, 2013
5 Time Saving Tips That Will Shave Hours Off Your Work Week
In this session of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I share five of my most valuable time saving tips that I use every day in my business. As a handyman or other home service provider, you get paid for your time. Time is a form of currency, with one major difference from other currencies – you can never get more time. That being said, it’s obvious why saving a few seconds, minutes, or even hours each day is extremely valuable – in fact, it’s priceless! That’s why I’ve decided to share these 5 tips with you so you can enjoy the many benefits of more time. Who doesn’t want more time? Here are some of the highlights of this podcast: 5 easy to implement time saving tips that you can start using today. Why saving time is so important to not only your free time, but the growth of your business. BONUS TIP: A tool I use everyday to literally save hours each week. (hint: It’s less than $20) Mentioned in this podcast: My marketing course for handymen. Click Here to learn more. Tim Ferriss blog post on saying no.
27 minutes | Jul 30, 2013
How To Learn Any Skill And Get Paid To Do It
As a home service professional, developing new skills to keep up with the competition is necessary. For handymen, learning new skills is basically our job description. Not only is learning new skills important, but learning how to learn new skills efficiently is getting ever more important. We are now in what is commonly known as the information age. That means it is easier than ever to get starting with your business, but it also means that more people have access to quality information. That means more competition. This tells me that in order to get ahead and pull away from the pack, developing a system for learning rapidly could mean the difference between success and failure. In this podcast, I discuss: 4 methods for developing your home repair skills. How I gained my handyman experience and skill set. My method for developing new skills (while getting paid). 3 Tips to accelerate your learning process. This podcast was designed to help you develop your home repair skills, but the methods described are applicable to any skill. Enjoy!
29 minutes | Jul 1, 2013
Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Start a Handyman Business
This week (first week of July 2013) I’m taking the entire week off from my handyman services to celebrate Independence day and I couldn’t be more thankful for having that opportunity. This excitement about my ability to control my schedule and take off time at my will has got my brain turning with all of the benefits that come along with owning a small business, more specifically, a handyman business. You see, two years ago in May of 2011 I was still working at an office job that I, for lack of a better word, hated. Sorry to be negative, but it’s true. I had been working at this desk job for the previous 3.5 years and every day it seemed like a little bit more of my soul was draining away. I’d sit there at my desk, across the room from my boss, feeling like I had been imprisoned from 8am to 6pm every. single. day. I was 28, unhappy, unhealthy, and clawing desperately to gain the courage to turn things around and improve my life. Finally, I mustered up the courage to say “screw a good paycheck and full benefits, I’m unhappy and something needs to change.” So on Monday, May 3rd of 2011 I put in my notice and two weeks later I was free! On that day I decided I would never live a life suppressed by “the man.” Fast forward 1.5 months and I went camping with my buds and celebrating 4th of July. Despite having no idea what I was going to do with my life or how I was going to pay the bills, It was the first time in a long time that I was truly happy and excited about life. What an amazing feeling. 2 Short Years Later… I’ve come a long way since then, figured some stuff out, and have started and grown my handyman business into something I’m very proud and happy to operate. This week, I’m about to take that same trip to a Lake in the Mountains of Idaho to camp and boat with 9 of my good friends, just as I’ve done for the past 2 years since I quit my old job. I am truly happy in the moment and am full of life and excitement about the future. Quitting my job and starting my handyman business was one of the best decisions of my life. This trip is really special to me because it not only represents America’s freedom and independence, but my personal freedom and independence. So… In this podcast, I discuss the many benefits of owning a handyman business as well as some of the disadvantages. This podcast is meant to help you decide if the handyman business is right for you. And if you’ve already started yours, it is sure to make you happy you did! Here are some of the key points: The many financial benefits of starting a handyman business. The many Lifestyle benefits of starting a handyman business. The financial and lifestyle drawbacks of the handyman business. The must have personal characteristics of a good handyman business owner.
27 minutes | Jun 13, 2013
My Monthly Report – May 2013
Welcome to my May 2013 monthly income report! I’ve been writing these reports each month since I started my business and this marks my 18th month in business as a handyman. 1.5 years baby! For those of you that enjoy my podcast, good news! This month, you can listen to my monthly report as I’ve featured it on the Handyman Startup Podcast. You can find it in the itunes store or listen to it directly from this page (bottom of page). Enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! In these reports I share my income for each month, how I made that money, how much it cost to make that money, and anything interesting that happened along the way. I also share tips to help you dominate the home service industry. If you are first time reader of the blog, I’m not rich (yet :)). In fact, this is my first business and I still have a lot to learn. However, I’ve successfully created an income stream that supports my lifestyle doing something that I enjoy and have complete freedom over. I used to work as a mechanical engineer and absolutely hated what I did. Somehow, I mustered up the courage to quit and start something on my own. It was the best career decision I’ve ever made. Now, I’d like to help you create the same level of freedom that I’ve created. May was an awesome month for my handyman business. I continued to grow my client list despite the fact that I limited my schedule to only 3 days a week and have put zero effort into advertising in the last several months. Not only did I gain customers, but I was more profitable than I have been since January of this year. Old customers that I thought I’d lost were even calling me for more service. Schedule Upgrade – Part 2 I’m really exciting about this… In last month’s income report, I discussed limiting my workdays to only 3 days a week. I did this so I could pack my schedule into less days giving me more time to work on this website and a product that I’m working on. My goal was to only schedule customers on Monday through Wednesday while answering the phone the rest of the week. Now that I’ve been doing this for over a month, I’d like to share my results, which are pretty awesome. Previously, I’d been scheduling jobs throughout the week and even work an occasional weekend. When I did this, I’d leave a ton of time in between jobs just in case one of my jobs ended up taking longer. Additionally, I would usually schedule one job a day until I filled up a week and then start stacking jobs up once I had a job for each day booked. This naturally led to a lot of downtime in between jobs where I wasn’t making money or doing anything else productive. I was wasting a LOT of time. Now, with my new schedule, I only schedule jobs Mon-Wed and pack the jobs much closer together. This takes a little more finesse to avoid scheduling mis-haps, but it’s way more efficient. I’ve scheduled up to 5 customer in a single day so far – a significant increase over the the 2 I’d have scheduled before. Take a look at the pictures below to see the difference between the two schedules. Example of a weeks schedule using my old scheduling method. (16.5 Billable Hours) A weeks schedule using my new method. (21 Billable Hours) As you can see, my old scheduling method wasted a lot of time in between jobs and took up the entire week. My new method of scheduling doesn’t waste much time between jobs and packs the same amount of work into just three days! So I’ve managed to work less days and make just as much money. Another benefit of this is that I’m now consistently scheduled out at least one week. That means I know exactly what I’m doing for the entire next week and allows me to make fewer trips to Home Depot. If I do everything right and plan accordingly, this could reduce my trips to the hardware store by half. Sound enticing? Why not apply this to your business and have more free time to spend doing other things you enjoy? It’s The Busy Season Spring is THE time for home improvement projects. Just go to Home Depot next Saturday and you’ll see what I mean. With my handyman business it was no different. Sometimes it felt like I couldn’t get away from the phone for 5 minutes without it ringing. Since I’m only working 3 days a week, I ended up turning down a lot of business. In fact, I could have easily done another 2 to 3 grand in work if I was as hungry as I was last year. While constantly answering the phone can get annoying at times, there are some good side effects of being too busy. One, I could be much more selective about jobs. If a customer lived too far away or was asking for work that I don’t like to do, I would just turn them down. I’d either say that I didn’t service their area or that I didn’t do that kind of work. Existing customers are an exception to this, however. If a customer is willing to hire me over and over, I’ll do my best to help them whenever I can. Secondly, I could bid a little higher on jobs without having to worry about losing the business. If I didn’t get a job, I was sure I could fill my time with another. If I did get the job, I made good money doing it. Last year, I also did very well in the month of May. Even though it was only my 6th month in business, I was able to bring in $5,300. It had to work a whole lot more than I do now to get make that, but I was still able to make really good money because there is so much business during spring time. Times may be good now, but… Don’t Get Too Cocky Even though things are going awesome right now, I can’t let myself get too confident. When business is going this good, it’s really easy to think you have everything figured out and that it will always be this way. Just like when things are really slow and you wonder if they’ll ever pick up. Like I’ve said before, it’s a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. And just like not letting the slow times get to you, it’s also important not to get too cocky when business is flourishing. This could lead to getting sloppy with customer service or not treating clients the way they should be treated. This has happened to me in the past and trust me, I regretted it during the slower periods. I’ve found that if somebody is your ideal client, you should do whatever you can to service them to a high standard. But, this doesn’t mean you should serve everybody. Wasting your time on the wrong customers will lead to failure just as fast as not treating the good clients well. Either way, it’s important to realize that there are other people that are willing and able to swoop in and take your best clients. No matter how busy you are, always provide the same quality of service and treat everyone with respect. Income and Expenses Income: Existing Customers: $2,457.25 Search Engines: $2,640 Referrals: $489 Expenses: Direct Job Costs: $999.35 Phone: $69.82 Mileage: $245.78 Insurance: $94 Tools: $39.62 Total Income: $5,586.25 Total Expenses: $1448.57 Net Profit: $4,137.68 (last month: $2,882.19) Billable Hours: 70.5 Income from Labor: $4,486.97 Average Hourly Rate: $63.64 I’m not sure it can be any more ideal than this (other than making more per hour). I was able to stick to my 3 day a week schedule and still have the second most profitable month of the year. Sure, I could have made more money if I work all 5 days, but like I’ve said a thousand times before, money is not my only goal. I can always make more money, time is the one thing I can’t make more of. Some of the numbers that I find really interesting here are my income numbers compared to my vehicle mileage. By reducing the number of days I work, It looks like I’ve also been able to reduce the ratio between driving and working. Not really sure how, but the numbers don’t lie. This was the cheapest month in terms of vehicle mileage out of the whole year. In addition to the fact that packing jobs closer together is more efficient, I think that turning down jobs that were too far away was a contributor to the decrease in driving. Also, I turned down jobs that seems like they were a waste of time (even if they were close) instead of driving out, quoting, and then not getting the job. Overall, I think the change I’ve made to my schedule was a great choice and I plan to continue with this schedule to see how it works out. Monthly Goals This month I met both of my goals – To maintain a $60/hour rate and to only work 3 days a week. Feels good when it works out that way. But, how can I make this business even better and more enjoyable? I’m thinking the next step is to limit my service area for new clients. I figure that by making my service area smaller and smaller I will save a ton of time and will be more profitable. I’ll always continue to service my existing clients even if they live outside of that area, but maybe I can filter out new clients with this method? I guess it’s worth a try. I don’t think it’s a smart move to just jump into this big of a change head first. So, my goal for this month is to investigate the possibility.
22 minutes | May 17, 2013
HS 005 – Blogging For Business (How to Turn Your Knowledge Into Leads)
It’s no secret that internet marketing is where it’s at these days whether you are selling a product online or trying to generate new leads for your handyman business. Other marketing methods such as direct mail and flyers are also effective, but they cost more and are (in my opinion) more difficult to execute properly. In this episode of the Handyman Startup podcast, I share my most powerful online marketing strategy for my handyman business – blogging for business. The blog posts I have created for my handyman business website have driven customers my way starting as early as my third month in business. Not only that, but blog posts I wrote over a year ago are still bringing me high quality customers every week. The beautiful thing is that each blog post I write only takes a couple of hours maximum. Talk about ROI! These blog posts have allowed me to turn off all other forms of advertising and still have more than enough business to keep me satisfied. Here is a brief outline of what you can expect in this podcast: How to get leads from writing blog posts on your handyman business website. How blogging builds trust and makes selling your services even easier. Why you should start blogging right away. My personal blogging strategy and process for creating blog posts. Recommendations on what to do and what NOT to do when blogging. Resources mentioned in the Podcast How to build a website Recommended Website and Blogging Platform: WordPress Thanks! Thank you for listening. I’m honored to have the ability to share my experiences and knowledge to help you along your path to dominating your business ventures. Be sure to subscribe in iTunes so you don’t miss an episode.
22 minutes | May 3, 2013
HS004 – How To Target the Best Customers For Your Handyman Business
Trying to sell a product or service to EVERYBODY is the opposite of a good idea. However, way to many small businesses try to do so and end up wondering why nobody is buying what they sell. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s actually much more effective to target a very specific group to market your services to. This allows your marketing pitch to be more specific to that particular customer group and resonate with them on a higher level. The more your marketing relates directly to their beliefs, pains, or desires, the more likely they are to buy your stuff. Period. Since there is a wide range of beliefs, desires, and problems with different customers, it’s almost impossible to create a marketing campaign that relates to all of them at the same time – at least not on a level that convinces them to buy. That’s why trying to market to everybody just doesn’t work. As a handyman business owner, it’s just as important to target a specific customer base as with any other business. Here’e what to expect in this podcast: A step by step method you can implement to reach your best customers. The importance of targeting the right customers. How you can eliminate time wasting customers by simply filtering them with your marketing content. How to target real estate agents with laser precision. How I target my customers. Once you’ve listened to the podcast, please leave a comment below if you have any more questions on the topic. And don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes! As always, thanks for listening.
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