Handyman: Running a Handyman Business06/05/2015 18:35:47

A handyman is someone who is called upon to perform repairs and maintenance on properties and grounds. They are tradesmen who are skilled in a variety of tasks, but may not be qualified in a particular trade. Alternatively they may be licensed in one trade which they specialise in, but be capable in a variety of different trades. The jobs completed by the handyman are generally more minor jobs that do not require a qualified tradesman to complete. A handy man may mow the lawns, maintain gardens and properties, fix a squeaky gate, fix a dripping tap or leaky pipe, minor carpentry, painting, or any other odd jobs that need to be done. 

A handy man may be called upon by a property manager, landlord, home owner, business owner, or renters in an apartment complex. People will often rely on a handy man to complete tasks they are not able to. This may be because they don’t have the time, don’t have the knowledge or skills, or are physically unable to. Older people, single mothers, busy business people as well as many others may benefit from the services of a handyman.

A handy man may be self-employed, or perhaps employed by the owners of a property (eg. Body corporate, a resort or hotel, an commercial shopping centre). They may contract their services to other businesses. For example, a handyman may contract to a property manager, a school, an apartment block, holiday rentals, a hospital, a holiday resort, a retirement village and other similar organisations to complete maintenance on properties and grounds. They may also be employed by these establishments on a part-time or full time basis. 

A handyman may also purchase a franchise, which generally means they will be responsible for servicing a certain area. This can take some of the pressure off marketing and administration tasks as these are generally completed by the franchise organisation. Being part of a franchise can build a handyman’s credibility, and may improve their chances of gaining customers.

Handyman services for private properties are in increasing demand as populations and houses age. Also as it becomes more common for both parents to work full time, there may be an increasing demand for handyman services as people become time poor. 

Handymen will often get work through word of mouth, but may also need to advertise. They may advertise in local papers, flyers, directories or other. 

There are opportunities for the handyman to advance in their career either by building their business to include a team of handymen, which they manage; by developing a franchise chain; by utilising skills learnt through writing quotes, writing contracts, managing the project etc to gain employment with bigger organizations in a more managerial type role; or similar.

Working as a handyman may be a good option for a tradesman who has retired and just wants to work part time.

Risks and challenges
Many of a handyman’s tasks are very physical, which means that the handyman will only be able to complete their job if they are physically sound. If a handyman becomes sick, injured, or lose their physical capacity with age, they may not be able to work as a handyman any more.

A handyman may also need to spend some time working outdoors, so precautions may need to be taken against sun, rain, cold, and other weather conditions.

At times it can be stressful working as a handyman due to fluctuations in workload. At some times they may be inundated with work, and at others they may not know when they will get their next job. At times of financial crisis there may be less people willing and able to afford a handyman, and may prefer to attempt to complete the work themselves.

Some of the work a handyman completes may have an element of danger, such as going up ladders, dealing with electrical wiring, using tools etc.

A handyman may have to work unsocial hours if they are called out in an emergency, or are required to work evenings or weekends. 

How to become a Handyman
There are generally no specific qualifications needed to be a handyman. A handyman may have a trade qualification in a particular trade, such as they may be a licensed electrician, plumber of carpenter, however this is not a requirement. In general, the main requirements is a variety of skills across all trades, and be competent at recognizing what needs to be done, and the common sense to problem solve the best way to do it. The handyman will also need to know when they need to refer to a professional tradesperson. 

A handyman will need to have good organisational skills, and be able to get the job done in a timely manner. If the handyman works by providing quotes, they will need to become adept at creating accurate quotes, to ensure their rates are competitive but still profitable. 

A handyman may undergo vocational training to learn some of the basic trades skills. This may include carpentry, horticulture, and similar. They may also consider taking a business course to help with running their business, as well as doing any necessary advertising or marketing. 

Other related jobs might include:

  • Property Manager
  • Landscape Gardener
  • Groundsman
  • Arborist
  • Gardener 
  • Carpenter
  • Machinery Operator
  • Farm Hand
  • Small Business Owner


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