Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Handymen (and handywomen, too — we’re using “handyman” without a gender distinction) visit people’s homes to fix a wide range of problems. Is a kitchen cabinet off its hinges? Electric outlets shorting out? Cracks appearing in thewalls after last night’s storm? Who you gonna call? Answer: A handyman — or woman.
“They paint, repair flooring, and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems, among other tasks,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports of this profession. In 2018, adds the BLS, the median pay for a “handyman” was $38,300, or $18.32 an hour (which may be a low estimate; see our handyman’s quotes below.)
Clearly, there is an unending need for handyman services; individuals in this segment are limited only by the extent of their training and the state certifications they hold (i.e., you must have a plumber’s license to legally work on plumbing issues).
ASK THE PROS
How much money can you make?
“The lowest, you’d probably make the same as someone working in a fast food restaurant — if you’re just a guy jumping around on a bus or bicycle and they don’t have vehicles. Once they reach a level like mine or higher they’re definitely in the six figures” — Alan McNair, licensed contractor/handyman and owner (doing business in the five boroughs of New York under the name Got Work?).
What are the startup costs?
“There’re different levels: you’re looking at $100,000 minimum. At my level I have vehicles, I have equipment, supplies, warehouses, manpower, a payroll, licenses. For someone smaller the mandatory legal part is you have to have half a million dollars of insurance; workers compensations — ar least $2 million — you should have a membership with the Better Business Bureau, not to mention social media and paying somebody to do that for you as well. There’s lots of overhead; you can’t start by just handing out flyers anymore” — Alan McNair
What kind of experience do you need to have?
“I would say a school like Apex Technical School or DeVry University’s technical engineering school or a journeyman’s license, which is a license you get for certification by working for a plumbing or electrical supply company; they can certify you as a journeyman” — Alan McNair, licensed contractor/handyman
What’s the most important thing to know about this business?
“Having hands-on experience because books don’t teach you anything. The most important thing is expertise: knowing what the problems are, the solutions arae before you get the job” — Alan McNair, licensed contractor/handyman