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17 Tips to Start Handyman business in Nigeria

What is a handyman business and who is it suited to?

The handyman is a fairly new concept industry-wise.

Years ago, property maintenance companies confined themselves to specific services.

Such as plumbing, electrical, and painting.

17 Tips to Start Handyman business in Nigeria


Handyman businessHandyman businessHandyman business

1. Get a Business Plan 

If you want to start a handyman business.

One of the first steps to take is to have a well written business plan.

You can hire the services of an expert to help you draft one.

To run a successful business, your business plan is the blue print that you need.

With your business plan, trial and error is reduced in the way you manage your business.

And you know the right thing to do for the business in terms of how to handle growth and expansion within the business.

A business plan serves as a detailed guide for the business.

It tells you how to run the business effectively from scratch.

The strategies you will use to manage and grow the business should be outlined in the plan.

Be realistic in putting figures to your income and profits.

As it is safer to underestimate than to be disappointed when you have to face the reality of things.

However, recently there has been an eruption of handyman businesses.

Carving themselves out as distinct service providers.

With the ever-depressing job market, people are seeking news ways to make a living.

And an increasing number of people are following their passion and setting up their own companies.

Perhaps the success of the handyman business is due to the increasingly busy and hectic lives that people lead.

Finding enough time to juggle work with family and other commitments can be troublesome.

And consequently more and more people are looking for help with odd-jobs around their home.

Whether it’s changing light fittings, putting up shelves or repairing dripping taps.

In essence, anyone can set up a handyman business.

City-workers who have grown weary of their office jobs.

Are among those who have taken the plunge, as well as individuals with a background in property maintenance.

This is also not an industry reserved for men, since there are numerous handywomen on the scene.

Kerrie Hanafin started A Woman’s Touch in 2003, a company that boasts a team of highly qualified tradeswomen.

She explains: “Being a woman can be a fabulous advantage, I think people find it easy to trust you and feel happy leaving you in their home, or with their young children”.

Kerrie spotted a niche in the market, and with a current turnover of £3.5m, her handywoman business is flourishing.

An interest and basic knowledge of the different trades are important factors when thinking of starting your business.

While there are no specific qualifications required, it is helpful if you are familiar with all aspects of the trade.

From painting and plastering to plumbing and carpentry.

Central to the handyman concept is that no job is too small.

And so a willingness to offer all services is beneficial.

Customers will not come back if you refuse the small jobs like changing their light bulb.

Therefore, if you are prepared to do any job, however big or small.

You will stand yourself in good stead to be called upon again.

Will Davies set up Aspect Maintenance in 2005, a thriving business that today enjoys a turnover of £10.5m and employs 110 fully-qualified maintenance workers.

He believes that the key to success is to offer as wide a range of services as possible.

“Many handyman businesses can only deal with problems up until a certain level.

Often they are not suitably registered for the more complex jobs and so while they may be fine for basic problems, they might not be able to resolve the more difficult ones.

This, he explains, can be a hindrance to the growth of your business, because people won’t use you again.

Perhaps most crucial is your attitude and behaviour towards customers; being friendly and approachable is fundamental to build and maintain trust between you and your clients.

2. Know the Economic Analysis

To start a handyman business, there is need to carry out a critical economic analysis.

To ensure that the risks and threats that are associated with starting a business or investing in a business idea are reduced.

Starting the business is not just about getting a fancy office space and equipping the place.

You should also be concerned with how to get customers for the business.

And how to keep existing customers coming back to use the services of your company.

On the average, starting and running a handyman business can be cost effective.

This is especially so when you have highly trained.

Well qualified and experienced staff as members of your team.

With the quality of work carried out by them for your customers.

You will be able to retain your customers and the good work your company does will be well spread by word of mouth.

As customers will tend to recommend your services to their families and friends once you are able to do a good job in their homes and on their properties.

People want to be able to rely on you, and so honesty and dependability are invaluable qualities when dealing with customers.

Chris Gilbey established his own handyman company Bitsbobsandoddjobs in 2006.

And affirms the importance of building solid relationships with clients.

He says: “The most important thing is customer relations and being responsive to clients.

I think we are unique in the way we deal with people.

And most of our business comes through word-of-mouth, so it is essential to gain peoples’ trust.”

3. Get the  Business Name 

In naming your handyman company.

There are many factors you should consider.

And you should also have it at the back of your mind that a lot of the names you might be considering for your business.

Might have been chosen already by other handyman companies.

That are already in the business.

Also have it in mind that the name you eventually choose for your business.

Will define your business and brand you.

The following are a list of catchy business name ideas that you can choose for your handyman business:

  • Handyman Fix It
  • Professional Handyman
  • Mr Fix It
  • Home Maintenance Services
  • Repair All Handyman
  • Overhaul Services
  • Home Improvement Services
  • Service It Handyman
  • Call Fix It
  • Smart Pro Handyman
  • The Handy Bug
  • The Professional Handyman

4. The basic qualification

In order to be able to offer a full range of services.

You should consider getting certified with some regulatory bodies.

The more relevant certificate you possess.

The more you will be able to handle several jobs in different aspects of the handyman business.

The following are the certifications you should consider for yourself and your staff:

  • ACHP certification
  • The diamond certified performance guarantee
  • Certification as small business local enterprise

5. Get the Legal Documents 

The handyman industry is highly regulated and as a result of this.

You are required to meet up with the legal document needs.

As stipulated by the constitution of your country.

To operate your handyman business successfully.

The following is the list of basic legal documents that you need to put in place:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement
  • Company Bylaws
  • Insurance Policy
  • Local building permits
  • VAT certificate
  • Contractor’s license
  • Federal tax identification

6. Do the Chores People Hate to Do

People who are uber busy are often thrilled to outsource not just the chores they can’t do, but also the ones they hate to do.

One way to make yourself indispensable is to take on those dreaded jobs.

Think: cleaning out ovens, dishwashers and neglected closets and cupboards, defrosting freezers, moving furniture, organizing garages and doing paint touch-ups.

Add these little services to your website or other marketing materials so clients start thinking about all the household problems you can help fix.

7. Widen Your Skills and Service Inventory

If you’re generally handy and have some training in skilled trades or other specialties.

You’re in a great position to accommodate the typical jobs where a handyman is needed.

But if you want to grow, maybe you should broaden your skill set.

If there’s a type of job that particularly interests you.

Consider taking additional training so you can offer even more specialized services for your clients later.

For instance, think about upgrading a skill that complements one you already mastered.

Like using your carpentry skills to build an entertainment unit and your technical skills to hook up all its devices.

8. Get  list of Niche ideas related to the business

In starting a handyman company, there are different niches that an entrepreneur can specialize in.

By specializing, you are positioning yourself as an expert in that niche.

And when customers want a specific work done in their home

They prefer giving it to an expert in the field.

They don’t like the idea of giving jobs in their home to a handyman who will still try to figure things out.

They want an expert who will get the job done once and for all.

You can choose a niche in the handyman business and promote the service.

Promoting the service will make you an expert in that niche.

And customers will want to know the other services you offer in your handyman company.

The following are some of the niches that a handyman entrepreneur can specialize in:

  • TV wall mount installation
  • Kitchen makeover
  • Bathroom remodel
  • Attic insulation
  • Deck repair
  • Door installations
  • Flooring repair work
  • Fence repairs
  • Gutter repairs
  • Interior and exterior painting
  • Yard and power tool repair and maintenance
  • Shower remodel and shower niche
  • Wall repair
  • Plumbing and installation
  • Building and gardening service

9. Set Your Pricing

It’s time to figure out how much to charge.

As with any type of business, having a good grasp on the financial side of the handyman business is essential.

Especially when it comes to setting your handyman rates.

This is one of the most difficult parts of starting a handyman business.

Because there are so many variables you need to consider.

It’s also the place where I see the most mistakes.

Your experience level, efficiency of work, ability to sell, reputation.

And professionalism all need to be taken into account.

But, I have good news!  Instead of just picking a number out of the air for your billable hourly rate based on what your friends or family thinks, you can base it on cost.

Nothing against your friends and family, but they probably aren’t your ideal customers so their opinions don’t matter.

That’s right, cost-based pricing is a great way to get a foundation for your prices.

Cost based pricing is exactly what is sounds like, pricing based on costs or expenses.

By simply adding up all of your expenses (both personal and business related) and plugging that information into this simple equation, out pops your hourly rate.  Boom!

Whether you are charging by the hour or by the job.

You must understand the expenses associated with operating a handyman business.

As well as how much you need to make to cover those and make a solid profit.

10. Promoting Your business

If you have a special interest or skill in one to three areas of your business—like carpentry, technology, gardening and lawn services.

Simplifying your business to specialize in those areas can be a smart (and profitable) move.

You’ll be considered an expert service provider in that field.

And homeowners are often willing to pay a premium for a specialist.

Once you have a trusting relationship with a homeowner.

You have a better opportunity to sell some of your other services that fall outside your specialty—at your specialist rate.

11. Go the Extra Mile for Clients

Small businesses that grow exponentially are often the ones that exceed client expectations right from the start.

Pay attention to the small things you can do to take your service to the next level.

That might mean presenting your own solutions when making a quote on a job.

Being willing to work late at night or early in the morning to accommodate a client with a crazy schedule or doing a bit work more than you quoted in order to go the extra mile.

The small things really do mean the most when it comes to building a trusting relationship.

12. Hire an Apprentice/Employee

Are you wishing you had more appendages or more hours in the day to complete all of the jobs available?

If you’re in demand, boosting your business by raising your hourly rates or hiring an employee could be a more long-term solution to business growth.

Often, the more people you have working for you, the more income you’re able to make.

You might start out with a student or apprentice to shadow you before giving them their own clients.

In time, you may have enough capital to hire staff with different skill sets to broaden your offerings.

13. Charge Appropriately

How do you charge for the work you do?

Most handyman businesses have an hourly and a flat rate for particular jobs.

When determining how much to charge per hour or project.

Consider the following factors to be sure each job is profitable.

  • Time: Be fair to yourself about how long a job is going to take, including travel
  • Skills: Charge more for jobs with specialized skills, e.g. building a staircase vs. painting a fence
  • Preparation: Will you have to move furniture, buy supplies or otherwise prepare the work area? These are all considered billable time
  • Expenses: If you’re using pricey pieces of equipment, factor in the cost of wear and tear
  • Taxes: Consider the government taxes you’ll have to pay as a business owner and factor them into your price
  • Licenses: Do you have a particular license to do certain jobs? They probably have an annual fee, so consider the cost of maintaining credentials

14. Build a Great Website

We understand, you didn’t get into the handyman business to spend time hunched over a computer.

But a simple, accessible website is often your best salesperson, so it pays to invest a little time in one.

A free WordPress site is easy to build, maintain and update. All you need is:

  • A list of your services
  • At least one compelling reason a homeowner would hire you (i.e. list your training, credentials, skills, professionalism, etc.)
  • Your contact information
  • A professional headshot

It’s not easy to grow a small business—especially if your strengths are more hands on—but strategic decisions taken in baby steps often leads to long-term, sustainable growth.

15. Get a Marketing Ideas and Strategies 

A handyman business needs to market its services and advertise in order to get customers. A mixture of online and traditional marketing strategies will help your business to get advertising exposure and a desirable company growth. The following platforms can be used to market your handyman business to potential customers:

  • Advertising on your company website or through magazine ads
  • Giving updates on social media about your handyman company
  • Inform local media to put word out about your handyman company
  • Design and print business cards, fliers and some inexpensive things you can give out with your company info
  • Send out press releases about your company
  • Give special incentives to your first set of clients so that they can spread word around about your handyman business
  • Create a company brochure to show clients
  • Listing your pawn shop on local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise on radio and television stations
  • Print noticeable yard signs to promote your company while working on other properties and ask your customers if you can leave it in their yards for 1 or 2 days after completing your work
  • Put a sign on your company vehicle as a form of mobile advertising
  • Network by attending local events and other activities that enable you to meet people and introduce your business to them
  • Join the Association of Certified Handyman Professional to have access to opportunities for work and marketing resources in your community

16. Know the Competitive Strategies for Winning your Competitors

It can be quite challenging to be in competition with existing handyman businesses that are already in the business. As a result of this, take your time in choosing the type of people that are going to be on your management team so that you can be rest assured that they will help you push your business to the next level.

Study your competitors in the handyman industry and also compare your business ideas with theirs.

Discover their strengths and weaknesses, and compare them to yours to see if you can build on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

If your clients get better services from another handyman company, they won’t patronize your company again so ensure that you offer the kind of service they can’t refuse.

Alternatively, you can also form partnerships with existing handyman companies in the industry to have an advantage over your competitors.

This way you can position your company to get more customers to do business with.

17. Know how to retain Customers

No matter the kind of business you do.

Customer satisfaction is an important aspect of the business as it will help you in retaining customers in your business.

Satisfying your client with the level of service you render to them will make them come back.

And bring more business for your company when they spread the news about the good service you have rendered to them.

If on the other hand, your customers have a bad experience in the course of doing business with you.

They will take your business to your competitors.

And the business that could have otherwise been yours will be given to them.

This is why bad customer service is a major reason that makes a business to lose its customers.

When you improve on the quality of your service delivery, it will make your client base increase.

In the handyman industry, having good customer relationship management practices is vital to retaining your clients.

This you can achieve by getting a good software for your business to help you keep track of all aspects of the business and also to keep up with your client.

With this software, the relevant information concerning your business.

And your clients is at the tip of your fingers and you can use it to keep in touch with them on important occasions like anniversaries, birthdays and public holidays.

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